A Message From Yorkshire Youth Choir Members, Past and Present

This post is a message from several members of the Yorkshire Youth Choir, past and present. To read my first post on the choir click here.

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of going to see the Summer Yorkshire Youth Choir concert, this was the first concert I was able to attend since leaving last year so it was an odd experience to be sitting on the opposite side of the stage but it was amazing to see the choir as talented (if not more so) as usual. The concert was fantastic with a great program, I was a big fan of the ABBA Medley as it was a song we did on one of my earlier courses and it brought back some great memories, although I found it difficult not to sing along! Talking to some of the members after the concert they told me what a brilliant week they had had, several of them saying it was the best yet and that they couldn’t wait to come back in Easter. This choir really gives its members something to look forward to, something that will give them stories to tell their friends and families for years.

This is where we get to the point of today’s post, unfortunately last year YYC lost its core funding due to the demise of West Yorkshire Grants, the choir is now working with the Halifax Choral Society to continue to administrate the group and also receives sponsorship from various sources but sadly this is not enough. The artistic directors are looking for a parent or group of parents to help set up a campaign to raise funds. Myself and some other alumni are hoping to set up our own fundraising campaign for alumni and friends of YYC, the choir meant so much to us and we want to give something back. We cant do this without help, Yorkshireis the biggest County in the Country but there is nothing else like the Yorkshire Youth Choir so it is unbelievable how little support they receive. If you are reading this post and do not have much interest in music or choral singing, please realise that this is not just a choir, it’s a community, a big family where everyone is the same and can spend time with their best friends. Everyone should have the opportunity to be involved in something like YYC and it would be a massive shame for it to fade away.

So I think i’ve said my bit for now, I asked some of the past and present members to send me a few words about what they love about the choir. I was blown away by the response, here is what they had to say, 

Present Members

Sarah Moriarty 17
YYC is magic, it brings together people from all walks of life and within 6 days has us feeling like a family who have grown up together for years. We are eternally grateful to Liz, John and Alison for creating, organising and running such a group where nobody is bullied or discriminated for who they are, and then are bonded by a shared love for singing. I have only been going there for three years, yet I can't imagine my life without it. I have met my closest friends there and I know that even when we're sadly too old to be in the group, we shall stay in touch. YYC teaches us so many things which will help in the future, whether it is to do with musician skills, the socials aspect or independent qualities. The idea of YYC finishing as it has no funding is a thought I cannot bare. It brings a sick feeling to my stomach for YYC is so special. To be taken away from over 60 people should not be allowed. Music needs to be encouraged, preserved and helped in society. I love YYC, and it will stay with me forever.

Rebecca Carr 17

YYC is a place where you can forget about what is going on in your life that might be worrying you and focus all your attention into doing something that you enjoy with people you love. It is like and escape from the real world. It gives you amazing opportunities to further your technical abilities in choral singing, with aural training and workshops providing noticeable difference in the quality of sound of the choir. It isn't just the educational aspect and opportunity to experience music from several different time periods that make YYC, but also the people, who are supportive and caring towards one another, each striving to ensure that everyone feels at home.

Will Frost 16

There are only a few words that need to be said, without YYC, Noel and the work of John, Alison and Liz none of the YYCer's past and present would be who they are today, I know for sure that I wouldn't be as committed as I am today to singing and looking at it in a job aspect if they hadn't first shown me the ropes and unlocked what was first a curiosity and now is part of me and my life and suspect will be for the rest of it.

Emily Berry 15
YYC is one of the events I look forward to most in the year. I've met some of my closest friends there and it has really improved my confidence as well as my musical knowledge. It has helped me learn musical theory and is probably the reason I passed my singing exams as well. It’s really difficult putting all the reasons I love YYC into one paragraph so I just highlighted the main points. I think it should keep going because it’s nice to be able to stay away from home with a group of people who are just like a big family because you all have one thing in common. You actually forget all about ages while you’re there so you make friends with everyone. 

