Fieldview Festival 2016 - Main Stage
Performing at Dartington Hall Estate 2021
The choir has performed at major concert venues including Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Royal Festival Hall., Colston Hall, St George's, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Bristol Folk House and at festivals including Priddy Folk Festival, Fieldview Festival, Bristol Folk Festival, Chorus Festival London, Bristol Harbour Festival and St Werburgh's Farm Fair.
The choir regularly promotes their own concerts and events including their sell-out winter concerts held in December each year as well as more bespoke gigs; previous events include a gig on boat and a formal concert in a derelict church.
Each year the choir supports different local charities; last year they raised £1809.53 for SARSAS and Bristol Zero Tolerance - a new initiative dedicated to making Bristol a city free from gender based violence. The choir since signed the BZT pledge to end gender based violence in the city. Previous charities include Jessie May, Disasters Emergency Committee, Bristol Refugee Rights and Concern Universal.
Artist collaborations include performing with songwriter Theo Bard; Heg & The Wolf Chorus (the choir featured on the album Raising The Fires and performed at Trinity Bristol as part of a theatrical album launch) as well as support gigs with Blackbeard's Tea Party and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Nominees Gilmore & Roberts.
The choir pride themselves on having high musical standards and excellent vocal technique; they learn quickly and perform textured and often complex arrangements in up to eight part harmony. The choir have a strong ethos of respect, trust and inclusion, welcoming all people regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, physical ability or religion. At the heart of what the choir creates musically is an incredibly strong sense of community and companionship which is what gives the choir the perfect combination of community and musicianship.
The Great Sea Choir are available for concert and event bookings, festivals, artist collaborations including recordings and private event hire. The choir can go out as the full forty-strong ensemble or in smaller configurations depending on the requirements and restrictions of an event.
Bristol Folk House - Photo by Camilla Adams
SOUTH WEST ENGLAND'S LEADING CONTEMPORARY FOLK CHOIR
Originally founded in Bristol in 2012, The Great Sea Choir relocated to Plymouth in 2020 shortly before the pandemic hit and is directed by Heg Brignall and Julu Irvine of folk duo Suthering. Against all the odds and with a totally new group of singers, the choir remained a united community throughout lockdown, using zoom to learn new material, singing techniques and improve their individual sounds. The choir produced two lockdown videos during this time, enabling them to practise towards an end goal.
Since restrictions have lifted the choir have gone from strength to strength, honing their sound and practising how to sing well together as a group again. At the end of 2020 the choir performed for the first time in a live stream gig from Stoke Damerel Church in Plymouth and summer 2021 saw them perform in person for the first time since their reformation in Devon.
In previous years, The Great Sea Choir has gained a reputation for impeccable singing and unique contemporary-folk arrangements written by Heg and Julu. The choir welcomes any age or ability, doesn't hold auditions and prides themselves on empowering amateur singers to sing to a high level.
The choir's debut EP Within The Sound - a collection of six original arrangements - was released in November 2018 and recorded in Bristol's Trinity Centre. The EP received plays on BBC Radio Bristol, with presenter Steve Yabsley describing it as "Rather good!"
The choir's performance history is testament to the high level of training that singers receive; from professional events and festivals, to collaborating with other artists, receiving recognition from local BBC Introducing and BBC radio shows as well as becoming the winners of the 2016 Heart FM choir competition. They were also the featured group on Made In Bristol TV as the headline act at Bristol Festival of Song 2015.