Five women, five pure, vibrant voices singing of joy, hope, fears and sorrows with the emotion and generosity of their hearts. Born in the great vocal tradition of gospel, they take us on a journey amidst the immortal titles and standards of blues, jazz and soul. They remind us that music is both a unique and universal gift, a shared wealth.
CAROL PEMBERTON MBE
Carol is the founder of Black Voices, the UK’s foremost female a cappella quintet. Like many of the singers she looks up to, her first musical experiences were nurtured in the black church where her father was the minister. Carol plays a variety of wind instruments but admits it’s the beauty and range of the unaccompanied voice that moves her most. With Black Voices, she has performed on every continent in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls in front of Royalty, Presidents, opening for musical icons and performing many specially commissioned works, keeping their repertoire fresh and accessible.
Carol is an accomplished choral director and has led the popular Gospel Choir course at Dartington International Summer School for over 20 years. She also leads a wide range of choral workshops, summer schools and courses internationally. It is for her services to music that she was awarded an MBE.
A co-founder member of Black Voices, singing has always been a great passion of Sandra’s. Affectionately known as the backbone of this international ensemble, she is often the central column of rhythm on stage that each part depends on. Singing with her family or in church, Sandra loved to experiment with harmonies from a very young age. She has sung and travelled internationally with many bands across the UK, Sandra’s distinct soprano voice is central to Black Voices’ unique sound.
An original and returning member, the essence of Black Voices never left Bev. It’s always been a pleasure to be part of such a unique ensemble and to use the voice in such precious ways. Bev has a degree in music and has taught vocals for many years in various schools across Birmingham, directly supporting the success of numerous up and coming vocalists and artists. Bev is a seasoned vocalist and teacher who loves singing a cappella. Black Voices is able to identify with every human condition through its music and it is a delight to be part of that.
Also known as the ‘baby’ of the group Shereece has been singing with Black Voices since the age of 17. After completing her BA Honours in Commercial Music at West Minster University Shereece became a permanent member of BV. She has always been passionate about the arts and enjoys nurturing musical talent in young people. Shereece was a vocal tutor for Harrow Music Service for over 20 years and in the last 10 years has been a group fitness instructor teaching Les Mills programs in gyms. Shereece has been a workshop leader for the Abram Wilson Foundation coordinating and facilitating their Achieve Your Greatness workshops in inner city schools across Birmingham and London since 2018. Now BV’s Artistic Director Shereece has produced a number of shows celebrating black iconic females in music for band and vocals at Jazz Cafe. Shereece still dreams of pursuing her career as a songwriter and was recently awarded a RSL Fellowship, recognising her work in music over the past 20 years.
Cecelia was destined to be in Black Voices. Her astonishing bass range contributes to the unique Black Voices sound. Brought up in the Christian faith and an accomplished singer and musician, Cecelia led her own group and was also a member of the London Adventist Chorale. Cecelia leads workshops on behalf of Black Voices, Music For Change, and Music In Detention works with community choirs across the UK and directs 3 Gospel Choirs in the London area. Along with other members of Black Voices, CeCelia also provides backing vocals for film and TV soundtracks.
Evon has been singing since childhood. She initially sang with her family 'The Nelson Sisters', in church. She entered many talents shows locally and nationally and was always successful, which naturally boosted her confidence as a singer. Not content just to sing at weddings and funerals, Evon was always looking for another challenge. A very busy qualified nurse, in 2001, she auditioned for Black Voices and has not looked back since. Evon leads the praise and worship team at New Testament Church of God the Rock and was most recently the featured vocalist in a discussion celebrating Human Rights Day - Journey to Justice: Two Birmingham Civil rights and economic justice in Birmingham Alabama and Birmingham UK: next steps?