In April 2017, eight choirs from around the world will arrive in London for the inaugural International Youth Choir Festival. The choirs will perform a showcase of music from their own countries at the Royal Albert Hall, before uniting for a mammoth performance of Jonathan Dove’s There Was a Child at the Royal Festival Hall.
The festival is a collaboration between the team at the Royal Albert Hall and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB). Artistic director of the festival Greg Beardsell, who is also deputy artistic director of NYCGB, said: ‘This festival will open people’s ears and eyes to the amazing difference that youth choirs make to people and communities across the world, and offer a unique opportunity to hear eight of the world's best youth choirs perform together in an incredible public concert.'
As part of the festival, delegates will be able to attend workshops with the visiting choirs on everything from the secrets of Gospel Singing (Boston Children’s Chorus) to an African choral master class (Mzansi Youth Choir). In the weeks leading up to the festival, primary schoolchildren across London will be invited to ‘Songs from Around the World’ workshops. Local youth choirs will also have the chance to participate in the workshops and the performance on 15 April.
The choirs taking part in the inaugural festival are:
Boston Children’s Chorus (US)
BCC is a city youth choir that also believes in its role as a model for civic change, 'paving the way for a more connected Boston' through commitment to diversity of membership and repertoire, and a wide-ranging performance, education and outreach programme.
Diocesan Boys’ School Choir (Hong Kong)
The Diocesan Boys’ School in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district has an established culture of academic excellence that places equal emphasis on the importance of students’ cultural and artistic development, exemplified by its outstanding choir.
Mzansi Youth Choir (South Africa)
Famous for its appearance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, the Mzansi Youth Choir consists of 45 choristers from Johannesburg’s Soweto community, and exists to give these talented but underprivileged teenagers and young adults life-changing opportunities for development and self-expression.
Manado State University Chorus (Indonesia)
Indonesia is home to one of the world’s great choral cultures. The MSUC offer an insight into this remarkably different world, with performances in traditional dress that make extensive use of dance and gesture across repertoire from South Asia as well as Arab, African and European cultures.
National Youth Choir of Great Britain (UK)
Founded in 1983 as a single choir of 100, the National Youth Choir is now the flagship ensemble the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, a family of five choirs which collectively aim to be the most inspiring organisation for young choral singers aged 9-25 in the UK.
Norwegian National Youth Choir (Norway)
Founded in 1987, the NNYC unites 40 young voices from a vast and remote geographical catchment area for performances of a diverse range of music including Renaissance, Baroque and Classical music, national and international folk traditions, and contemporary music.
Riga Cathedral Boys’ Choir (Latvia)
Since Latvian independence in 1990, the RCBC has developed into a national cultural ambassador, mounting up to three international tours a year and performing at numerous state receptions. The boys are pupils at the Riga Cathedral Choir School, which offers specialist training in conducting, choral music and jazz to boys and girls aged 7-18.
Sawa Choir (Israel)
The Sawa Choir is one of several youth projects based at the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Shaf’amar in Galilee. Directed by Rahib Haddad, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel, the choir is for girls from Israeli and Palestinian Jewish backgrounds, and embodies hopes for cultural dialogue and understanding in one of the world’s most historically divided regions.
For more information, or to buy tickets for the International Youth Choir Festival, click here.
15 April: A Celebration of Wold Voices – Royal Albert Hall, 5pm.
17 April: ‘Global Voices’ – Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm
There was a Child (Jonathan Dove)
Interational Youth Choir participants
Louise Alder (soprano)
Robert Murray (tenor)
Ben Gernon (conductor)