Out of the Voice Box Celebration Concert © Roger Schmidt

A concert by people who lost their voice

A very special Celebration Concert: “Out of the Voicebox” in Ghent

World Choir Games 2021

The World Choir Games has always been a place for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. And yesterday’s “Out of the Voicebox” Celebration Concert must have been one of such experiences for the everyone involved, whether on stage or in the audience. A concert by people who lost their voices.

This inclusive concert in De Bijloke in Ghent featured the OverStem Kanker choir, an ensemble of people without vocal chords. They were supported by the choirs Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino (Belgium), Garsington Adult Community Choir, Brain Odysseys, and Maggie’s Melody/Sing2Help from Great Britain as well as musical accompaniment by the “Die Verdammte Spielerei” music group.

With the focus of inclusion as a key theme of the evening, other groups with communication difficulties (due to a stroke, for example, the Parkinson’s disease, or hearing problems) were also able to participate creatively in this heartwarming concert program.

From the very beginning there was no doubt: These people want to tell their stories; express in an artistic and highly inspiring way the long and painful way from losing one’s voice to getting it back again and thus show to the world how a major limitation can become an artistic asset.

Starting with a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, directly followed by the piece “I left my voice behind” (music: Hannah Conway/lyrics: Hazel Gould) it was clear from the very beginning where the evening's journey was going to take the audience in the concert hall and in front of the live stream.

Moments from their everyday lives with and insights in the inner thoughts of the affected people left a touching impression and were continuously turned into wonderful lyrics (special kudos to “From Silence into song” by Thomas Moors at this point) and music, which presented the audience with some quite surprising moments. In this new context Frank Sinatra’s “That’s life” was an experience from a totally new perspective.

And even “Listen” as the Official Song of the World Choir Games fit very well into this concert and its story. Performed by singers with a laryngectomy one of the song’s key lines “and it’s all a single breath” brings out whole new and deeply touching emotions.

The most inclusive World Choir Games

The “Out of The Voice Box” concert was announced as “an unforgettable concert which playfully colors outside the lines with the power of song and music”. This impression was completely confirmed in this very special concert and left an idea why these World Choir Games 2021 are considered “the most inclusive Games” ever. Or, as stated during the concert: The World Choir Games are considered the Olympic Games of Choral Music and – staying in this picture – these singers are consequently participants in the Paralympics. What a message!

If you want to watch the“Out of the Voice Box” Concert once again (or for the first time), it's still available to watch in the Virtual Village: Tune in, spread the message and help the project and its singers to get the visibility within the international choral world they deserve.

About OverStem Kanker

The project OverStem Kanker aims to aid people recovering from a laryngectomy in making their new voice heard in our society. The performing choir has grown from this project and is led by voice coach and conductor Andries De Winter.

“Shout at Cancer Belgium vzw” is an organization which aims to advance the quality of life and social integration for people post-laryngectomy through the integration of art in care. The artistic direction Is in the hands of founder and driving force Dr. Thomas Moors, a Belgian doctor who lives and works in London.