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Voces8 at Carleton: A unique opportunity for choir students

Courtesy of the Carleton Music Department
Voces8 is a 2023 Grammy-nominated a capella octet from England.

On Oct. 29, Carleton College will be host to a cappella group Voces8. Originally from Britain, the group have been nominated for a Grammy and are known on YouTube for their music videos.


Choir director Matthew Olson likened their coming to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing. “We are so fortunate to have one of the most incredible vocal ensembles in the world coming to Carleton,” he said. “Voces8 sings everything from pop covers, to vocal jazz, to classical choral music with such incredible beauty and artistry.”


A cappella has a large presence on campus with several active student-led ensembles. The groups are known for singing covers of pop songs. Voces8, Olson said, “are all classically trained, but [are] just as invested in pop, which is why we are so excited to have them on campus.”


Voces8 covers a wide variety of genres, which will be reflected in their concert in Kracum Hall. “The program begins with Renaissance music and includes many jazz songs and pop tunes, and also some contemporary choral works,” Olson said.


One of these works was composed by a Minnesota-based musician with a Carleton connection. “Jake Runestad, composer — cousin to Eric, the Vice President and Treasurer of the College — will be visiting too,” said Olson. Not only are Voces8 singing one of his pieces, “Let My Love Be Heard,”  but “Carleton Chamber Choir will be singing alongside with them during the Voces8 concert.”


“Both choirs will have the opportunity to sing alongside Voces8, and there will be a masterclass with them the afternoon of the concert,” Olson said. “Carleton Choir, the larger of the two, will be singing a piece called “The Road Home.”


For Georgie Walker ’25, the concert is an exciting opportunity. Walker discovered Voces8 while participating in a professional youth choir during high school. “I’ve been a fan for maybe five years or more,” they said. “I found them on Spotify and fell in love.”


“When I heard [about Voces8], that was one of the reasons I joined choir this year… I’m a big fan of theirs, so it’s really exciting to have them on campus. I’m stoked,” they said. Walker is a member of the Carleton Choir.


Walker said that the Carleton Choir sings “The Road Home” at every concert. “It’s a beautiful song about finding home, which is something you can be born into, but often find elsewhere, too. For many people, Carleton is home, and I feel that way. A lot of people in the choir know the song really well… so it’s exciting to sing it with [Voces8].”


“Many of [the choir students] know Voces8’s music really well because many of their videos have millions of views,” Olson said. This opportunity is especially unique because “While they tour the world pretty nonstop, they only visit Minnesota every other year.”


“Minnesota,” Olson continued, “has such a thriving choral and a cappella community.” This tradition, he said, started with St. Olaf College: “The St. Olaf Choir was one of the first a cappella choirs to tour throughout the country and abroad, and they significantly shaped the singing tradition in Minnesota and beyond.”


“Some people make the joke that in Minnesota, there’s a choir for every lake,” Olson said.


While Georgie Walker isn’t from Minnesota, music has been an integral part of their upbringing as well: “My family is very creative… My parents are actors and my sister sings a lot, so there was a lot of music in my home.” Being in a choir taught them “a lot of discipline and good techniques I still use… I knew I had a love for singing, but [being in a choir] really confirmed it, especially singing with other people.”


Music, vocal music especially, is a way to connect with the community anywhere. This is why, in Olson’s words, “it’s so exciting to have [Voces8] on Carleton’s campus” while they’re in Minnesota.




“Voces8, because they have put so much energy around video recordings, have a large following compared to other classic groups.” Olson said. “I wanted to get the word out to the Carl community because standing room is available, so they will have first access to tickets because by October 13, the tickets will be available to the public — Northfield and Twin Cities fans.” Tickets to the Voces8 performance have since sold out. 


Voces8’s concert, featuring the Carleton Choir and the Chamber Choir, will take place on Sunday, October 29, in Kracum Hall at 7:00 p.m. “Their expression and artistry is just profound,” Olson concluded.

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About the Contributor
Cecilia Samadani
Cecilia Samadani, Features Editor
I'm an English major with interests in Creative Writing and Middle East Studies minors. I love all things related to art whether that be writing, drawing, music or dance, and am an avid cat person. Cecilia '26 (she/her) was previously a Staff Writer.

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