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.

Photography: Rich Hardcastle 

Tuesday 20th December, 2022


The final instalment of our 2022 Fellowship blogs, written by Fellow Florence Price. Florence fills us in on her final couple of months of her time in NYCGB Fellowship, and also provides an excellent roundup of the past year on the programme. Read more to discover what she's learnt on the programme, and what is in store for her in 2023!

What an extraordinary year this has been! It’s hard to believe that my time as a Fellow with NYCGB is coming to a close. It’s been such a special experience, and a privilege to have met and have worked with so many inspiring people who share a love of this great organisation.

Following on from the National Youth Choir’s recordings at the Royal Academy of Music in early September, the Fellows reconvened a few weeks later to record pieces written for the Fellowship Ensemble by the Young Composers: Ben Nobuto, Thomas Metcalf, Sun Keting, and Claire Roberts. This ensemble was made up of the current Fellows and four other singers who have been members of the programme in the past. I enjoyed meeting the ex-Fellows, and it was interesting to hear of the exciting things they’ve been up to since finishing the programme.

The recordings took place over one day in the picturesque School Farm Studios in Essex, surrounded by fields and weeping willows (and supposedly alpacas, although they must have been hiding that day!). It was interesting to see how the composers approached writing for an octet versus a large choir, and here they frequently took the opportunity to showcase the solo voices within the smaller group. Ben Parry was leading the day and watching him work was truly a masterclass in how to manage a recording session in an efficient and positive way. It was such a fascinating experience to observe how to best pace such a long and intense day to keep the mood relaxed and enjoyable. The four pieces we recorded are all uniquely characterful and take their own original approach to 2022’s theme of ‘Environment’, and I can’t wait to hear what they sound like when the recordings are released.

In January, we will be recording NYCGB’s Showcase, our final engagement as 2022 Fellows. I remember the excitement at the last showcase, and how welcoming everyone was. I‘m looking forward to meeting next year’s cohort, and singing the Young Composer’s pieces again.

It has been a whirlwind participating on the Fellowship Programme, and I’ve had the opportunity to grow as a musician in the most nurturing environments. When entering the programme, I was really keen to learn how to lead and nurture young voices most effectively. Throughout the year, the Fellowship has offered amazing opportunities to develop this, and a particular highlight was in Sunderland on the Young Singers Intensive Weekend in the spring, where I had so much fun leading rounds, taking sectionals, and I even conducted a choral arrangement of a song by Lewis Capaldi in the concert- definitely an unexpected experience! I was also lucky enough to attend the Girls’ Choir residential courses in both April and August, directed by the inspirational Joanna Tomlinson, who I have gained so much from observing and interacting with this year, along with the formidable musicianship leaders, Mariana Rosas and Adam Hope. The enthusiasm and optimism that the staff brought to the courses was reflected in the relentless energy and love of singing in the young singers, and it was incredibly moving to hear their concert in August, as it was the first public performance those singers had given with the Girls’ Choir since before the pandemic.

As someone who was new to NYCGB at the start of 2022, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the Fellowship, but the warmth and support I have received from the organisation has been overwhelming. I feel honoured to have worked with the four Young Composers and three other Fellows, and I look forward to taking everything I have learnt this year into the future.