National Youth Choir of Scotland
NATIONAL YOUTH CHOIR
St Cuthbert’s, Edinburgh, Fri 13 Jul; City Halls, Glasgow, Sat 14 Jul
While the professional outfits take a summer break, it’s the turn of Scotland’s musical youth to take to the stage. First off on the round of summer courses, concerts and tours is the National Youth Choir of Scotland. In preparation for their August trip to Hungary, the top tier of the phenomenal organisation that offers structured singing activities to thousands of children and young people throughout Scotland, from nursery age to mid-20s, performs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Centrepiece of the programme will be Thomas Tallis’ mind-boggling masterpiece, the 40-part motet, Spem in Alium.
Although it is vital for the choir to perform on home ground, it is important for all sorts of reasons to broaden the scope to international work. A milestone tour to Chicago in 2004 took confidence from a first tour to Sweden three years previously. Hungary will build on these experiences in a way that is especially appropriate for NYCoS. ‘It’s a country where people love choral music and are really interested in what we are doing,’ says Artistic Director Christopher Bell. ‘It is also the home of the composer Kodály, and it is the Kodály system of music teaching that we’ve absorbed for our work.’ 2007 also marks the 125th anniversary of Kodály’s birth and is when NYCoS will celebrate the complete publication of its musicianship training programme.
Singing in cathedrals, churches and high profile festivals, cities and rural towns, NYCoS members will not only get to know the music so that it sounds, as Bell puts it, ‘drop dead amazing’, but each other too. ‘There is real social bonding and friendships are forged that last forever and a day,’ he says. ‘Of course it’s a musical experience, but it’s also a social one. These are the singers of now and of the future singing culture in Scotland.’