The Fellows find fame - and test their leadership skills.

HELENA COOKE

On 17 May, the Fellows arrived in rainy Nottingham for a workshop with local secondary schoolchildren, continuing a partnership between Nottinghamshire Youth Music Hub and NYCGB that had begun almost exactly a year ago to the day. 

Dominic Peckham was leading the workshop, and this was the Fellows' first experience of working with him since our final round of auditions well over a year ago. For the first 20 minutes he held everyone's attention without saying a word. He got everyone to copy his movements and vocalisations and silenced a room of 150 teenagers with just a wave of the hands (a very useful tip). There was immense focus and concentration in the room which prepared everyone well for learning the songs and mash ups that followed. After the rehearsals, we did a short lunchtime concert. Each school choir sang, and for many of them it was their first time performing in public - a huge achievement for both them and for NYCGB in setting up this partnership.



CLICK TO WATCH: Getting Nottinghamshire schools singing


The following day saw half of the Fellows enjoying some of the delights of Cheshire countryside. This included a visit to the Ice Cream Farm, the most scenic pub views and some exceptionally competitive table tennis. 

Our previous two projects in Somerset and Nottingham meant that we went in to Friday's primary school workshops feeling much more prepared than we otherwise might have, as watching Greg and Dom (two very experienced leaders) had taught us a great deal about how to effectively and efficiently teach songs. At Bunbury Primary School we worked with classes 4-6, with each of us there taking the lead for one class. For such a small school we were so impressed with how the children responded. They were attentive and enthusiastic and an absolute credit to the staff there. I was nervous going into the morning but found it immensely rewarding, and I learned so much from watching the other Fellows and how classes reacted. 

It was fantastic that the school choir were able to join us for our concert that evening to perform one of their own pieces and a mash up we taught them earlier in the day (and had learnt from Greg the week before!). The concert formed part of the inaugural Sandstone Ridge Festival, and it was gratifying to have what was probably our biggest audience yet. I think all of the Fellows would agree that it was the best performance we've given in many of the pieces, and we got our first (very surreal) taste of fame when the school children asked for autographs afterwards!