NotaBene Vocal Ensemble came into existence in the summer of 1997, being collectively launched upon the tide of a cappella song by the then Bristol School of Vocal Studies, where several of its members were students. Since this time, we have undergone a number of changes of personnel, though four ‘old hands’ are still at the tiller and mostly trying to steer in different directions, so some things haven’t changed.
Our repertoire ranges from plainchant through classical to contemporary, though most of it tends to be from the ‘Broadway’ catalogue or more modern popular songs. We do like a challenge whether it comes in the form of old classics or new arrangements, or new arrangements of old classics.
We generally cover several engagements a year, usually comprising one or two of our own full concert programmes plus a number of shorter appearances with community singing projects or for private events. We’re not keen on turning things down, so we’re open to any suggestions and will do our best to show up, if we can muster a sufficient number of voices.
Unlike many choirs, we perform from memory (with occasional exceptions) and we sometimes like to incorporate some kind of choreographed movement into performances where appropriate – nothing too ambitious but just something to provide a bit of visual interest for an audience.
Fortunately, our members have a wide spectrum of talents that feed into the group, which means that everyone’s areas of expertise can be utilised. We like to try to be democratic where possible and give everyone a say, though on the down-side, this can lead to lengthy discussions in the middle of rehearsals, although they’re mostly polite ones.
NotaBene is always delighted to be of use to the public at large. If you know of an event, private or public, that would benefit from some lovely a cappella harmonies, please contact us for a chat.