Choral Stimulation caused a stir by becoming the first non-St Andrews acappella group to make it through the St Andrews round of the Voice Festival UK competition. With a remarkable three-piece performance, the Choral Stimulators – decked out in dashing tartan outfits – began with a witty ‘Ode to Glasgow’, before bringing down the house (well, Younger Hall) with the remainder of their highly enjoyable set.
For his sterling efforts, David Ragg was awarded ‘Outstanding Arrangement’, and the group were given a ticket to the VFUK final in London later this year.
Calum Fraser (President) and David Ragg (MD) were kind enough to answer some fun questions about the group.
1. As a non-local band, please introduce yourself to St Andrews!
We are Choral Stimulation, a Glasgow based acapella group whose aim is to entertain the audience whilst not taking ourselves too seriously!
2. How would you describe CS in 3 words?
Soooo much fun
3. You are always so well received in St Andrews (both at Christmas and for VFUK). What do you guys enjoy about coming here? How does it compare to the Glasgow scene?
There is no Glasgow scene! We have been the only acapella group in Glasgow until about a month ago, so its always great to come to St Andrews where acapella is a staple, and the socialising with other groups is always a lot of fun. Our former president used to be a member of the Hummingbirds, so we have strong connections there and elsewhere. Everyone is always friendly, welcoming and so keen for Aacapella. It’s great to experience the St. Andrews vibe!
4. We love our a cappella in St Andrews – do you have a favourite performance from the St Andrews regional?
Lawrie’s soprano solo in The Other Guys set was surprising and beautiful, it was really enjoyable. The Alleycats cover of Fleetwood Mac was inspirational.
5. Your set for VFUK was incredible, what was the inspiration/thought process behind the set?
We had a strong emphasis on wanting to show St Andrews our roots by showing them our pride and by bringing over a taste of Glasgow. A lot of research was done talking to Glaswegians about their favorite songs (old and new), which helped make a medley which fits with Glasgow’s sense of humour. Our other aims were to showcase the talent of our group – as we have had a large influx of new members – through solos. We also aimed to portray the fun that we have in our rehearsals to our audience.
6. Your performances on stage are always so much fun, how do you continue to be so inventive with each performance?
Everything we do is created completely within the group with input from everybody. We are all so passionate about acapella and performing, we absolutely love what we do. For especially the last song, ‘Feeling Bad’, everyone was involved in writing the music and putting in so much energy.
7. You are now through the finals in London! Has it sunk in yet? What plans do you have to be even bigger and better for London?
It won’t sink in for a long time! We will practice a bit more than our usual and do a bit of busking. We are still celebrating
8. Who would your dream collaboration be with and with what song?
Difficult. We all have such different music tastes it’s a wonder any song got chosen at all! I would say Naturally 7’s Wall of Sound, but probably everyone would agree on Beyonce! I would love to do something with Straight No Chaser.
9. As a musical group, what performance would you go back in time to see?
Tough one. For me I think it would be Queen at Wembley, or seeing MJ back I his prime.
10. What are the best/worst parts to being in CS?
Best Parts: Choral Stimulation Aca-partys (lots of Chris Acaboozing)
Worst Parts: After Choral Stimulation Aca-partys…
Keep up to date with what Choral Stimulation are up to here.
Photo credit: Rebecca Espitalier-Noel