2006

2006 was quite rightly dominated by events relating to NYCoS 10th Anniversary. The only part of the organisation that was actually 10 years old was the National Youth Choir of Scotland itself: the idea, however, was to celebrate the organisation and its vision, which from 1996 sought to put singing at the highest level on the agenda for young people aged 16 - 24, and, where possible, to have an influence on developing singing work for younger singers. In making plans to celebrate this, we wanted to involve all parts of the organisation, National Choirs, Area Choirs, Educational activities and Publications.

The year involved high level performances by the National Youth Choir of Scotland. NYCoS performed with BBC SSO in Glasgow and Aberdeen in April – both concerts receiving critical acclaim from the media. The concerts were subsequently broadcast on BBC radio. Following the residential course in July, August saw NYCoS performing at the BBC Proms in London once again with the BBC SSO. A BBC TV Artworks programme crew filmed the summer course and the Proms visit for a documentary, Singing for Scotland, which was broadcast on BBC 2 in September. In Edinburgh’s Usher Hall, accompanied by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, NYCoS and 80 of its alumni took part in the 10th Anniversary Gala Concert on 17th September, drawing superlatives from audience and press alike and prompting the Scotsman newspaper music critic to label NYCoS as the best choir in Scotland.

The NYCoS National Boys Choir met in early April at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane. At the subsequent concert in Horsecross (Perth Concert Hall) a large audience heard the premiere of Saga of the Seven Days by Tom Cunningham – a 10th anniversary commission by NYCoS. NBC undertook its first tour in May when it performed in Londonderry and Belfast. Elsewhere in the year, NBC performed at the Paisley Choral Festival and members of NBC Changed Voices appeared at a dinner in Stirling Castle for UEFA delegates.

NYCoS Training Choir enjoyed an enhanced status throughout the year. During the summer it performed in Stirling Castle and Merchiston Castle School and in August took part in the NAYO Festival along with the Changed Voice Section of NBC. Later in the year, members appeared at six concerts as part of Children’s Classics Christmas Concerts in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, and also at the Microsoft Conference Dinner in Edinburgh hosted by the First Minister.

Early in the year, discussions with the BBC about taking part in Songs of Praise offered a unique opportunity – fill the City Halls in Glasgow entirely with NYCoS singers and raise the roof on national television. 800 members of the NYCoS Area Choirs, and members of NYCoS, NYCoS Training Choir and the National Boys Choir recorded the programme with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra hosted by Sally Magnusson, which was broadcast on 26th November.

It’s usual in the arts world to celebrate by commissioning some music. For our 10th anniversary we asked ten Scottish composers (or composers connected to Scotland) to each write three songs to fit with our Area Choir musicianship-training programme at its three levels. The idea and the subsequent publications Singbronze, Singsilver and Singgold, were very enthusiastically received by press and singers alike. NYCoS branched into new territory during the year by publishing Saga of the Seven Days and the three NYCoS Songbooks.

NYCoS Area Choirs also continued the annual round of recruitment auditions plus Christmas and summer concert presentations. NYCoS Dundee Choir became the first NYCoS Area Choir to perform abroad when it visited Dundee's twin city of Orleans in France in October 2006. West Lothian Choir said goodbye to Lucinda Geoghegan as Choir Director with a celebratory concert in St Michael’s Church, Linlithgow.

The Educational support programmes continued to be in great demand. YMI work, impossible to sum up in one sentence, was fundamental. Concerned that last year’s conference was getting too large, NYCoS organised two Kodály Musicianship Training Weekends - in Glasgow (where delegates were addressed by the Scottish composer James MacMillan) and Inverness, and supported a third in Fife – over 450 delegates in total.

NYCoS, as an important provider of CPD, was represented on a national steering group to advise on a study into training needs for Music Education.

Mini Music Makers activities expanded. In addition, NYCoS became involved in a YMI funded Bookstart project to provide training for library Rhymetime leaders across Scotland.

NYCoS was involved at a number of national conferences and events e.g. Scottish Association of Music Education, Singposium North, SAC Ballyhoo Exhibition, and Paisley Choral Festival. A National Youth Music Strategy was published in November 2006 at the launch of which, NYCoS was quoted as a good example of an organisation, which combined high artistic and educational qualities. We even began to have some representation in England where the Music Manifesto programme had identified similar issues re vocal education, to the experience in Scotland.

Within the office there were now three full time staff managing the different NYCoS remits, a part time Publications Administrator and an Office Assistant.  After such a packed year, it was time for a quiet life; time to ease off the pedal, time to coast a little…



Glasgow City Council