Ben is in the middle of a zoology Masters at University College London, specialising in the study of team dynamics in African wild dogs. He hopes that The Song Cyclists will be similarly sociable and effective at the end of 1000 miles together. A Bass 2 at Sidney Sussex, his voice has been steadily rising ever since, so after three weeks of constant singing, he expects to be using his famed countertenor almost exclusively.
Joachim has a varied vocal background including numerous operas, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Concanenda and the barbershop quartet Fourplay. In The Song Cyclists, he relishes his role as heroic baritone and that-bloke-who-holds-long-high-notes-in-a-cappella-tags. Outside of music, he founded the tutoring business Oxbridge Global and enjoys running and football.
THE SONG CYCLISTS
A Cambridge Quintet
Ben, Joachim, Jonny, Ollie and Will met singing in the choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Here they nurtured a passion for choral music and an enthusiasm, if not a proficiency, for sporting endeavour. Graduating between 2012 and 2015, they have been looking for a project to combine their vocal skills and their athletic ambition ever since. When they discovered the work of the charity Mind, it was the perfect fit.
"Over the past few years, Cambridge University has been in the spotlight for not taking the mental health of its students seriously enough, and for The Song Cyclists, our access to music, sport and a supportive system among our peers and tutors helped us to manage the academic stresses." Will said. "We are all aged between 23 and 27 and very aware of the mental health issues prevalent in young men, with high rates of depression and shocking suicide statistics - we believe that mental health needs to continue to be destigmatised for our demographic and that, hand in hand with that, music and sport should be encouraged for their sharing qualities."
Jonny currently works in London as Head of Artist Relations at Encore, an online musician-booking platform he helped set up after graduating. When not startup-building, he sings early music with the Renaissance Singers, new music with the Facade Ensemble, and noodles around on jazz piano and drums with anyone who’ll listen. Jonny says: “Having witnessed first-hand the debilitating effects of mental illness, particularly among musicians, I feel privileged to be able to contribute to the great work Mind are doing in destigmatising and treating mental health problems.”
Ollie has spent the last few years singing between London and Cambridge, but has recently fallen into a more reasonable line of work as a data analyst. This 9-5 vocal rest will hopefully provide him with the refreshment he needs to manage some exceedingly high tenor parts from Schubert to barbershop.
Ollie said, "It is a sad fact that the number one cause of death for men below the age of 35 is suicide, and it is Mind’s brilliant work in tackling the stigmatisation of mental health that first turned me onto this fantastic charity. We hope that this endeavour can help Mind and show the power of sport and music in affecting wellbeing."
Will is doing a Masters in singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and spends his time performing around London, teaching A level music and making curries. He said 'In a globalised, hyper-connected world, it is too easy to become isolated and feel like a mental health issue must be faced alone - the fantastic work of Mind and the communal qualities of sport and music encourage people to share and communicate'.