Tartan Terrors and scavenger hunts: choirs continue to meet online

NYCOS Regional Choirs across Scotland continue to meet online for weekly rehearsals and musicianship training with a joined-up repertoire approach and fun musical games from home.

Younger choir members are working on Tom Cunningham Tartan Terrors, a cantata commissioned by NYCOS in 2016 with five songs about mythical Scottish creatures like the Bogle, the Kelpies and the Loch Ness Monster. Singers have also been invited to draw pictures of these creatures and submit them.

Older choir members are working on I Landed with Seven Men, a cantata by Ken Johnston that tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie using traditional songs in new arrangements.

NYCOS staff teaching from home have found creative ways to continue musicianship games, which have always been an integral part of Regional Choir rehearsals. Young singers are encouraged to use household objects to aid their learning, such as plastic cups, wooden spoons for drumsticks or a rolled-up pair of socks as a ball.


Graham Boyce, NYCOS West Lothian Choir Director:

In this time of isolation, NYCOS is a beacon of light. Bringing friends together to enjoy singing and continuing to learn and develop musicianship skills is bringing so much joy to not only the young people in our choir, but the staff. With our weekly scavenger hunts, quizzes and crazy challenges, we enjoy the lighter side of being together in isolation and with a renewed, shared focus on repertoire that we know is being enjoyed across Scotland in all the Regional Choirs. Our members are clinging to the hope that we will all be able to sing these wonderful songs together at some point in the future, in whatever form that may take.


Mairi Leggatt, NYCOS Dundee Choir Director:

The social aspect of NYCOS plays an important part for all our members – this week we played musical Pictionary online and we had a Dundee emoji quiz. We have other things up our sleeves too – Scavenger Hunts and Treasure Trails, anything we can come up with to allow the Choir to continue to grow and develop both musically and as young people. Group singing is a wonderfully social thing and it is important that we maintain this element in tandem with the music-making. Our musicians, youngsters and adults, bring different things to the singing and take different things away with them; it’s brilliant to be part of this community of singers.

Tartan Terror drawings (NYCOS Midlothian Choir) and Musical Pictionary (NYCOS Dundee Choir) photographed above.

There are fifteen NYCOS Regional Choirs (aged 8-18) based in Aberdeen, Angus, Dundee, Dumfries, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Hamilton, Inverness, Isle of Lewis, Midlothian, Perth, Renfrewshire, Stirling and West Lothian.