The Voices Of The Heart!

Louise - Kurt Paris Deborah

On behalf of eve.com.mt, Anthony Tomaselli attended the opening night of the Voices Heart and Soul 2014 concert. Here are his comments about his evening.

More than a week has gone by since the beginning of autumn and the air is so much cooler. This season is quite different here and you don’t get to see too many red or yellow leaves lying below the trees but students have returned to school and we are all back with the usual (seasonal) good intentions.

My intention is to go to all the coolest events on the island.

Since my swimming trunks are already back in the drawer and September and October are the months of: “I don’t know what to do and I don’t know where to go” because it is no longer summer and not winter yet, I decided to dust off a good old habit: that of going to concerts.

I’ll spare you the story of my trip to Paris to see Beyonce and Jay-Z (with Nicki Minaj as a surprise). You may have already read a lot about it, seen it all on youtube, and I will not let you die with envy.

I will, however, tell you about the debut of the Voices Heart and Soul 2014 show to which I was invited. This took place at the incredible Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta and marked the start of a whole schedule of concerts over the coming weeks. Having started on 1st October, there are concerts until the 5th and then again from the 8th until the 12th of October.

This is certainly an event which, in my opinion, should absolutely not to be missed. As well as the performance of the enormous choir, I thoroughly enjoyed the various solo performances accompanied by a great band. I was really impressed by the good music, the varied repertoire and the generally pleasant atmosphere of the whole evening.

It’s also all for a good cause since it is a fundraising event.

As always, your eve.com.mt reporter had the opportunity to sneak behind the scenes and interview two of the most acclaimed performers of the evening, namel Deborah Vella and Louisa Frendo Wirth.

First of all, I asked Louisa to tell me a little bit more about the Voices project:

Louisa: Voices is a philanthropic organisation which is responsible for the biennial series of concerts which raises funds for local and foreign charities. Voices has been around since 1991, an initiative which was created by the founders Louis Naudi, Sue Weenik and Adrian Mamo. Voices is made up of a 200 strong choir, a band, stage crew, production team, make-up and hair, front of house and last but surely not least, a hard-working and dedicated committee, which is busy throughout the two years leading up to the next series of concerts. All these people work on a voluntary basis and they dedicate their time and energy to this worthy cause.

Then I was curious to know what made these singers join Voices? Louisa answered first:

Louisa: My father, Patrick, has been participating in Voices since 1994, so I was involved indirectly since the age of 8, eagerly going to rehearsals and shows, knowing all the lyrics of each song. So the minute I turned 16 (back in 2002 the entry age for Voices was 16 – now it has become 18) it was a must for me to audition for Voices, as I had been waiting for that moment since I was that 8 year old girl tagging along behind her father. This is now my seventh edition of Voices, having participated each time since 2002.

Anthony: For Deborah it was a bit different:

Deborah: I have been watching Voices concerts since 1998. I was 12 years old and was mesmerised by the beautiful music, the talented people and the amazing energy there was on stage. Being so young, I didn’t know I could sing or that one day I would be performing for Voices. In 2010, I plucked up the courage and went for an audition and was also chosen for a solo. I was so happy and I do believe that my neighbours heard me screaming for joy. Now, I can’t imagine not taking part. You get hooked!

Anthony: I immediately realised that Voices was more than just an opportunity to sing in front of an audience so I decided to ask what this concert represents for them both:

Deborah: Voices is one big family, members coming from different walks of life to come together to sing their hearts out. You get closer with some members more than others but we get to help each other a lot. Sometimes, even Voices members go through tough times and personal struggles and it’s wonderful to see how these same members still want to help others by giving their time and commitment.

Louisa: Voices marries two of my passions together, music and helping others. It is an amazing feeling being able to help people in need by doing something you love. The atmosphere created in Voices is unique and I believe that it is incredible that a group of people give their all to raise funds for those who are less fortunate. Voices also means family to me, both because of the family environment created during the experience and also literally speaking, because my entire family, husband and closest friends also participate in Voices.

Anthony: Both Deborah and Luisa were soloists in the concert. The audience was enthusiastic and they received a resounding applause. I asked them how they felt during their solo performances.

Louisa: The first night has become the Beneficiaries Night, which has been held for the last three editions of Voices and which was previously just a full dress rehearsal. The Beneficiaries Night is the most special for me, as it reminds us all why we are doing this. You see, a number of local charities, some of which will be benefitting from the Voices proceeds, are our first audience. Besides performing in front of a truly appreciative and warm crowd, I sing from the bottom of my heart and soul (excuse the pun) during that performance and dedicate it especially to each and every person there.

Anthony: Deborah sang a song by my favourite artist Beyoncè.

Deborah: ‘I Was Here’ is a song which was purposely written for the World Humanitarian Day in 2012. It has the most meaningful lyrics and I still get emotional when I hear it. In fact, I was a bit worried that I would break down while singing but the excitement I felt before performing was enough to keep me focused without getting too emotional. The song is about making a mark on other people’s lives, making a difference, live and love in such a way that the world will know and won’t forget that, ‘You were here’. I would love to live my life based on these meaningful words.

I dedicate this song to all those selfless individuals who are taking care of family members or friends who are going through tough times, struggling in life or recovering from any sort of illness. To those who are doing voluntary work here in Malta or abroad, to those who work for social justice and human rights, to those who brighten up other people’s lives simply by being there. Last but not least, I dedicate this song to Louis Naudi whose kind heart pushed him to start all this, leaving all the Voices members and ex-members wanting to keep this dream alive every other year, even though Louis is no longer with us.

Anthony: It definitely was a great experience for both audience and performers.

Deborah: I would definitely suggest that people try to participate in any way they can. I really recommend it. Being a chorister, in the audience or backstage – It’s an experience of a lifetime.

Louisa: I always recommend and encourage everyone to dedicate their time and talents to this noble cause. It is an enriching, fun and fulfilling experience.

Anthony: Ok guys, as you can see, this appointment is not to be missed! It will be an opportunity to have a nice moment and contribute to a noble cause. Join your voice to the choir of benefactors!

Concerts will take place until the 12th of October. For further details and tickets visit voices.org.mt