2008 became the year of the “long look at ourselves” – hopefully not in an oppressive way for those involved. With a new Chief Executive whose background mixed business, education and the arts it was a good time to examine what we did, and how we did it. Within the office words like strategic plan, risk assessment and appraisal appeared, and many hours were spent to ensure our documentation was in order. To that end we were delighted to be able to use in-kind resources from a new sponsor, Pinsent Masons, a law firm with much experience in intellectual property law. Alongside that we looked closely at budgets and how we costed everything with a resulting favourable swing in our end of year accounts. A new office post, Assistant Projects Administrator, was created.

If this has the whiff of seeming dull it was not at all because, with an eager and willing staff, such scrutiny provides the backbone and security that allows us to do the things we love namely encouraging singing across the spectrum in a wide variety of ways. This activity is largely hidden from the public, but what was not hidden at all was the arrival of a much awaited new website offering a fresh look to this form of marketing and allowing a more comprehensive usage for choir members and the public. The new site provides up to the minute information on all aspects of NYCoS, an online shopping service, online course applications and hidden pages for members in all the choirs.

Music wise the year began with talk of NYCoS and ballet! Not actual dancing for the singers, but providing a choir to sing a brand new piece, a requiem called Eternal Light by Howard Goodall to be danced by Rambert Dance Company in Edinburgh and Inverness. Howard’s music defined the summer, with memorable solos and magnificent choral sound. After another appearance at BBC Proms in the Park in September, on Remembrance Sunday, NYCoS, NYCoS Training Choir and alumni members totalling 200 singers performed Karl Jenkins The Armed Man in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with the Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra and the composer conducting. He smiled all the way…

The National Girls Choir had its second residential course and later toured to Edinburgh and Helensburgh wowing audiences with intensity of sound and unanimity of attack. This group is really ready to fly. The National Boys Choir was so large that the audience of parents and friends had to be shoehorned into St Mary’s Cathedral Edinburgh. A few weekends after the course NBC and the Changed Voice group toured separately, and in October fifty Changed Voices took part in a male voice weekend at The Sage Gateshead, which included performing with the Kings Singers. NBC, NGC and NYCoS were recorded live by the BBC for future transmission.  
It’s hard to write about the NYCoS Area Choirs without dully repeating what has gone on in previous years. Yet there is nothing dull about this remarkable network of groups across Scotland, which continues to be the local grassroots singing activity of NYCoS. In September a new choir started in Inverness bringing the number of area choirs across Scotland to eleven. Area choirs at all levels performed locally, entered Festivals and won cups, most notably the Falkirk choir in the National Mod. Choirs also appeared in concerts promoted by Children’s Classic Concerts, Raymond Gubbay, Dumfries Choral Society, Falkirk Festival, Oran Mor in Glasgow and West Lothian Youth Choir sang at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in August. Members also took the opportunity to attend national choir activities.

We added to our list of publications with I Landed with Seven Men by Ken Johnston, and Seven Planets and a Cosmic Rock by Tom Cunningham. A revised edition of Go for Bronze Teachers Manual was joined by a new edition of Go for Silver Teacher Manual with the imminent promise of Gold (have we heard that before?)

NYCoS Educational programmes continue to be in great demand. Alongside a dizzying list of continuing work, new YMI partnerships included delivering Go for Bronze in 31 schools in Renfrewshire to Primary 3, 4 and 5 pupils and piloting an Active Learning Programme to support Curriculum for Excellence in West Lothian. We continued to develop our role as an important provider of Continuing Professional Development opportunities for teachers. NYCoS delivered the first accredited training course in Kodály methodology in August at Aberdeen University, with a follow up later in the year.  Adult evening classes were successfully piloted in City Halls, Glasgow during the summer term with 24 delegates. The Mini Music Makers network of activities for parents with babies/toddlers expanded during the year with new groups starting in Busby, Kelvinbridge and Edinburgh. Also, partnerships with South Lanarkshire and West Lothian created further classes in East Kilbride, Hamilton, Biggar and Bathgate.

It was a year of making new friends and maintaining existing ones. The official NYCoS Friends scheme was re-launched, exceeding targets.  The Arthur Oldham/Michael Lester-Cribb Memorial Fund, attached to the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, donated £10,000 to forge a link with NYCoS. Howard Goodall became Patron of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and Billy Boyd Patron of the National Boys Choir. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Right Honourable George Grubb, became Patron of NYCoS Edinburgh Area Choir.

Glasgow City Council