Young Persons' Future Fund - bake sale report
We're really proud of our members up and down the country who are getting to grips with their fundraising. The Young Persons' Future Fund was given a great start at the end of the Girls' Choirs course on Saturday 6 April, when a parent, who teaches cookery at a prep school, brought along tables and tables of cakes to sell for £1 a go before and after the concert at Tudor Hall School.
Singers, parents and staff raised £410 for the fund buying delicious and beautiful cakes. Well done everyone!
Review of Monteverdi's Vespers
Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 is one of those pieces of Renaissance music of which performance practices are still the subject of debate. It is an astonishing work of virtuosity but with sections of plainchant of lesser difficulty. I have seen it performed by professional choirs with perhaps fewer than 20 singers.
In a brilliant concert put on by National Youth Choirs of Great Britain around 600 singers from Boys' Choir, Cambiata Voices, Girls' Choir (Senior), Girls' Choir (Junior) Training Choir North, Training Choir South, National Youth Choir and Chamber Choir together with soloists Mark Dobell, Benjamin Hulett, Matthew Long and orchestra La Serenissima conducted by Ben Parry the piece came to life in The Royal Albert Hall on 14 April.
In the other work in the programme, no less challenging, Exile by Mark Simpson, the singers showed what can be achieved by giving full value to the swirling chord changes very much in the modern idiom, painting the emotional power of Harold Hart Crane's poetry.
The performance of the Vespers was beautifully judged. With the mighty forces at his disposal, Ben Parry brought out the different sections of the piece to perfection. The simple but very effective "Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis" the younger members sang with skill and confidence. In the more complex fast moving passages the accomplished soloists and chamber choir handled the ever moving, complex writing with great skill.
Mark Windisch, Chairman, National Early Music Association
DVDs of this performance can be ordered from Black Swan Film and Video: www.bsfv.co.uk for £16
National Youth Choir: UK tour
Summer 2013 - dates in brief
National Youth Choir UK Tour: Tuesday 30 July-Saturday 17 August
Tuesday 30 July: course starts at Bootham School, York
Monday 5 August: travel to Derry to take part in Derry City of Culture Festival
Wednesday 7 August: a cappella concert in Derry
Thursday 8 August: concert with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Irish Youth Chamber Choir, and Codetta
Sunday 11 August: BBC Prom concert with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Irish Youth Chamber Choir, and Codetta
Tuesday 13 August: a cappella concert in Dora Stoutzker Hall, Cardiff
Thursday 15 August: a cappella concert in St Cuthbert's Church, Edinbugh (concert is part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
Saturday 17 August: a cappella concert in Snape Maltings (concert is part of Snape Prom)
Training Choir North Monday 12-Monday 19 August, Tudor Hall School, Oxfordshire
Monday 19 August: concert in Oxford Town Hall
Girls' Choir Seniors and Juniors Tuesday 20-Saturday 24 August, Leighton Park School, Reading.
Saturday 24 August: concert venue tbc
Training Choir South Thursday 22-Thursday 29 August, Tonbridge School, Kent
Thursday 29 August: concert in Rochester Cathedral
Boys' Choir / Cambiata Voices Tuesday 27-Saturday 31 August, Ampleforth College, Yorkshire
Saturday 31 August: concert at The Sage Gateshead
Full details are available at www.nycgb.net/news-concert-events/
Music for Youth regional festivals
Three of our musical directors, Dominic Peckham, Greg Beardsell and Esther Jones have joined Music for Youth's UK Regional Festivals during the past two months to bring some vocal magic from NYCGB. They've been to Boston, St Albans, London's Southbank Centre, Southport, Harrogate, Upminster, Surrey, and Gateshead, to inspire participants of all ages in the Big Sing choral workshops and deliver helpful tips between the festival performance slots.
We were delighted to receive some really wonderful feedback in person and on Twitter, and we hope we've made some new friends. 'Incredible music-making and collaborations - all part of our exciting future' said Dominic Peckham after the event in Southport.
Summer course details online
We have now put the details for the summer courses online, including dates, course venues and performance venues. The start times of some concerts are not yet confirmed, so we'll add them later. Please check again soon.
Important statement - 26 March
It has today been announced that former Artistic Director Michael Brewer has been sentenced to six years' imprisonment following his conviction last month for charges of indecent sexual assault between 1978 and 1982 while he was Head of Music at Chetham's School.
We were shocked and appalled by the conduct of Michael Brewer that led to his conviction. We would also like to reiterate our deep sympathy for the family of Frances Andrade, and for anyone else for whom these and related past events have caused distress and suffering.
The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain can confirm that at no point during or prior to the trial were any questions raised with the NYCGB by the police or anyone else with regard to Michael Brewer’s activities while in his role as Artistic Director of the NYCGB.
Careful always of the safety and well-being of all our members and staff, we are reviewing all our policies and practices with independent advisers to ensure that they are not only compliant but constitute best practice.
We would like to confirm that both our own pastoral and musical staff and independent counsellors will be available on our courses this Easter for any choir member or member of staff to talk to, about concerns of any kind. Meanwhile, we will share updates with parents and members about our policy reviews.
Music Education Expo 20-21 March
If you're attending the Music Education Expo at the Barbican on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March, don't miss Greg Beardsell's session, 'Basics of choral and ensemble conducting'. Please come along to say hello to us at stand A6, too!
The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) were shocked and appalled at the conduct of Michael Brewer, former Artistic Director of the NYCGB, for which he was convicted on charges of indecent assault of a Chetham's School of Music student between 1978 and 1982, while he was Head of Music of that school. It was also deeply saddened at the related death of Frances Andrade.
The wellbeing and safety of choir members is paramount to the NYCGB and we wish to reassure members, their family, friends and the public, that appropriate and proportionate steps to ensure the safety of its young members were taken at the time the allegations were made about Mr Brewer. We can also confirm that at no point during or prior to the trial were any questions raised with the NYCGB by the police or anyone else with regard to Mr Brewer’s activities while in his role as Artistic Director of the NYCGB.
The NYCGB sought advice from the police and child protection officers as soon as allegations were made. It acted on those discussions, putting in place measures to ensure the protection of the children under its care, and it maintained regular contact with its designated Child Protection Officer. When Mr Brewer was charged by the police he was immediately suspended and subsequently removed from his role. Because of information that emerged during the trial, regardless of its outcome, the Trustees agreed that Mr Brewer would not have any future involvement with the NYCGB.
The NYCGB operates a comprehensive policy with regard to the safety of members in accordance with the Child Protection Guidance and Framework. It is led by professionals in the pastoral care field, gives training on internal procedures and has a strict policy of ensuring that staff members are subject to regular CRB checks, which included Mr Brewer. NYCGB is not, however, in any way complacent, and, in light of recent events, it is reviewing its past policies and procedures to ensure that further improvements are implemented. To this end, NYCGB has opened a dialogue with the NSPCC, who are offering support and guidance going forward.
The NYCGB is committed to nurturing the exceptional musical talent of young people by offering the very best in vocal tuition. Young people are the NYCGB’s reason for its existence; we wish to make it clear to members, parents and all those who support the NYCGB that we will continue to ensure that all members remain in a safe and secure environment so the excellent work that takes place can continue.