Thursday, 21st October 2021

Conducting Taster For Young Ethnically Diverse Musicians: Sing for Pleasure Partnership

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) was thrilled to be invited to partner with Sing for Pleasure (SfP) to provide a free Conducting and Vocal Leadership course for young Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse musicians in July 2021 as part of an ongoing collaborative partnership.

The session, based at Redbridge Music Service in Ilford (London) was led by Manvinder Rattan, himself of Indian extraction and born in Kenya, who is Head of Conductor Training (currently on sabbatical as he takes up his new CEO role at Voices Foundation). The programme was specifically designed to encourage young musicians from ethnically diverse backgrounds to consider a career in choral conducting or vocal leadership. The session included young musicians from NYCGB and Redbridge Music Service. Manvinder was supported by Shivani Rattan from NYCGB Fellowship and SfP trained conductor. 

NYCGB was one of many organisations across the country who participated in the programme, which was launched under a new pilot conductor training project, focused on creating an inclusive, encouraging space for musicians from Black and ethnically diverse backgrounds to explore opportunities in choral music.

Sing for Pleasure is a registered charity which aims to encourage people of all ages to enjoy singing. They are the largest provider of choral conductor training in the UK and pride themselves on delivering programmes and events that develop choral and musicianship skills.  

NYCGB is striving to build an inclusive community and wants to help achieve meaningful and balanced representation in choral leadership. This partnership is an example of NYCGB’s commitment to creating and promoting a culture of belonging and inclusivity within our organisation and the wider music sector.

Ruth Evans, Head of Artistic Planning & Participation at NYCGB and a Sing For Pleasure tutor said:

It is so important that we work in partnership across organisations. Sing For Pleasure does incredible work shaping the choral landscape and we are proud to be working alongside them to redress areas of underrepresentation including creating new opportunities for young people from Black, Asian & ethnically diverse backgrounds. At NYCGB we champion creativity, representation and belonging in all our programmes and output.

Manvinder Rattan said:

I’m passionate about trying to redress the imbalance within leadership in the music sector in this country. There is a degree of complacency that must change and when I see the enthusiasm and skill of some of the students we met, I know we will win this one, eventually.

As an extension of the partnership and programme, in September 2021 Manvinder Rattan led a session at the National Youth Choir discovery weekend in London on conducting, choral leadership and SfP opportunities. The session was an incredible insight into Sing for Pleasure methodology for members with plenty of opportunity to get up on the podium to conduct and ask questions!

Learn more about Sing for Pleasure here.

Photography: Ruth Evans