4 September 2018

The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain’s 2018 Summer season has been a record-breaker, with its five choirs enjoying unprecedented audiences and activity.

Live concert audiences were in excess of 19,000 thanks to appearances at the First Night of the 2018 BBC Proms, the Opening Event of the 2018 Edinburgh International Festival and the Amiens 100 Commemoration Event (National Youth Choir), sell-out concerts at the 2018 Snape Proms (National Youth Choir) and 2018 ABCD Convention Gala (National Youth Boys’ Choir), and an open-air performance trail at Beamish Museum in County Durham (National Youth Girls’ Choir). Hundreds of thousands more were reached through two televised and two radio broadcast performances, one livestream and the first-ever Virtual Reality Prom, which featured the National Youth Choir.

NYCGB choirs gave four world premieres during the Summer, three of them of works by female composers. The National Youth Choir gave the premiere performances of ‘Five Telegrams’ by Anna Meredith, ‘My Granny Sarah’ by Errollyn Wallen and ‘One Equal Music’ by Ben Parry; the National Youth Training Choir and O Duo percussion duo gave the premiere performance of ‘Imagine It!’ by Janet Wheeler. The National Youth Chamber Choir sang in the UK premiere of Danish composer Per Nørgård's Third Symphony at the BBC Proms in the presence of the composer. NYCGB choirs performed more than 60 works in total, with more than half by living composers.

NYCGB choirs were also busy in film sets and recording studios. The National Youth Training Choir and O Duo created a music video of Janet Wheeler’s ‘Imagine It!’ in the Richard Whiteley Theatre at Giggleswick School; the National Youth Girls’ Choir and children from Beamish Museum’s Youth Group created a music video of Joanna Forbes L’Estrange’s ‘A Woman (Wearing Bloomers) on a Wheel’ at Beamish Museum. The National Youth Choir and National Youth Training Choir recorded six new audio tracks for release on NYCGB’s digital record label.

NYCGB’s Summer activity was also more publicly accessible and engaged than ever before. Record numbers of guests were welcomed at five course open days, while 655 audience members were entertained at free ‘pop-up gigs’ in public spaces in Cardiff, Framlingham, Harrogate, Settle and Durham. The National Youth Choir’s sell-out performance at the Snape Maltings was filmed and will be made available to watch in full on NYCGB’s YouTube channel.

In total, more than 500 children and young people sang in NYCGB in July and August, with participation for 1 in 5 ensured by NYCGB’s Financial Assistance Scheme. The success of the season was ensured by more than 100 members of staff including pastoral and social staff and heads, section leaders, accompanists, singing, musicianship and Alexander Technique tutors, course managers and conductors.

Auditions for the National Youth Training Choir, National Youth Boys’ Choir and National Youth Girls’ Choir will be held at locations nationwide in October and November; booking opens on 27 September at www.nycgb.org.uk/audition

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