Conducting scholarships for Bethan and Timothy
Two of Sing for Pleasure's four 2016/17 Conducting Scholars are NYCGB Alumni. Tenor Timothy Colemen was a member of the first NYCGB Fellowship Programme octet, while soprano Bethan Williams continues to work as a staff member on National Youth Girls' Choir residential courses.
Bethan and Timothy's scholarships provide for a year of fully-funded conducting courses and one-on-one mentoring, under the guidance of Sing for Pleasure's chief executive and head of conductor training Manvinder Rattan.
Article published January 2017
Chantage raise funds for new CD
Originally founded in 1999 by James Davey as something of an NYCGB reunion ensemble, Chantage is now an established London chamber choir with a diversified membership and a string of successes to its name, including victory at the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year competition.
The choir's latest project is a recording of the 'Missa Popularis' for choir and string ensemble by Swedish composer Mårten Jansson. It's an instantly accessible work that has already secured interest from Classic FM and could well become widely popular. To fund the recording, Chantage have launched an appeal on Crowdfunder: donors can choose to either make a straightforward donation, or to take out one of a range of donation packages featuring benefits from conducting lessons to personal carol concerts.
Article published October 2016
Rupert Charlesworth sings 'Nocturnes'
NYCGB Alumnus Rupert Charlesworth (2003-4) has gone from strength to strength in recent years, winning the Handel Singing Competition in 2013, the Cesti Baroque Opera Competition in 2014, and appearing in wide-ranging roles for English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Theater an der Wien, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival.
His first solo disc, 'Nocturnes', is a live recording from Aix of a July 2014 recital on the theme of night with pianist Edwige Herchenroeder, and features a diverse range of songs by composers including Britten, Fauré, Duparc, Schubert and Brahms. A second recording, of arias by C.P.E. Bach with the Café Zimmerman orchestra, is due for release soon.
Article published May 2016
Anna Gillingham sings Pamina for Theater Basel
NYCGB Alumna Anna Gillingham is currently singing the role of Pamina in Theater Basel's production of 'The Magic Flute'. Following graduation from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Anna's career has gone from strength to strength with a string of stage and concert engagements throughout Europe and beyond. She was signed to leading international agency Harrison Parrott in 2015. Theater Basel's production of 'The Magic Flute' runs until March 2016.
Article published January 2016
NYCGB Alumni Choir launch concert
More than 100 NYCGB Alumni, including founder members of the original National Youth Choir, were reunited at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 10 April for the official public performance debut of the NYCGB Alumni Choir. The ensemble took to the stage along with the five current NYCGB choirs for a gala celebration of British choral music titled 'imagiNATIONS', attended by a crowd of 2,500 at the iconic venue.
As well as performing alongside the current NYCGB choirs in a massed closing rendition of Robert Lucas de Pearsall's 'Lay a garland', the Alumni gave their own performance of Michael Tippett's 'Five Negro Spirituals', for which they were joined by star Alumni soloists Kitty Whately (1999), Rachael Lloyd (1993), Paul Hopwood (1990) and Roland Wood (1996) and conducted by NYCGB Director Ben Parry.
Article published April 2016
Carmen debut for Sara Jones
Since leaving NYCGB in 2003, Sara Jones has been building a solo career in the Midlands with professional ensembles including Ex Cathedra Consort (you can hear her as a soloist on their recent Christmas recording, 'Joy in the morning'), Armonico Consort and St Chad's Cathedral Choir. She's also doing her bit to develop the next generation of musicians, working as a peripatetic teacher for a number of schools in Birmingham, Walsall, and Solihull - and has founded a community choir, BoMo Singers, in Birmingham's Moseley suburb.
Singing runs in Sara's family, notably in the person of her Great Aunt. Gertrude Entwistle studied at the Milan Conservatoire, was a member of the first singing generation to broadcast widely on the BBC (click here for fascinating details of one of her appearances on the BBC Regional Programme), and performed operatic roles including that of Carmen in Georges Bizet's eponymous opera. A century later, Sara makes her first appearances in the role with Great Witley Operatic Society at the Swan Theatre in Worcester. The production runs from the 17th to the 19th March.
Sara says: "All of this has been made more possible with the years of choral training and musicianship I received through NYCGB, not to mention all the fun memories... and I'm really looking forward to singing in the Alumni choir on Sunday 10th April.
Article published February 2016
Sam Furness wins Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera award
NYCGB Alumnus Sam Furness has been voted 'Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera' in the 2016 WhatsOnStage Opera Poll, beating five other shortlisted candidate seen and reviewed by WhatsOnStage between December 2014 and November 2015 inclusive. Sam triumphed thanks to stand-out contributions to productions of Richard Strauss's Intermezzo (Garsington Opera; as Baron Lummer) and Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld (English Touring Opera; as Hoffmann), with his performance in the latter hailed by reviewer Mark Valencia as "lyrical, fearless and tireless".
All these vocal qualities were already in evidence during Sam's time as a member of the tenor section in the National Youth Choir; anyone who witnessed his fearless cabaret performances over the years will agree that stage success was never in doubt!
Article published January 2016
Victoria Hodges leads Sing With Us Guildford for Tenovus Cancer Care
NYCGB Alumna Vicki Hodges leads the Guildford 'Sing With Us Choir' for cancer care charity Tenovus. Group singing forms an enlightened part of the charity's programme of support for those affected by cancer, including patients, survivors, carers, and those who have experienced bereavement. The emphasis is firmly on providing a warm welcome and opportunities for participation: there are no auditions and repertoire is fun and accessible.
Vicki writes: "Joining NYCGB in 2009 showed me that singing can really be for everyone; that it’s a great way to make lasting friendships with likeminded people, to be a part of amazingly interesting and eclectic projects and to have so much fun whilst doing so. The musical education provided on NYCGB courses – from improving sight-reading to conducting my peers – is a huge part of what made me want to become a full-time musician, and a lot of it still influences how I lead Sing with Us rehearsals, even down to the warm-ups!"
Vicki would love to hear from anyone keen to join. Rehearsals are 6.30-8pm every Monday at All Saints' Church, Guildford GU2 7QJ.
For more information about Tenovus, visit http://www.tenovuscancercare.org.uk/
Article published November 2015
NYCGB Alumni - it's official!
The NYCGB Alumni Choir has for the first time been accorded official NYCGB constituent choir status, receiving its own ensemble logo as part of NYCGB's 2015 visual identity overhaul and a new permanent online home at nycgb.org.uk/alumni.
With the advent of first the National Youth Training Choir and latterly the National Youth Boys' Choir and National Youth Girls' Choir, NYCGB has an ever-increasing body of alumni with which to engage. Following successful Alumni events in 2014 and 2015, a general invitation is being issued to former NYCGB members of all ages to join the combined NYCGB for their next concert on 10 April 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall, for which they will be prepared and rehearsed by NYCGB President John Rutter.