Looking back on 2004, the overarching theme is one of continued expansion. Massive choral activity and a wide variety of educational activities support had a consequential effect on administration.

During the early part of the year, funding was secured to be able to advertise for, and appoint, an educational projects administrator, a finance officer and an office assistant. They entered the office in August, almost under cover, as NYCoS and most of the office staff had departed to Chicago, USA for two weeks giving outstanding performances of Walton Belshazzar Feast, Britten War Requiem and independent concerts as part of the Grant Park Music Festival.

The NYCoS Chamber Choir began to undertake more performances; Appearances at the EU enlargement conference in Stirling, the Scottish Business in the Community Dinner in Edinburgh, The National Association of Buildings Societies Dinner in Newcastle, a concert in Coates Memorial Church in Paisley, and then 36 female voices sang Debussy La Damoiselle Elue with the BBC SSO, conducted by Ilan Volkov, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. To round the year off, some members were invited by the SRU to sing the national anthems at three rugby matches in November.

The NYCoS Training Choir made its own break for freedom. The Chicago touring choir had been recruited over two years and in order to best accommodate the large number of applications, an enlarged Training Choir was established (in preference to the two NYCoS choirs run in 2001). This Training Choir did its own concerts as part of the National Association of Youth Orchestras Festival in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The Children’s Choirs were re-named Area Choirs reflecting the inevitable fact that 14 year olds don’t like to be called children. In addition to the weekly cycle of rehearsals and end of term concerts, other opportunities were grasped as they presented themselves. As well as their own appearance at the NAYO Festival, the Dumfries Area Choir sang with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in the final concert of the Dumfries Arts Festival organised by Children’s Classic Concerts. Members of NYCoS, Edinburgh and West Lothian Area Choirs took part in the official opening of the new Scottish Parliament Building in the presence of HM The Queen.

The National Boys Choir continued to go from strength to strength. After a successful course and concerts in April, August saw NBC singing Britten War Requiem as part of the Edinburgh International Festival with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov. A few weeks later they were the only act to survive the high winds at the BBC Proms in the Park in Glasgow, dashing indoors to sing The Road to the Isles in a live link up with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London.

Alongside this high level of choral work, in the fields of education and advocacy NYCoS made an increasingly significant mark. The YMI Initiative became a huge part of NYCoS planning and activity, as a result of the Scottish Executive’s wish to give parity of vocal provision alongside instrumental provision for Scotland’s primary children. NYCoS began to run activities in West Lothian and Glasgow as part of the Youth Music Initiative, employing staff, training and supporting others. Additional support to seven other authorities was added throughout the year. The extensive timetable of workshops and in-service activities alongside many meetings to monitor existing provision and plan and develop new schemes meant many miles were covered in 2004 in the promotion and development of choral work in Scotland.

Crucially, NYCoS also became involved in a wider advocacy role, including representation on various London based music committees and in many instances providing a useful link between different parts of artistic activity in local authorities in Scotland.

With Kodály becoming an educational buzzword in Scotland, NYCoS ran its first Kodály Musicianship Training weekend in Glasgow with 210 delegates attending. In March we had published the Go for Bronze Teacher Book, and later that year had a presentation ceremony to mark the sale of 5000 copies of NYCoS' first publication Singing Games and Rhymes for Early Years.

Glasgow City Council