National Youth Choir of Scotland celebrates singing again after 14 months

With Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland moving to level 2 enabling up to 30 people to gather outside to sing, members of NYCoS gathered on Calton Hill, Edinburgh at 6am on 17 May to be the first to sing again in the country

This is the first time the choir has physically sung together in 2021, NYCOS’s 25th Anniversary year.

29 singers and conductor Christopher Bell gathered on Calton Hill to be the first to sing in Scotland this year. Their rehearsal of Let All the World in Every Corner Sing by Vaughan Williams and Why We Sing by Greg Gilpin surprised and delighted dog walkers and early birds as the sun rose over Edinburgh.

Founded in 1996 by Christopher Bell as a single choir of young singers aged 16-24, the organisation has expanded to become seven National Choirs, a network of 15 Regional Choirs across the country and a an extensive creative learning programme.

Following the lifting of restrictions, 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.

Christopher Bell, founder and Artistic Director of NYCOS, 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 and 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!’

Mollie Quigley, a choir member who took part in the 6am Calton Hill rehearsal, 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.’

Photo: National Youth Choir of Scotland with founder and conductor Christopher Bell meet on Calton Hill, Edinburgh to sing. Photo by Ian Georgeson

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