Izzy Conn 14
I have been in YYC for 4 years and haven't missed a single course since I joined. Being in the choir has helped me to grow in all aspects of my life especially musically and socially. I have learnt so much about myself during my time in the choir as well as learning a lot about accepting others for who they are and about the different qualities that different people have. A few years ago I was going through a really difficult time at school and being at the YYC courses was one of the only times in my life, at that point, when I could concentrate on something that I love doing and socialise with people who would care about me no matter what. I have made some of my absolute best friends at YYC and I've never felt more accepted anywhere else. Aside from all this, I have developed so much as a musician in my time at YYC, learning lessons like sight reading and singing a part that isn't the tune. YYC is one of the most important things in my life.

Hettie Bowers 16

I have been a member of the Yorkshire Youth Choir for almost 6 years now and I absolutely love it! It is one of the highlights of the Easter and summer holidays! It doesn't matter where you live or what school you go to, everyone is treated with respect and all that matters is having an amazing time with friends (that you might only see 2 weeks a year) and learning and performing fantastic music. I find performing with a choir is much more enjoyable than performing on your own because you get to share the experience with your friends. The atmosphere before and after the YYC concerts really is special. i have had some fantastic opportunities with the YYC such as going to Mallorca on tour for the 10th anniversary, singing in some amazing locations and having the chance to take part in the 'Music and the Deaf' concert on the 1st September. I have some fantastic memory's from the YYC that I will never forget! 

Sarah Wallace 16
I have been in the choir 3 years but it feels a lot longer than that. I remember on my first course when John first told us to sing to a note, I was astounded at the sound 100 young people could make. I learnt so much on my first course about singing - things like raising the soft palette that I use every time I sing. I love how at every course, I learn something new that helps me to sing a little bit better. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be able to sing under the care of such wonderful conductors as John and Alison, and I truly enjoy singing a variety of different music that I would otherwise not have experienced. As much as I enjoy the concerts, I prefer the rehearsals because everyone is together, learning, having fun and generally having a good time - apart from when JPJ tells a really bad joke! But above all, the thing I really love about YYC is the people I have met. I didn't know a single person on my first course, but I now feel like I have known everyone there forever. It's a cliché but everyone there really is like my super extended family! No one argues, everyone feels included and the general atmosphere is incredible. Every time a YYC course is within sight, I get extremely excited and every time the concert is over I am sad to see my friends go. I don't know what I'd do without YYC - well I can guess: I would be a very inexperienced singer, my Summers and Easters would be significantly less fun and I would have a lot less friends. I hope this is enough to persuade people that YYC deserves to have funding!!

Jake Adams 16

I love YYC not only due to how much it helps with learning music (both through the vastly varying repertoire and the knowledge of the tutors) but also because of how much it has helped me with my confidence. YYC gave me the first place where I felt like nobody would judge me negatively, because everyone see's each other as an individual with their own personalities. But it's also good because we are willing to laugh at each others flaws and personality traits that are quite humorous (for example, I used to have very long hair and as one of the only two guys who had long hair at the time, all the girls had a strange obsession with plaiting my hair and all the guys had a habit of joking about it. However there was nothing wrong with this because it was good-natured). Really YYC is just like a massive family you only see twice a year. And oddly enough, even though we only meet twice a year, I find that I am closer to my friends from YYC than the ones I see everyday. I think the best thing about YYC however is the fact that everyone accepts and respects each other and allowed me to get away from the stress of school work and bullying. And YYC gives you 100 people who can help you with your problems and who will support you from the 10 year olds in the Junior Choir, up to the 21 year olds who have been in the choir for donkey's years. There is honestly no where like YYC.

Anna Marriott 10
I'm a YYC newby, I've just finished my second course and I think that apart from home, YYC is the best place to be. I've met some amazing people, you can be who you are with out being laughed at and I just love it. I want to carry on going for ever.

Past Members

Sam McKay 20

I will always respect the Yorkshire Youth Choir as the most important schooling in life and the arts in my life so far. It didn't just give me some of the country's best to teach me musical and choral skills, but also gave me some of the country's best to teach me about friendship and respect. The experiences it allowed me so young are not some I found I shared with the vast majority of my friends away from the choir. The choir is special in how it benefits the skills of the individual singer, but also gives young people a chance to do things not normally afforded to them, like travel the world, create incredible music, and be respected by peers and adults alike as talented and important. Two years after leaving the choir I am finishing my degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and already have been working professionally in the arts, both opportunities I thank the choir for giving the confidence to achieve. I don't think you could ever meet a bunch of kinder, hard working and giving people as the team at NOEL, and I'm so grateful that they keep doing what they do.

