NYCGB Alumni Choir, Photo: Matt Thomas


The talented NYCGB Alumni Choir are coming together across both the miles and the years to create a new virtual recording of the American folk song Shenandoah. The project was conceived by NYCGB alum Ben Weaver, who was a member of NYCGB from 1999-2003, whose initial idea is being taken forward by the NYCGB Alumni Champions Committee.

Ben who currently lives in Germany, and has for the last seven years worked in the Opera Chorus in Nuremberg, came up with the idea as a way of bringing past members together for a virtual reunion in order to create something positive during these difficult times.

The NYCGB Alumni Choir includes doctors, nurses, teachers, conductors and CEO’s as well as singers from the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, Gabrieli Consort, Monteverdi choir, Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera Royal Opera House, The Swingles and many more!

Shenandoah, in its original arrangement by James Erb, was the overwhelming winner, voted for by former members of NYCGB. Alumni Will Dawes and Tom King have offered to be the creative team, providing all the musical resources.

Over 400 singers have signed up to be involved in the project, and there is still chance to get involved!
Interested alumni are asked to get in touch via the NYCGB Alumni Facebook Group here 

Sectional rehearsals are taking place on Thursday and Friday evenings, via Zoom and are run by alumni section leaders.

Alumni Ben Weaver said:

Living in Germany and working full-time in an opera chorus is a dream job my 20-year-old active NYCGB self could barely seriously believe would be possible, it’s not without its drawbacks though. For years I have watched the Alumni reunions, concerts and carol-singing come and go but was unable to join in due to the busy rehearsal schedule. One of the small positives people are building from these strange times are virtual reunions and choirs, so despite having a full-time job as a singer (although currently not working) I still miss the special atmosphere of an NYCGB performance and thought we alumni should do one too.

Many thanks to all you alumni out there joining in, and I cannot stress enough my gratitude to all the people actually organising this project, from the scanning of the score to the sectional rehearsals over Zoom, the many other behind-the-scenes jobs and certainly to those who will be editing together 300+ videos into one performance! Take care of yourselves and hopefully soon we‘ll see each other in person at a non-virtual reunion.

Alumni Champion Committee Member, Charlotte Dougan said:

As part of the Alumni Committee, I jumped at the chance to organise this virtual choir. It is a great opportunity to bring alumni together to share something joyful at this difficult time. We have been bowled over by the response and, thanks to the wonders of technology, will be able to include alumni who live far away including America, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Germany. It is a wonderful way to join together and be a part of the NYCGB family.

We hope that this recording will be enjoyed by many during these trying times, those working on the front line, and also all the young people whose lives have been affected by COVID-19. We hope this gives you inspiration - we want to bring a little bit of the NYCGB magic to your lives.

NYCGB Artistic Director and Principal Conductor said:

I’m so thrilled that NYCGB alumni are offering this wonderful contribution to our musical output. Their legacy is, after all, what NYCGB is all about - singing together to transform lives. 

The Alumni Choir virtual recording of Shenandoah will be released on the NYCGB music label, date to be announced.