The first National Signing Choir Competition promises to be a fantastic event championing British Sign Language as a visual art form and celebrating Sign Language like never before, according to the event organisors. The event, which is being held at Nottingham’s Albert Hall on Saturday March 11th 2017 will showcase Signing choirs from around the UK.

e1447929-2642-4501-8f2e-3d540686bb2a-2060x1091The event is being run with the support of local businesses is not just for the Deaf community, it is a fully accessible event and the audience can expect a carnival atmosphere, and a very different event to what the public would expect from a normal choir competition.  Simon Astill, organisor of the competition hopes to create a happy vibe within the vibrant city.

Signing Choirs provide a mesmerising performance using British Sign Language as a way of making music accessible, with using British Sign Language, with BSL, the songs come alive and the whole musical experience is something that people have very little awareness of.

Nottingham being chosen to host the First National Signing Choir Competition, is down to the hard work of Harmoneyes, a company run by Simon and his partner, Sue, both of whom are seasoned signed song performers and have previously performed at Wembley Arena and the O2 in London amongst other venues nationally. Harmoneyes are pretty well known around the East Midlands as they also run two Community Signing Choirs in Radcliffe on Trent and Derby

There are a number of signing choirs throughout the UK and they are one of the fastest growing choir genres in recent years. Because British Sign Language is a visual language it makes the songs come alive as the choirs perform with their hands rather than their voices, but the outcome of the flow of hands is very much on par with the flow of voices.

There has never been a platform for signing choirs to perform against each other in the UK on such a scale. The competition has always been a dream of Simon’s since he took both of Harmoneyes’ choirs to Jersey to perform at the Eisteddfod there in 2014. “We competed against 3 other choirs and I thought there are a lot more choirs who should be performing on this level but the cost of travelling to Jersey was a huge mountain for choirs to climb” and Simon decided to make it his ambition to create a Signing Choir Competition on the mainland.

Signing Choirs – What exactly are they a number of people have been asking. They are choirs that perform like any other choir really, but rather than sing with their voices, they sing with their hands in British Sign Language and tell a visual story behind the song they are “Singing”.

Normal singers express the song through the pitch, tone and emotion of their voices, Signing Song performers do the same with their hands, body and facial expressions, it is a visual spectacular for the senses.

Nottingham is very proud to play host to the first competition in the UK and the Albert Hall provides an outstanding venue to host the event. The competition will be an eye opener for many people and we hope that it will raise awareness of Deafness, British Sign Language and Signed Singing as a visual art in its own right.

The Competition will kick off at 7.00pm and involve a maximum of 15 choirs from all over the UK battling it out to become the premier Signing Choir of 2017. Tickets are available now.