Jessica Staton 19

At the beginning of every course Liz says that the most important thing at YYC is respect and I think that having that focus on respect is part of what makes YYC so special. Everyone is different and you won't necessarily be best friends with everyone there but people are accepted and allowed to be themselves. I've met some of my best friends at YYC and learnt some of my favourite songs (I could start listing some but there are way too many). I love having the opportunity to sing with such an amazing choir in so many venues (I think my personal favourite being the unfinished church on our last night in Mallorca), and the feeling of being in a group of people who all love singing, making an incredible sound is phenomenal. I miss YYC, the courses, the intensity of learning such an amount of music in a week, the social events, making new friends and seeing old ones. However, I've loved going to the last two concerts and getting to appreciate the choir as an audience member , seeing that it is still just as good and the things that I love about it are what other people do too.

Molly Howe 19

YYC has been the best experience of my entire life and as an alumni member, I wish I could be 10 years old and do it all again. The choir encourages young people to engage in music and make it part of their lifestyle. It's also about making life long friends and gaining one of a kind knowledge from the best along the way

Sam Parry 26
I am a self employed musician and music teacher based in Manchester. I regularly gig with many different acts all over the North West, as well as teaching music to children of all ages. I believe that the Yorkshire Youth Choir has helped me in many ways over the years. My ability to read music and sight sing from parts was facilitated in a massive way by singing in the choir. As these skills are seemingly rapidly diminishing within the classroom, I believe now more than ever it is important for young people to know the value of traditional notation and the YYC is a perfect place for this to happen. I would not have become the musician I am today if it were not for the training I received in the choir, of that I am sure. Secondly, the choir gave me my first experience of working with young people as a mentor as I grew older within the choir. This eventually led to my undertaking a PGCE in secondary music and I am now a fully qualified teacher, again due in no small part to the YYC. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, Yorkshire Youth Choir gave me over ten years of performance opportunities, cherished memories and lifelong friends. I firmly believe that being a part of the YYC is a formative experience no young musician should be without, and I hope that they can carry on this work for many years to come.

Catherine Benson 24

As cheesy as it sounds YYC really is one big family. It's a community for people from all different backgrounds who come together with one common joint passion. YYC not only provides its members with high quality vocal and musical tuition, but it teaches so many life skills without even trying to ... Teamwork, social living, time management, organisational skills, leadership and so much more. As a founder member of the YYC I have watched how the choir has grown and evolved over the years and how much pleasure it is given so many young people around Yorkshire. I am eternally grateful to all that YYC gave me, from shaping my musical education to giving me life long friends.

I hope you can see from this post how much your help would be appreciated by everyone involved. I cant thank the choir enough for everything they did for me and I know how thankful everyone would be even with the smallest offer of support.

Even just sharing around this post and sending it to any musically inclined friends you may have would be brilliant. I look forward to hearing from some of you!


To contact myself about helping the choir in anyway please email- olivialaydon93@hotmail.com

To make direct contact please email- 

If you would like to donate to the choir please do so on our Go get Funding page found here.


A few Photos and Videos

Before the 10th Anniversary Concert

The choir in Mallorca

The choir at the final concert in Mallorca

The choir rehearsing for the 10th anniversary concert

An older group photo of the choir
An older photo of the choir all sitting on a climbing frame

A group of the older members who left after the 10th anniversary tour

Some members of the choir between rehearsals!

The Choir performing "We Can Be Kind" whilst signing

The choir at the Summer Concert



  1. Olivia! It's Annabel from many years ago now. Really sad to hear that YYC are having problems. Can we get a group of us together to do a sponsored run or something? Obviously they need a permanent solution but I don't know how big the funding gap is - if 10 of us did a sponsored run, surely we could get £100 for example! Let me know what you think/ if I can be of any help. I'm currently not in the country but will be from October xxx

    1. I meant £100 each in case that wasn't clear haha!


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