21 August 2019

When were you a member of NYCGB and what part did you sing?

My name is Luke Mather. I sang Bass 1 in the National Youth Choir of NYCGB from 2011-2017 and I was a section leader from 2016-2017. I was also privileged to read the NYCGB News on my last course! I’ve been staffing Boys’ Choir Courses for the last two years as a section leader.

Where do you live now and what do you do?

I live in Barnsley in Yorkshire and work as a choral conductor and workshop leader with 2 community choirs in the town - Barnsley Youth Choir and Barnsley Singers. I’ve been working in Barnsley for the last 4 years and it’s been great to have the Yorkshire countryside just on my doorstep!

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

Yes, I was a member of NYCGB Fellowship 2017/18 which meant I got to sing for a year with 7 fantastic singers and friends. Now that’s finished I try to get into London and sing in concerts when I can. It’s a good way to keep in touch with other singing friends!

What is your stand out moment from your time in NYCGB? 

The 2016 courses stand out for me, we had a fantastic tour to China and recorded Spem in Alium – it was a brilliant year!

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

Picking one piece is so hard! Each time I hear a piece we have sung in NYCGB, all the memories of friends and good times flood back. A few would be Taubet Kokios Sutemos Svesios, Mahler 2, Country Dances and Salutation (Homesick Cranes, if you know, you know)

If you were to design a tour for the current NYCGB where would you take them?

I would probably take NYCGB on a UK tour again. We did one in 2013 and it was brilliant to perform across the country! NYCGB’s outreach programme is totally awesome in scale already and if the National Youth Choir could be part of that, as part of a tour it would be fantastic.

What skills that you gained during your time in NYCGB do you still use in everyday life?

I was fairly shy when I came to NYCGB and the confidence I gained from friends during the courses really helped me to come out of my shell a bit. Learning rehearsal technique from conductors and fellow section leaders has been incredibly helpful in leading my own rehearsals and workshops.

You are having a dinner party. Who do invite? (time travel and fiction are no obstacle)

Ha ha this is a great question. I would probably invite every Bass 1 I ever sang with in NYCGB. Those teams were tightly knit and it would be brilliant to catch up with them all again. Maybe add in Belshazzar from Belshazzar’s Feast as well, that guy knew how to throw a party.

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

It would probably be my laptop...I know that’s really bad. It’s got all my compositions and entire diary on and I’ve not backed it up...probably should do that...

What is the theme tune to your nightmares/dreams?

Nightmares – an ice cream van song played by a speeding ice cream van (Doppler effect), genuinely one of the creepiest sounds I’ve ever heard. Dreams – probably the final 15 mins of Mahler 2, gets me every time.

Any last thoughts?

I’d like to do a shout-out to the alumni team. I’ve only recently become an alumni and the community is very friendly and welcoming!