David Ireland sang with the National Youth Choir and National Youth Chamber Choir from 2008-14. He now lives in Kent.


When were you in NYCGB and what part did you sing?

I was in the National Youth Choir from 2008-13 as a Bass 2, and was also section leader from 2010, and social sec from 2012. I was in Chamber Choir from 2010-14, and have been working on courses as a staff member since 2010.

Where do you now live, and what do you do?

I live in Kent with my fiancee Jess Blease (TC/Main Choir/Staff 1852-3028) and our puppy Mabel. And as for what I do...

Do you still sing, and if so, in what capacity?

Yes! I’m an opera singer now, at the time of writing (November 2018) rehearsing for English National Opera's production of 'La Boheme' ahead of performances in London and Avignon.

What is your standout moment from your time in NYCGB?

It has to be every moment of our 2009 tour to the west-coast USA. What an amazing few weeks, in particular singing at Disneyland: what a surreal experience…!

What is the one piece that if you heard it again would remind you of NYCGB?

‘Meguru’. I was just a little too late for the ‘Shenandoah’ generation, but this was our version of that. It brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it or sing it to this day, as we always ended concerts with the leavers last on stage.

If you were to design a tour for the current National Youth Choir where would you take them?

Both coasts of the USA, with concerts in the biggest halls possible. We got treated so well while we were out there and it would be an unforgettable experience for them all...on the one proviso that I got to go along for the ride.

What skills did you gain in NYCGB that you still use in everyday life?

I was a nervous kid before I started in NYCGB, and the training, social development and overall sense of fun in music-making I got from being part of the organisation gave me the confidence and know-how to choose my career now. I wouldn’t be doing it without my time in NYCGB.

You are having a fantasy dinner party: who's invited?

Assuming a small-to-medium sized table: Stephen Hawking for a bit of science chat, Stephen Fry to correct grammar and to read me the Harry Potter novels, Mozart for toilet humour, Gandalf the Grey for after-dinner card tricks and, obviously, Jackie Chan to teach me some of those sweet moves. Food cooked by Colonel Sanders, served by a front-of-house team made up of Alfred Pennyworth, Edwin Jarvis and Geoffrey Butler (butlers to Batman, the Avengers, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air respectively).

Your house is on fire. Your family and pets are safe, but you have time to save just one possession. What do you save?

I still have a toy rabbit (now a rag) called Baa (yup.) that I’ve had from birth. I’d save him.

What is the theme tune to your nightmares/ dreams?

Nightmares (and dreams): the dinner scene from Don Giovanni. Dreams (and nightmares): 'Bat Out of Hell'.

David Ireland was interviewed by Louise Laprun.


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