2009 represented a year of musical highs for the National Choirs. NYCoS started its two your cycle of preparing for a tour. Members were recruited to learn a programme of largely British music to take to Germany in 2010. This preparation year isn’t like trading water though. Performances are at the highest level, leading Michael Tumelty to remark in a review:

"it was the sense of assuredness and innate confidence within the choir that underpinned the singing, permeated the music being delivered and seeped into the audience. You absolutely trusted them."

Concerts in Perth, Crieff and Aberdeen were very well received.  In addition, a group of 50 prepared Elgar Dream of Gerontius and joined the Edinburgh Festival Chorus for a performance with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra which was a highlight of the 2009 Festival and very well reviewed. All was in place for fine tour material the following year.

We welcomed Michael Kibblewhite as Director of the NYCoS Training Choir and they developed into a very good choir indeed – as well as the usual Stirling Castle and end of course concerts, they met again in August to perform in Greenbank Parish Church in Glasgow, and at the RSAMD as part of the very last NAYO Festival. 

Post Easter course, the NYCoS National Boys Choir gave a concert at Coats Memorial Church, Paisley along with NYCoS Renfrewshire Choir in May. Also during May, Changed Voices performed at Erskine Church, Falkirk with NYCoS Falkirk Choir, sang at St Giles, Edinburgh and led a boys singing day with Christopher Bell at Perth Concert Hall for 1000 boys. Yes – 1000 boys! A thrilling experience to be part of.

The NYCoS National Girls Choir residential course brought us back to Strathallen School: it was like visiting an old friend after some years absence.  Our main focus this year was to give the Scottish premiere of Dreamfighter by Tim Sutton with Scottish Ensemble which we did in Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen, and followed this with a concert at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen along with two Norwegian Choirs. In September, they performed at the BBC’s Proms in the Park at Glasgow Green. This concert was recorded by the BBC and later shown on TV, and each of the National Choir concerts at the end of their respective courses was recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland. Karen Cargill agreed to become Patron of the NYCoS National Girls Choir.

NYCoS Area Choirs continued to provide a high quality choral experience for around 2000 singers aged 8-17 years. In September 2009 a new area choir started in Aberdeen bringing the number of area choirs across Scotland to twelve. Along with the Choirs' regular concerts in June and December, engagements during 2009 included the following concerts and events:

  • NYCoS Edinburgh Choir took part in the Parents Like Us Festival, Leith Links and Raymond Gubbay’s Glory of Christmas Concert in the Usher Hall. Younger members of the Choir sang at the ABCD Singposium in Edinburgh and the Vocal Ensemble performed at Lennoxlove House nr Haddington.
  • NYCoS Dumfries Choir performed at DG1 in Dumfries as part of a Rotary Club concert.
  • NYCoS Dundee Choir performed with the RSNO in the City of Discovery Concert at Caird Hall, Dundee as well as joining  Dundee Choral Union for a performance of Mass of the Children by John Rutter later in the year.
  • NYCoS Falkirk Choir took part in Raymond Gubbay’s Glory of Christmas in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
  • NYCoS Midlothian Choir performed as part of the Midlothian Council Showcase.
  • NYCoS Renfrewshire Choir sang at fundraising concerts in at Kilbarchan Church and at The Eight O’Clock Club. The Choir also performed at the St Andrew Society Annual Dinner in Glasgow.
  • NYCoS Stirling Choir entertained the Provost of Stirling and guests from Nova Scotia and Ireland at a Homecoming Concert/Dinner.
  • NYCoS West Lothian Choir took part in a Compassions Concert and the West Lothian Council Spring Series

The Mini Music Makers network of activities for parents with babies/toddlers had regular classes taking place in Ayr, Bathgate, Biggar, Busby, City Halls Glasgow, East End Glasgow, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Giffnock, Kelvinbridge Glasgow, Killearn, Hamilton, Lamancha, Linlithgow, Livingston, Pollokshields, Stirling and Tramway Glasgow. Mini Music Maker sessions took place over the summer organised by Toryglen Housing Association. Also, taster sessions were offered as part of City Halls Summer Fun Programme and at Parents Like Us Festival, Leith.

NYCoS Educational programmes continued to be in great demand. The Scottish Government funded Youth Music Initiative has involved NYCoS working in partnership with many local authorities supporting a variety of programmes of vocal education. Partnerships this year have included delivering Go for Bronze in schools in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Renfrewshire to Primary 3, 4 and 5 pupils as well as the Active Learning Programme to support Curriculum for Excellence in West Lothian and piloting the programme in Highland Council schools. YMI Choirs have taken place in East Lothian and West Lothian. NYCoS continues to develop a wide range of training courses to create continuing professional development opportunities.  Training Courses this year have included Mini Music Maker Leaders, Go For Bronze and an Area Choir Staff Training Day.  Training Workshops have also been delivered to many organisations and local authorities including City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council, Sing Up, WLEB in Londonderry and Bookstart.

The annual NYCoS Kodály Musicianship Conference took place this year on 29 - 30 August at Stirling University and was attended by 166 delegates. A group of NYCoS members performed songs from the new Songbooks 2 series launch at this event.

The catalogue of Publications by NYCoS continued to grow.  Following the success of the first set of songbooks in 1996, a second set of songbooks had been commissioned. 30 new songs by Scottish and Scottish based composers.  SingBronze 2 includes pentatonic songs, SingSilver 2 - diatonic songs and SingGold 2 - diatonic songs with accidentals.

In the office, Victoria Tibbitt was appointed as Marketing and Communications Manager in June to replace Joanna Lennox: to support the expanding activities of NYCoS Louise Goodlad was appointed as Fundraising Manager from July.

Glasgow City Council