the british voice association


World Voice Day 2013

World Voie Day (branding)


The British Voice Association's contribution to World Voice Day 2013


Reflux and Your Voice - leaflet
Valuing Voices - leaflet

In 2013 the Association produced two new voice information leaflets, the first entitled Reflux and your Voice addressing acid reflux – more specifically laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), its effect on the voice and how it is prevented/treated.

The second leaflet was entitled Valuing Voices. We all value our memories – many of us capture special memories in photos and video, sharing these with our friends and family. But, how many of us record the voices of those who are special to us? Anyone who has listened to archive recordings and oral history recordings will appreciate the power of the recorded voice to summon up an era and to trigger other memories. Just listen to some of the recordings from the UK BBC's Listening Project at www.bbc.co.uk. In 2013 the Association promoted the idea of creating a personalised "audio album" to mark World Voice Day to highlight the emotional and social importance of the human voice. We also reminded those creating recordings that consent is required from a person whose voice is being recorded – and that the use to which the recording will be put and how it will be stored need to be specified if the recording is made for any purpose other than that of a personal recollection.


Both leaflets are available to download from our 'Free Resources' section.


What's it like to lose your voice? What better way to bring home the importance of a healthy voice than to go for an hour without it? In 2013 we proposed a 'taste of silence' on April 16th to promote the importance of our voices in our daily lives. We encouraged people to choose an hour in their day when they would normally expect to use their voice and to see how well they managed without it.



World Voice Day 2013 News – UK and around the world


UK, Berkshire: Wexham Park Hospital

Eileen Daniel, Susan James, Nigel Bleach

To help raise awareness of voice disorders in the workplace, and in support of World Voice Day, the speech and language therapy team at Wexham Park Hospital produced an advice leaflet and ran a short on-line quiz for staff to find out how much they knew about caring for their voice and have the chance to win a prize.

There was a great response from staff, and we were delighted that a good percentage of people scored 100% – which is fantastic. We put all the 100% entries into a hat and pulled out our winner. The winner commented that "The advice leaflet was really useful and highlighted some very simple steps everyone can take to help care of their voice. The quiz was a great way of testing my own knowledge and I couldn’t believe it when I heard I had won. I plan to enjoy my massage or facial at Beauty Room Treatments in Stoke Poges very soon, and the bottle of pink champagne will go on ice for a special occasion!"

Led by Mr Nigel Bleach, an ear nose and throat (ENT) surgeon and supported by Eileen Daniel and Rachel Purchase , speech and language therapists who have a special interest in voice disorders, the Trust runs a joint voice clinic which ensures patients who are referred with voice disorders receive the best care. Using specialised equipment a videostroboscopy (an examination of the larynx (voice box) and vocal cords) is performed which allows clinical staff to see the larynx and vocal cords on a television monitor providing clear images for diagnosis and giving the opportunity for patients to see the video recording as their condition is explained and treatment plan is discussed and agreed.


UK, Hampshire
Igloo Music held two events to celebrate World Voice Day. The first was a free microphone technique and performance master class which took place on 16th April between 10.30 and 1pm at Navada Music of Farlington, Portsmouth, Hants. The second was a free sing-a-long which took place at the Igloo headquarters in Wickham from 8.30pm onwards. See: Igloo Music Annual Showcase 2013

UK, Hertfordshire
On 16th April 2013 (World Voice Day) there was a Singing Workshop at the Rudolf Steiner School, Langley Hill, Kings Langley, Herts from 7:30pm to 9:30pm where all levels of ability were welcomed. Individual coaching for voice and performance in a solo song was also available and a pianist was present to provide accompaniment. The workshops incorporated Voicercise.

UK, London
In WDV week, BBC Radio 2 held its own 'Voice Week' to promote the BBC1 TV talent show 'The Voice'. Although not officially a World Voice Day celebration, it was very timely and many of the programmes that week focussed on different aspects of the voice. Connie Fisher, winner of the TV reality show "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" was interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show about the congenital vocal fold sulcus that ended her career. Connie's Consultant Voice Specialist in New York, Dr Steve Zeitels, was also interviewed. An Accent coach taught Jeremy Vine how to speak in three different UK accents and our past President, Stuart Barr, talked about the lifespan of the human voice from infancy to old age. Jeremy Vine also underwent a nasendoscopy to view his larynx.

UK, Scotland
The Centre for Voice in Performance at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland plans for World Voice Day 23013 included a workshop entitled: 'The Trick is To keep Breathing'. Hilary Jones, (Lecturer in Voice) says: "the workshop is open to all our colleagues at the RCS. Our core voice work is accessible to everyone in the RCS community – not just our acting students – and this session will allow staff the opportunity to just take time out during their lunch break to breathe, release and re-focus their energy (just in time for the afternoon shift!)". The Centre for Voice is also beginning a new oral history project – 'Voices at the RCS' where memories of the staff, students and alumni will be recorded as part of the Conservatoire's archive.

