Some Voices, a 500 strong London choir – branded London’s finest by Time Out, hosted three consecutive Seasonal Speakeasy nights of choral performances at Troxy, 10-12 Dec, 2018.
The 1925 dress and theming were accentuated perfectly by Troxy’s Art Decor architecture, but when it came to production the events were firmly rooted in the present day.
Troxy’s Head of Sound Ben Ellis was on hand, from Monday’s 7am load-in to Wednesday’s show close to assist the choir’s technical production – in particular the incoming sound and lighting engineers.
“In terms of the PA system we used our in house front-of-house, the new JBL VTX A12 speaker system installed this Autumn by SSE. Their engineer brought in his own Alan and Heath D-Live console that he had built his show on and was familiar with, which we ran FOH and monitors from.
“A show with this many singers generates a fair amount of volume on its own and it’s important that the reinforcement from the house PA complements that sound in a natural way, so it’s great to have the depth and detail that our new PA gives. You can get it feeling nice and big so you can really get into the show without it being uncomfortably loud or fatiguing the audience.”
Every event at Troxy is different and the versatility of the space is one of the great things about the venue. A custom tiered stage was built to accommodate the massive choir in steps up to the top stage at the rear just under the proscenium where the live band performed the music for the show.
“We deployed small diaphragm condensers on the choir – mostly Rode NT5s in X pairs and as they were all in front of the band. A drum screen was deployed and all the musicians were on in ear monitors to minimise spill into the choir mics. Our wedge monitor system was used as sparingly as possible – just so the choir and solo singers who weren’t on in ears had enough melodic reference points to tune their vocals.”
Incoming sound engineer Charles Bidwell has been working with Some Voices for just over a year. He explains:
“Every show is different; from Copperbox Arena, with an 800 piece Choir and Band in the round to Rivoli Ballroom, with 250 singers surrounding the audience.
“This Christmas Speakeasy show at Troxy featured a 500 strong choir backed by a rocking band. They hit some big arrangements, which was incredibly moving, both emotionally and physically. When the choir came together in harmony the impact the JBL’s kicked out was like being hit with a wall of sound.
“Doing sound for such a large choir is challenging, it’s all about signal to noise ratio. I try and get the vocals as clear as possible without hearing too much bleed from other instruments. I put the band on in ear monitors and use perspex screens, this keeps the stage volume to a minimum. We used 22 small diaphragm cardioid condenser microphones. I mixed on a dLive, the huge channel count and analogue voiced Deep Processing/RackExtra FX make it the perfect console for this gig.
“Ben Ellis and the Troxy team are fantastic to work with, Ben’s knowledge and support was essential to success of this show.”