Calton Hill Alive with the Sound of the National Youth Choir of Scotland

The dawn chorus on the Calton Hill had some company on Monday 17th May! 

Taking advantage of the easing of restrictions that allow up to 30 people to gather outside to sing, 29 singers from the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCOS)   gathered with their conductor Christopher Bell to be the first to sing in Scotland this year. These keen and hardy young songsters delighted early walkers with their  rehearsal of Let All the World in Every Corner Sing by Vaughan Williams and Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin.

 Singing close to each other has not been possible since March 2020, the date the choir last met and performed together, which is clearly a big disappointment to choristers as is evidenced by comments from Mollie Quigley, who took part in the Calton Hill rehearsal and  said “We are all excited to be back singing altogether again. A lot of us have sung together for 10 years and it is good to hear everyone finally back together again. On Zoom it doesn’t feel like you’re singing together, it feels isolated. This morning has been wonderful hearing everyone together again.”

 And Marcus Wylie who said “It has been great seeing everyone together again this morning. On zoom you cannot hear the harmonies and it is not the same as being together with your friends. This morning has been amazing and I’m looking forward to lots more singing now this year.”

Founded in 1996 by Christopher Bell, NYCOS is now marking its 25th anniversary. It started as a single choir of young singers aged 16 – 24 and  has expanded to 7 National Choirs, a network 15 Regional Choirs across the country along with an extensive creative learning programme.

Bell, who is also Artistic Director, said “NYCOS is the organisation dedicated to encouraging singing for young people the length and breadth of Scotland. It has been incredibly hard to not be able to truly nurture the talent that exists here in Scotland over this past 14 months, and to see the effect that not being able to meet and sing has had on our wonderful singers/musical family. Being part of NYCOS and being able to sing with their peers from across the country is an incredibly important part of their young lives, with all the health, development and wellbeing benefits that singing brings.

“It is a huge relief and delight to be back together making music here this morning on Calton Hill and we look forward to popping up across Scotland in outdoor locations for rehearsals with the various regional choirs in Aberdeen, Highland, Dumfries, Glasgow and here in Edinburgh. Hopefully, those passing by will get a wonderful surprise!”

From 17th May, members of NYCOS National Choirs, NYCOS itself and National Boys’ Choir and National Girls’ Choir will hold rehearsals in outdoor locations in areas which are level 2 or lower including at Holmhill in Dunblane, Falcon Bowling Club in Edinburgh and other spots across the country. It is hoped that before long the Hidden Garden at Tramway and other locations in Glasgow will also be included.

For more information please see the NYCOS website.

Irene Brown

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