Image: Online Forum with members of the National Youth Choir and Fellowship, with conductor, composer and NYCGB President John Rutter CBE

12 May 2020

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYCGB unfortunately but inevitably had to cancel Spring 2020 courses and concerts for all choirs. However, the NYCGB team worked extremely hard to put together at short notice, a series of online digital activities for our members.

National Youth Boys’ Choir and Girls’ Choir members enjoyed four days of fun online musical challenges, games and vocal exercises, delivered successfully via YouTube. Members of the National Youth Training Choir, National Youth Choir and Fellowship took part in courses online through the Zoom platform involving; music rehearsals, dancercise, masterclasses, singing lessons, Q&A forums (including with renowned composer, conductor and NYCGB President John Rutter and award winning vocal group The Swingles) and social activities. 

Although nothing replaces the visceral interaction of in-person music making, the online courses were highly successful and importantly enabled us to continue to engage and work with our members whilst in lockdown.

Anne Besford, NYCGB Chief Executive said:

We are hugely proud that the NYCGB family has responded so creatively and enthusiastically to keep our choir members singing through lockdown. Our talented and dedicated team developed these new resources for our young singers from scratch in just two short weeks. We have been heartened to receive such positive and enthusiastic feedback from our members who have greatly valued our efforts not only in terms of improving their skills and musicianship but also in staying motivated and connected during these challenging times.

We received 4964 YouTube views of course material by National Youth Girls’ & Boys’ Choir members who took part in a variety of online activities from body percussion, to beat-boxing, to creating and playing their own instruments. During our online courses we worked with our members to learn and produce new recordings to share with our audiences, with 7 new ‘Virtual Choir’ audio and video recordings created in total, by the National Youth Training Choir, National Youth Choir and NYCGB Fellowship. 

In the words of our members:

I learnt lots and it developed many of my skills, for example checking my posture and teaching me how to do vocal colour. It was my first course, and it made me feel very happy and excited for the next course. 

Junior Choir Member 

The programme was important for me in lockdown to have something to get up for, and give me a chance to have a structured day again. I learnt lots from all the tutors on the team and thank them for their hard work and expertise. 

National Youth Training Choir Member

It was honestly just lovely to see everyone, never mind all the amazing forums that we got! The chats with The Swingles and John Rutter were particular highlights and learning about the new composers was also really interesting! The socials were also really great fun.`

National Youth Choir Member

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