National Youth Choir Alumni

Welcome to the National Youth Choir Alumni community! 

If you are a former member of any National Youth Choir ensemble or emerging professional artist programme, then you still part of our National Youth Choir family! We’d love you to stay connected to our work and the ever-growing community of talented National Youth Choir graduates across the UK and abroad. Whether you’ve recently been a member or were involved back in the early years – you are very welcome. 

We are so proud that our alumni have gone on to achieve such wonderful things. National Youth Choir alumni are graduates from across the choir’s 40-year history, including doctors, nurses, teachers, conductors, CEOs as well as professional singers from The Swingles, BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, Gabrieli Consort, Monteverdi Choir, Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera and Royal Opera House Choruses and come together from as far afield as America, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Germany. 

Whatever your journey, we’d love each and every one of you to stay in touch.

There are a number of ways you can choose to get involved. To be part of our supportive online network, join our Alumni Facebook Group; come together to sing with other alumnus by taking part in concerts and events or be part of the National Youth Choir's future by getting involved in fundraising initiatives to support more young people to be part of its life-changing programmes.

Join our alumni communities on on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Jonathan Grocock sang with the National Youth Choir from 1988-1993 and was also one of NYCGB's early Choir Administrators. He now lives in Oxfordshire.

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

I was a second tenor. My first course was (rather bizarrely) a reunion get-together in Ranmoor, Sheffield on New Year’s Day 1988. From early 1993 I switched from singing to helping run courses for a year or so.

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

Along with my wife, Sam, and our young family, I moved to Henley around three years ago, having spent the previous 15 years working in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg. I work for HSBC as the Chief Administrative Officer for retail banking in Europe. 

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

I’ve kept singing over the years and now sing regularly with Coro, a choir set up in London in the early 1990s by a group of NYCGB Alumni. It’s great to sing with old friends and new, and I’ve recently taken on the role of treasurer. 

What is your standout moment from your time in NYCGB?

So many! Albert Hall concerts, great courses, but I guess it would have to be the 1992 World Tour; singing 'Only You' for beer in the pub outside Christchurch Cathedral, the students from Te Aute College doing a haka at the start of our concert (I almost pooped myself) and lunch in Doyle’s restaurant, Watson’s Bay. I made friends for life and my brother, Richard, was there. A real blessing. 

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

Besides the New Zealand National Anthem (you had to be there...) it would probably be Honegger’s 'Christmas Cantata'.  I sang it twice at the Albert Hall with a mass children’s choir, which was sat up above us. The ending, with the kids’ chorus, the organ playing at full tilt and NYC stood singing in the middle of the Albert Hall stage was spine tingling. 

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

It would be called “the Eclectic Tour”, taking in Luxembourg (much maligned but a wonderful place with a great sense of itself), then on to parts of Africa to experience a different extreme, and finishing in New Zealand; it really marked me when I was there - another place with real 'soul'. 

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

I use them all the time. The drive to excel, an attention to detail and the life and management skills you get from living and 'working' with a group of high performers.

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

I’m really lucky. I get to do that once a year when a group of 10+ NYCGB Alumni come together for our annual Christmas dinner. But away from NYCGB, it would be “Beefy” Botham, Rick Stein and Peter Kay (responsible for wine, food and banter 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’ve a framed poster I was given by my Nan when I was struggling with my A-Levels - it contains the poem 'It's All In the State of Mind' by Walter D. Wintle. It’s about perseverance and positive thinking....something tenors need in abundance!

What is the theme tune to your nightmares/ dreams?

To my dreams? Shenandoah arr Erb. To my nightmares? Sourwood Mountain, the 1992 Tour 'Waiheke Island' version. We got into a loop we couldn’t get out of and it included a modulation.... sopranos started to drop like flies and Jasper Blakeley, who’d been allowed to dance a one-person American folk dance on the benches at the back of the stage (......?) eventually just gave up - so the singers then did.

Jonathan Grocock was interviewed by Gareth Saunders.

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