Richard Edgar sang with the National Youth Choir from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. He now lives in Kent.


When were you in NYCGB and what part did you sing?

I was in the National Youth Choir from 1986-1994(ish). I was a bass, then baritone (my voice mysteriously rose as I got older). Section leader, eventually.

Where do you now live, and what do you do?

I live in Kent with my husband, son and dog. I'm a journalist - I used to be on telly; I now run a small editorial operation.

Do you still sing, and if so, in what capacity?

Occasionally. Bathroom acoustic testing engineer.

What is your standout moment from your time in NYCGB?

Taking my eyes off the conductor during a recorded performance of chorus dances from Benjamin Britten’s 'Gloriana' and coming in with a fortissimo, well-supported, impromptu and very unwelcome solo. The NYC maxim when I was a member was “loud and wrong” so at least I got that bit right. It’s served me well in later life.

What is the one piece that if you heard it again would remind you of NYCGB?

Lotti’s eight-part 'Crucifixus'. I loved this music so much I wanted to have it at my wedding until someone pointed out the subject matter wasn’t quite right. We had the Communards instead. By the way, if you asked my Mum which piece defined my time at the NYC she’d insist on 'Shenandoah' as “you sang it at every single concert for five years.”

If you were to design a tour for the current National Youth Choir where would you take them?

I’m not sure it would matter. Music knows no language bounds so the choir gets a fantastic reception everywhere. I’d just make sure it was a long trip: spending a decent amount of time on the road and in rehearsals with fellow members is great fun, allows for lifelong friendships to form, and means everyone is razor sharp by the end of the tour.

What skills did you gain in NYCGB that you still use in everyday life?

The choir was the first time anyone had demanded excellence of me. I understood (eventually) what that meant and have tried to carry those standards into adulthood. Also how to look like you know what you’re doing when completely lost. This was useful in my live broadcast career.

You are having a fantasy dinner party: who's invited? 

Doesn’t everyone just put Oscar Wilde and Stephen Fry here? If they were busy then could I please have Wolfgang Amadeus (he’d be fun, right?), Schoenberg (just so I could tell him where I think he went wrong) and Britten (to say sorry).

Your house is one fire. Your family and pets are safe, but you have time to save just one possession. What do you save?

Nothing. Despite having a house full of junk I’m not sure anything matters once family is taken care of.

What is the theme tune to your nightmares/ dreams?

I still have nightmares about the Loud&Wrong Britten. Dream sequence soundtrack: (these are a few of) 'My Favourite Things.' Everything seems alright when Julie Andrews is around.

Richard Edgar was speaking to Andy Farris.


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