NYCGB Fellows 2017-18 (L-R): Thomas Brooke, Nathan Harrison, Eleanor Partridge, Emily Hodkinson, Jacob Ewens, Sarah Lucy Penny, Luke Mather, Lizzy Humphries. Image: Ben Tomlin


The NYCGB Fellowship Programme caught Lizzy’s attention when it launched in 2015. “I thought that the combination of a vocal ensemble training scheme alongside training young people to use their skills in education was a fantastic idea and something I wanted to be a part of.” She is looking forward to the performance opportunities that the Fellowship will offer, and also recognises the programme’s potential to help her career through “a wider understanding of approaches to teaching... I have worked with children and the elderly in various settings, but not so much where music has been involved.”

Lizzy is currently studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and is a Voces8 Scholar. She is a former member of the Genesis Sixteen Programme.


Having graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, Eleanor is embarking on a professional singing career. By her own admission, the prospect of joining the freelance world is “pretty daunting”, so she’s looking forward to the continuity and support that her year with the Fellowship Programme will offer, as well as the training and experience. She’s also looking forward to some variation in her musical diet – a “vocal break from standing in the choir stalls! It’s exciting seeing the different people you bring in to train the group, and the many contrasting opportunities they get, from radio broadcasts to leading rehearsals with younger children.”

Eleanor currently holds a Choral Scholarship at St Martin-in-the-Fields. She is a former member of the Genesis Sixteen Programme, and the Chapel Choir of Royal Holloway, University of London.


Emily’s degree course at the University of York is already providing outlets for her interest in helping others’ musical development, notably a ‘Music in the Community’ module which sees her leading and creating activities for a wide range of groups. She sees community music-making as a major part of her future career, but recognises the importance of being an all-rounder. “In a climate that demands flexibility and versatility, the Fellowship Programme will help me to enter the professional world as a versatile choral singer, soloist and music educator.”

Emily is a former member of The 24 at the University of York, the Genesis Sixteen Programme and Youth Music Voices, the 2012 Cultural Olympiad Youth Choir.

SARAH LUCY PENNY (Mezzo-Soprano)

Sarah Lucy is no stranger to NYCGB: she joined the National Youth Training Choir as a teenager, progressed to become Alto section leader in the National Youth Choir, and has worked as a staff member on junior residential courses. “My musicianship and confidence have grown hugely because of the opportunities given to me, and I feel confident that the Fellowship can provide the next step for my career.” Recently graduated from Edinburgh Napier University, she is looking to the programme to develop her ensemble skills and awareness, and to provide her with a “platform from which to start making contacts and begin working.”

Sarah Lucy currently sings with The 24, Vox A Cappella Ensemble and the MA Quintet at the University of York.


Thomas’s singing CV already includes extensive concert and competition experience as chorister and soloist. But as he squares up to the calling of professional musicianship, “I am aware that one must have several employable skills to work with - not exclusively singing.”  He considers it vital to build experience as a leader and educator and is looking forward to the range of input that his Fellowship year will offer, whilst recognising that it won’t amount to spoon-feeding: “It’s important to be proactive about professional opportunities.”

Thomas is a former member of the Genesis Sixteen Programme, and previously held Choral Scholarships at the Cathedrals of Durham and York.


The intimate musical and personal nature of the Fellowship Programme appeals to Jacob: “The responsibility, detail and precision which singing in a small group demands is something I find thrilling.” And whilst he has considerable choral and conducting experience from his time at Oxford University, where he studied as an undergraduate and  directed the Chapel Choir of Lincoln College, “the Fellowship offers a more consistent environment than ‘depping around’, enabling me to continue to develop as an ensemble singer, and giving me a platform to pursue further work after the programme. Being part of the same group of singers for the duration of the programme also provides the opportunity to really build something and develop as a group as well as individually, and this is hugely exciting.”

Jacob currently sings with The 24 and the MA Quintet at the University of York, and is a former member of Schola Cantorum of Oxford.

LUKE MATHER (Baritone)

Luke completed his final National Youth Choir course this Summer as Bass 1 Section Leader, and has had the Fellowship in his sights for a while: “I have seen my friends who were on the programme in the last two years really develop their overall musical skills.” He auditioned for the 2016-17 programme but didn’t get through. “So I spent a lot of time improving every single aspect of my singing and musicianship so that I could get into the fellowship this year!” The hard work has paid off - and Luke’s ready for more of it, particularly anything to do with workshops and leadership. “I already work with the young singers and adults on a weekly basis, and I want to get really good at leading both groups confidently. I'm really up for criticism so I can be better.”

Luke currently conducts the Barnsley Youth Choir, Barnsley Singers and his own chamber choir, Icosa.


Nathan is a relatively recent vocal convert – he entered his degree course at Cardiff as a first-study pianist! Concerts with the University Symphony Chorus stimulated his ability and confidence and led to Choral Scholarships at Llandaff and Portsmouth Cathedrals, and his current post at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Each new opportunity, however, has only served to further develop his passion and enthusiasm for choral singing: “The opportunity to sing with like-minded, talented singers, to sing a variety of repertoire, and above all to develop my vocal and performance technique in a challenging, reputable and inspiring environment, is what lured me to apply for the Fellowship.”

Nathan currently holds a Choral Scholarship at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He is a former member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the Genesis Sixteen Programme.