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.

7 October 2019

New Fellow Eleanor Bray reflects on the introduction day, meeting her fellow fellows and making the best of warms ups, in our first Fellowship Blog of the 2019/20 Programme

We made our way to central London for a civilised 10.30am start and (hopefully starting as we mean to go on) we were all early! It was good to spend some time getting to know each other throughout the day as we’ve all come from different places and some of us are totally new to NYCGB.

We began by discussing some of our favourite warm-ups, vocal and physical, and thinking about their benefits. This included ‘rubber chicken’ and an intense unvoiced consonant workout from James! It was particularly interesting to consider warm-ups from different perspectives and how they might work for different groups of singers. We also thought about how a group rehearsal dynamic works with eight singers, and how we would be able to contribute ideas collaboratively.

After a healthy dose of admin before lunch, we met Nicola-Jane Kemp from The Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS), who encouraged all of us to be open-minded about teaching as part of our future careers. A few of us already have some experience in teaching but we’re really looking forward to guidance in this area.

We spent an hour or so showing off our best ‘confident’ faces in front of the camera before getting around to some singing. We looked at the pieces written for the National Youth Choir by the Young Composers, led by Ben Parry. They’re all so varied in approach and were really enjoyable to get stuck into. Each one presents its own sets of challenges and rewards; we thought about how to internalise a sense of rhythm rather than always relying on a conductor, and how we might help our sections with this. It’ll be really interesting to work on these with the whole choir when we get together for the Discovery Weekend. It was great to hear our group sound for the first time and I’m really looking forward to singing together throughout the year.

As the day came to a close we realised that it would be less than a week before we’d be seeing each other at the Discovery Weekend! It was really good to meet each other and we’re all really excited for what this year has in store for us.

Find out more about NYCGB 2019/20 Fellows

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).