Tuesday 11 May 2021


This May we will bid a fond farewell to Chris Higgins, who has been Chair of the Board of Trustees at NYCGB for ten years who has stepped down at the end of his final term as Chair. Chris has been a huge asset to our organisation supporting its growth and development during a pivotal point in its almost 40- year history. We caught up with Chris to get his thoughts on his time as Chair and future plans.

What are you most proud of regarding your tenure as Chair of NYCGB?

The many young people we have helped get such great enjoyment from music and singing together, all the while growing in every aspect of their lives as individuals. It doesn’t matter whether they become professional musicians, as many do, or simply take the joy and learning from singing together into other careers, NYCGB has helped them on their life’s journey.

Do you have an outstanding memory of your time as Chair?

The massed choirs singing who we are by Kerry Andrews in the Royal Albert Hall. Choirs from Soweto and around the world inspiring all young signers at the International Youth Choirs Festival. The emotion, last October, of the first live performance during COVID, with our young singers giving premieres of pieces by NYCGB Young Composers. Performing music live is what it is all about.

How has NYCGB changed in your time with the organisation?

NYCGB was always an excellent choir, but during my ten years as Chair it has grown significantly in profile to become both a go-to Choir for major national events and a large, professionally-run organisation recognised for its leadership in choral music and education nationally and internationally.

What are the key challenges for NYCGB going forward?

Continuing to draw more young people from different backgrounds into the joy of singing together and, dare I say it, to continue to try to make up for the shocking deficits in musical education and opportunity in many schools. All the while, maintaining excellence in all that we do while continuing to grow as one of the UK’s premiere choirs and influential choral organisations.

What has been your favourite NYCGB performance?

There have been so many, such varied performances. Probably Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, semi-staged, at the home of Britten - Snape Maltings. Unique and so utterly moving.

Which NYCGB recording would you want to have with you on a desert island?

One wouldn’t suffice as there are so many recordings with such different emotions attached to them! The lively and life affirming Kerry Andrews who we are or the Training Choir’s Balleilakka; the Girls’ Choir singing A woman (Wearing Bloomers) on a Wheel; the moving COVID-lockdown recording of Shenandoah by 400 alumni. All are so uplifting in their different ways. Young people like these, singing together in such a meaningful way, gives us all hope for the future of humankind.

What are your hopes for NYCGB in the future?

To continue to go from strength to strength to help more young people grow in their lives and music-making, whether they become professional signers, amateur singers or the audiences of the future.

What’s next for you?

I’m now retired but have been keeping very busy as a Trustee of Britten Pears Arts and as Governor of a high-performing FE College and a growing sixth-from Academy Trust, and am so looking forward to listening to live music again, particularly as a future groupie of NYCGB.