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Through grants and donations we aim to subsidise course spaces by 34% on average for all members and offer further support through financial assistance when needed.
In 2016 financial assistance was awarded to 1 in 5 young aspiring singers to participate in our residential training programmes. This represents a 28% increase in the number of requests since 2014 and equates to a fifth of our total current membership.
In 2013, NYCGB undertook a national consultation as to how best to assist the music education sector’s drive to remove regional inequalities in singing participation and provision. The result was our Widening Access & Engagement (WAE) programme which we have piloted in West Cumbria (2013-15) and Cornwall (2014-16).
Based on the measurable success of these pilots, and learning from them, NYCGB has committed to embedding WAE as its third core programme strand alongside 'Educational Courses' and 'Performance'. We have initiated a third partnership in Nottinghamshire (2016-2019), have just secured funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Trust to appoint a WAE Manager and are committed to a rolling schedule of new regional partnerships.
In 2016 we successfully piloted an open, free-to-attend Community Outreach Programme (COP) at residential courses in Yorkshire, Kent and Norfolk. This programme featured free and non-selective open singing days, course open days, ‘pop-up’ performances in public spaces and a free ticket scheme for young people in target regions. Partnering with local Music Education Hubs and schools, the pilot COPs engaged over 1,000 young people who had previously not been aware of NYCGB. From 2017, COPs will be a part of most residential courses with the aim of engaging at least 2,000 new local young people per annum.
Our new music programme enables each of our choirs to commission and perform newly created choral works and ensure that high quality choral music continually refreshes the repertoire of choirs throughout the UK and abroad. In recognition of our work in this area, NYCGB has been awarded the David Bedford Music Education Award in conjunction with the PRS for Music Foundation two years running, the first organisation to ever achieve this. This award acknowledges outstanding music education programmes involving composers and new music.
In October 2015, NYCGB launched the Fellowship Programme, which annually provides eight aspiring choral professionals aged 22-25 an extensive education to become not only outstanding performers but also highly creative and able educators. The programme is aimed at ambitious and creative people who not only want to become part of the professional choral network, but who want to shape it. No other UK choral singing programme exists which provides training, performance opportunities and financial support at this level.
The NYCGB annual auditions programme, kindly supported by the Royal Albert Hall, takes place in 16 regional venues across the country during November with multiple dates scheduled in some areas. Our Musical Staff see upwards of 750 young people; a number which is significantly increasing each year due to our successful Widening Access and Engagement Programmes.
NYCGB is a truly national organisation: with our courses and concerts taking place at locations throughout Britain in the Spring and Summer school holidays. Throughout the year, the National Youth Chamber Choir and Fellowship reinforce and extend this reach with a wide-ranging UK and international schedule. Recent highlights have included appearances at Durham Brass (2015), Cheltenham Festival, Petworth Festival (2016), Malta International Choral Festival, and American Choral Directors’ Association Conference in Salt Lake City (2015). Our choirs are frequently invited to take part in third party promoted events, with recent highlights including ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ for BBC Radio 2 (2016) and Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall with Kylie Minogue (2015 and 2016).