UK, York

The University of York celebrated World Voice Day with an event entitled: 'A Discovery Concert: The Science of Singing' at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, Department of Music, on Tuesday, 16 April to showcase the amazing potential and importance of the human voice.

From ensemble singing to beat-boxing, electronic voices to choral singing, this event explored the spectacular versatility of the human voice featuring talks and demonstrations on the science of the voice, communication in the modern world, an inter-active exhibition and a concert. It brought together both scientists and artists and was organised by the University's York Audio Network – a network of academics from the Departments of Electronics, Music, Psychology, Language and Linguistics, and Theatre, Film and Television.

Highlights included:

  • A performance of Stripsody by Robert Hollingworth, which exploits a range of vocal techniques using comic book sounds
  • A demonstration of a virtual acoustic which creates the impression of a singer performing in York Minster
  • Examples of beat-boxing (vocal percussion where drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds are produced using the mouth, lips, tongue and voice) and throat/overtone singing (where a vocalist produces two distinct pitches simultaneously).
  • A Strange Conversation - a theatre-piece involving an actor interacting with a synthesised computer voice
  • A performance of Vocal Vision 1 by David Howard – a piece for computer 4-part quartet and two sopranos to juxtapose real and synthetic vocalise
  • Inter-active exhibits including singing with an X-Box controller, measuring your vocal tract and making your own model larynx.


Around the world

Kenya, Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi

Emma Shah and her team celebrated World Voice Day with a conference on Tuesday, 16th April in the Lecture Theatre, Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, between 9-1pm. The study morning day focussed on acid reflux and was designed to be accessible to all those who use their voices in their profession as well as the hospital clinical staff. There were talks from an ENT surgeon, Speech and Language Therapist and Gastroenterologist. Connect With Your Voice, It Might Be Telling You Something was published in Coastweek following the event.


Alison Shan Price planned a tribute to Roald Dahl for World Voice Day 2013 with multicultural actors and audiences in Kuwait. Book shops, schools children's hospitals and the British Ambassador were contacted about the event.

Mexico, Centro de Foniatria, Mexico City

Laryngologist Eugenia Chavez de Bartelt, from the Centro de Foniatria in Mexico City, has sent us a poster for their latest course which is part of their World Voice Day celebrations.


Ekaterina Osipenko contacted us from Russia to let us know about plans to celebrate World Voice Day and also that they will be hosting the UEP Congress in Moscow in 2014.

Serbia, Belgrade

Our colleague Milan Vukasinovic contacted us to let us know that about a Voice Symposium in Belgrade on 19th of April to celebrate World Voice Day. Twelve voice experts from Serbia and other neighbouring countries were invited to present papers on Vocal Fold Paralysis to an audience of approximately 200 ENT and Speech and Language Therapists. Dr Vukasinovic also highlighted theformation of the Association of Laryngectomised Patients of Serbia which was constituted on January 4th 2013. We wish the new group every success in helping Laryngectomees across Serbia.

USA, American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Catherine Lincoln from the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery has sent the link below so we can go to the World Voice Day page on their website and see how they are promoting the message of World Voice Day for 2013. www.entnet.org

USA, Utah

The Wasatch Community Voice Forum and The National Centre for Voice and Speech at the University of Utah held a free education event to celebrate World Voice Day on 16th April. The talk was entitled The Integration of Contemporary and Classical Vocal Techniques: Using the Whole Voice for Music Theatre Performance. The event began with a reception and poster presentations prior to the main talk.


Valuing voices

One of our World Voice Day supporters wrote to us with a moving example of how voices with a 'special significance' to the listener can have positive effects, particularly for those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The story concerns her mother, who was sadly suffering the late stages of dementia and had become unresponsive even to material that would normally have been important to her. Apparently her husband had been a keen singer and left the family with some reel to reel recordings of his performances. When these were transferred to a more modern format the daughter decided to take a small selection of his singing to play to her mother via her mobile phone. She tells us:

"I had taken things before that I thought would surely be important to her, and watched for a reaction, but had seen none. This time, I watched without great expectation, but she went very still as soon as it was recognisably my late father performing - 'still' in the way you go when you're being attentive. And she stayed still all the time that the tracks were playing. By the time, ten days later, the care home called us to say that she was "very poorly", I'd managed to transfer a couple more tracks to my phone, and took them with me. We played them through in the night, and again, in the afternoon as her breathing got more difficult. The sound of my father's singing was in the air as she slipped away.

One of the recordings I had was of Stainer's "Crucifixion", in which my father was singing the 'Christus' solos. One of the solos includes the words "… that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.", which leads into the chorus, "God so loved the world" – a traditional opening sentence of scripture for a Christian funeral. At my mother's funeral we were allowed to use that recording instead of the spoken words which would normally be used"

This is a moving story and we are grateful to the person who sent it in. We feel it is appropriate to including it with the World Voice Day information to inspire others to consider using recordings of their 'valued voices' in similar situations. Although examples like this are not 'proof' that 'special voices' persist in memory when other aspects have been lost, it at least suggests that for some, a loved one's voice can stimulate valuable neurological connections, even if only to bring back happy memories.


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