Launched in 2015, the National Youth Choir Fellowship Programme aims to create the most highly skilled and multi-talented choral singers in the UK. Each year, 4 singers aged 22-25 are selected from an intensive three round audition process to benefit from a comprehensive, remunerated training programme which develops outstanding skills in performance, education and leadership.

9 May 2019

NYCGB Fellow Sam Gilliatt reflects on 'Live at Lunch' concert with Nottinghamshire schools

On 27th March we arrived at the beautiful Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham for another wonderful event linked with the Inspire Music programme (find out more on Twitter/Facebook @nottsmusichub). This afternoon concert (entitled 'Live at Lunch') acted as a culmination of all the hard work that has been going on in various school choirs across Nottinghamshire since the 'Inspired Christmas' concert back in December.

For this event the Fellowship Octet welcomed soprano Lizzy Humphries (NYCGB Fellow 2017/18), standing in for the absent Gabriella Noble. Lizzie stepped up to the plate with ease on very little rehearsal time and was a delight to work with both in workshops and performance.

Upon arrival we had just under an hour to warm up and prepare the workshop material with Dominic Ellis-Peckham and rehearse our own performance pieces before diving into an intensive workshop/rehearsal with all the children involved, led by Dominic. We started with a lengthy, immediately engaging warm up, mirroring every movement and sound Dominic made (some of the students did a brilliant job at leading too) and gradually learnt a lively a cappella rendition of JP Cooper's 'She's On My Mind' (featuring some impressive choreography and wonderful solos from two of the students).

In the concert, the Fellows performed a short set of four pieces: 16th-century Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria's beautiful double choir setting of 'Ave Maria', Scottish composer James MacMillan's intensely dramatic 'Factus est repente' (from his Strathclyde Motets), NYCGB Artistic Director Ben Parry's charming arrangement of the Irish folk tune 'Star of the County Down' and an arrangement of my own of the Queen song 'Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy'.

As with 'An Inspired Christmas', the lunchtime audience was packed with proud relatives and friends and each performance received a wonderful reception. All students involved should feel immensely proud of their achievement and I hope they all pursue their musical interests and passions for many years to come. 

The NYCGB Fellowship Programme is supported by Principal Programme Supporter ABRSM with additional generous support from the Ofenheim Trust, and by programme partners Making Music and AOTOS (Association of Teachers of Singing).