Emerging Professional Artist programmes

The National Youth Choir exists to provide exciting and inclusive creative opportunities for all young people. 

As part of this remit, our Emerging Professional Artists programme, supports young singers, composers and conductors as they emerge into the professional world. It aims to address inequalities in the music industry by creating professional development pathways for those who are under-represented in choral music. Participants in our Emerging Professional Artists programmes work closely with the National Youth Choir (18-25 years) and our other choirs.

Antonio, a latino man in his 20s with hair slicked back into a bun, playing with 3 kids as they make a freeze frame together

“A Sensational SING! Weekend”

Morning, Friday 2nd February, I depart my home in South London to make the treacherous trip to Newcastle, narrowly dodging train strikes and cancellations along the way. I am excited, this will be the first Learning & Engagement (L&E) project where I have had a somewhat central role in planning and curating the weekend of workshops.

I have been involved with a few L&E opportunities during my Fellowship Year, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. They have taken me to different parts of the North; Wigan, Huddersfield, and Newcastle. For these projects, my role has generally been Workshop Assistant. I have learnt so much from many of the National Youth Choir practitioners and facilitators during these workshops; Matt Roughley, Felicity Hamilton, Gabriella Noble, to name a few.

Being able to observe and work with these musicians has guided me and become a vital part of my Fellowship experience. I have absorbed, learnt and gained skills and knowledge that I will take on and use in my career. I remember being part of the team during the SING! Summer Vocal Day, back in August 2023, and working with the Lead and Associate Lead Adam Hope and Andrew McTaggart. I was inspired by how they approached teaching musicianship to the young singers, the speed at which content was delivered, and the music chosen. Little did I know that less than a year later, I would be taking up one of these roles myself!

I was Associate Lead, with Luke Mather, a previous Fellow, taking the role of Lead. This time, Luke and I were in charge of choosing the rep, planning the rehearsal schedule for the weekend and collaborating with the rest of the music team. It really was a sensational SING! Weekend! Some of the young singers had attended the SING! Summer Vocal Day back in August, so it was really uplifting to see them return, having grown in confidence, and ability.

What’s great about these Learning & Engagement projects is that they take place in areas where young singers may not have the opportunities that other young people are offered in other parts of the country. The projects are a direct response to the challenges faced in these areas, and go above and beyond to give young singers opportunities to develop their skills and abilities. It is also a lovely way to spend a weekend, where young people can make friends and grow in confidence, all within the safety and security of an intensive two days of high quality ensemble singing. I am proud to be part of the current SING! project as the values and views of the L&E staff and team all align with my own ethos and aspirations. I am passionate about providing opportunities for quality music making and singing to young people, especially those from diverse areas.

Of course, I cannot speak about this wonderful weekend without mentioning the terrific team I had the pleasure of working alongside. From the Learning & Engagement core that is the dynamic duo of Katie and Steph, Hannah, who is always on hand to cheer up any young person whenever they are down, Nina, the vibrant vocalist, to the National Youth Choir Legend that is Charlotte Galloway, everyone played their part extremely well.

To top it all off, like something out of a Charles Dickens’ novel, there were the Ghosts of Fellows Past, Present and Yet to Come in, Luke, myself and Adam, all eager to make this SING! Weekend a success, and bring the joys of singing to these young people. I do believe that without the whole of this team, the weekend wouldn’t have been as much of a success. I know I speak for the rest of the crew, as well as myself, when I wish Adam the best for his Fellowship year, along with the rest of his cohort.

A stand out experience from the weekend that I will leave you with is this; a young girl, too shy to say her name during an initial ice breaker game, on the verge of quitting and going home, yet after a weekend of singing, games, and an informal performance to family and friends, was best friends with everyone and full of confidence. That’s what these experiences are all about!

Sponsor credit with logos: We are most grateful to the following for their kind grant support, partnership and advocacy: Steinberg Media Technologies, The DOyly Carte Charitable Trust, Ofenheim Trust, Making Music and AOTOS (Association of Teachers o