The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) has announced a new partnership with the Royal Albert Hall (RAH), which will include support from the hall for the choir’s annual nationwide audition tours. The announcement was made at a reception on 14 April ahead of NYCGB’s premiere performance in the hall of Exile by Mark Simpson and the Monteverdi Vespers, marking the 30th anniversary of the choir’s inaugural performance, which also took place at the RAH.
Ben Parry, the new director of NYCGB, said that the hall and the choir would be working in partnership for the next five years. Associate musical director Greg Beardsell told CM that other elements of the relationship will include performances by the National Chamber Choir of Great Britain in the hall’s Elgar Room.
Chris Cotton, chief executive of the RAH, said that the hall stands as the pinnacle of achievement for all performers in the UK ‒ professionals or amateurs, musicians or dancers ‒ ‘people who perform here never forget it. We were established in 1871 for the national benefit and I’m very keen to reach out to all young people. I hope this new relationship with NYCGB will last for many years.’
After the concert a presentation was made to the choir’s co-founder and honorary company secretary Carl Browning, who is stepping down from management of NYCGB. He said that he was heartened to be leaving the choir in such good shape under the direction of Ben Parry and that the evening’s concert had been the best he had ever heard from NYCGB. In response, Parry was keen to acknowledge the essential contribution of Robert Isaacs, Greg Beardsell, Esther Jones, Dominic Peckham, Niall Crowley and Rachel Staunton who had prepared the girls and boys choirs, training choirs north and south, cambiata voices and main choir for the performance.
The entire event marked the end of an era for NYCGB and a new start following the recent conviction for sexual offences of its other co-founder, Mike Brewer.