N O M A D   V O C A L S


In the spring of 2020, just as the COVID-19 restrictions hit, young, experienced choir singers from the Kuopio and Jyväskylä areas became enthusiastic about building something new. It was clear that founding a new choir would feel too rigid and already tried as a structure, so plans began to lean towards singing group activity. Gradually, the idea of a collective of singers emerged, which would form various ensembles among themselves.

Paul Phoenix, already familiar to Kuopio singers, who had sung for years with The King's Singers, and his good friend Jussi Mattila, who had led several choirs in Northern and Southern Savo, took up the singers' enthusiasm and began to refine and develop the plan into practice. Phoenix was named the artistic director and trainer of the collective bearing the name Nomad Vocals, and Mattila was harnessed as his work partner, who would organize the activity in Finland as the executive director and act as the collective's choir master when there was a need and desire for collective action among the singers. Thus, the basic structures began to take shape.

During the spring, more than thirty singers gathered in the collective, many of them professional musicians who had worked in choral music since childhood and youth choirs, aged between 18 and 35. "Since Nomad Vocals' structure can be divided into small units, practice was possible throughout the coronavirus period, starting from August 2020, essentially uninterrupted. We meet once a month for an intensive weekend, and people do a lot of work on their own and in ensembles between these weekends. We don't spend much time on voice parts, but move on to making music together, assuming that everyone has done their homework," says Jussi Mattila.

"We could not have anticipated how the model we created would help support our singers through the pandemic," says Phoenix. "In my own work, I constantly emphasize the reflective effects on civilian life - especially on young singers who are just entering working life. In particular, ensemble singing develops confidence, responsibility, and the ability to express oneself and one's ideas, while not forgetting the sense of community and the opportunity to network."

As its name suggests, Nomad Vocals brings together singers from all over Finland to sing together purposefully. At the moment, the choir gathers to practice in Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Joensuu, Oulu, Turku, Lappeenranta, Tampere, and Helsinki. You can apply to join the collective from any part of Finland, as long as you are willing to travel.

Nomad Vocals' goal is to start active live performances across the country as soon as possible. Nomad Vocals organizes both collective concerts and, if necessary, provides individual ensembles for gigs, covering the whole of Finland as its operating area.

"The idea of a new way of working came about through several discussions with Jussi. We wanted to create a system in which singers' work would focus on small ensembles, allowing for independent practice and responsibility for their own progress, while providing a sense of community and support in a group setting," says Phoenix.

Jussi Mattila | choir master

Paul Phoenix

Artistic Director of Nomad Vocals and a former member of the prestigious vocal group The King's Singers. 

Tenor and a Grammy award-winning singer and also the founder of the Paul Phoenix Academy, located in Hong Kong.