They have played major concert venues around the world and are currently wowing audiences at the Edinburgh Festival but as artistic director Gordon Hamilton tells JOHN ANSON, The Australian Voices are never happier than when playing small church venues.

FORMED nearly 20 years ago to bring the works of new composers and their native Australia to a wider audiences, The Australian Voices have to be one of the hardest working choral ensembles in the world.

Currently in the middle of a 24-date residency at the Edinburgh Festival, they will go straight into a tour of churches around the UK, including an appearance in Blackburn.

“I suppose you’d call in extreme choral singing,” laughed artistic director Gordon Hamilton. “But we’re used to it. We recently did a tour around Australia where we did about 80 concerts in 80 days. We are all very careful with our voices. If you drink lots of water, eat sensibly and get some early nights you tend to be OK.”

The Australian Voices have a pool of singers to call upon depending on the nature of their shows. For the churches tour there will be six singers performing a varied programme ranging from Mozart and Grieg to some of Gordon’s original compositions, including the intriguingly titled Toy Story 3= Awesome.

“That’s a fun pioece based around the Facebook and Twitter comments on the movie,” said Gordon. “I really love it when you can perform a piece which stretches the imagination.

“It’s also great fun for us to perform in churches as it gives us a chance to meet our audience and really connect with them.

“Plus churches have some of the most wonderful acoustics for choral singing, far better than many concert halls.”

Spending so much time on the road, often thousands of miles away from home could put extra strain on the ensemble.

“We are like a family,” said Gordon. ”I think we are all very aware that we are in close quarters a lot of the time and know how to judge people’s moods and how to deal with stress.

“But the main thing is that we just love to sing and that’s something that we can do do every day.”

The Australian Voices, St Lukes with St Philips Church, Blackburn, Wednesday, September 19. Tickets from 0203 286 6786