Audition time

It is that time of year again where you need to ask yourself some questions. Are you from Yorkshire? Do you enjoy singing? Would you consider yourself a youth? If you answered yes to the previous questions then Yorkshire Youth Choir is the place to be!

Your county's choir needs you, but why should you join?

It is strange to really describe being in YYC, it is like the minute you walk through the door your family suddenly extends to include 80 more people. All be it slightly quirky people, but that just makes it more interesting. Entering a group of people who are already so close can seem intimidating, but I assure you, everyone in the choir knows what it is like to be new so they are all more than happy to include you. In an attempt to reduce the scariness here is a run down of what your first day might look like.

It may seem daunting as you arrive at Queen Ethelburgas, the school where we run the courses. You quickly become surrounded by old members having reunions and some particularly gross displays of affection between the senior boys. I assure you this will all die down soon and everyone there is more than happy to help you in any way they can.
You get shown to your room so you get to meet your roommates for the week and have the chance to unpack, this is an ideal friend making opportunity. You will get given a room key which unlocks your door. Handy tip, don't leave your room key in your room, forget about it and close the door, especially if your roommate has just done the same thing and it is within 10 minutes of arriving. However if this does happen our wonderful carers have a master key so will be able to let you back into your room.

We then convene in a building called the Undercroft, this is where we eat all our meals. We have welcome talks, introductions and the all important talk on respect. Respect is something the choir values very much. Whether it is respecting John, Alison and Paul in the rehearsals by limiting the talking or being polite to any other parties on the site we strive to make sure our behaviour complies with the mantra of YYC.
After the welcome talks we are sorted into mentor groups. Your mentor will be a more senior choir member who will act as your first port of call if something is wrong. If you are struggling with your music, have fallen out with someone or are just a bit home sick, your mentor will aways be there to help you. As well as offering help a lot of the mentors offer sweets/cake/stickers! You will meet with your mentor group again at various social activities throughout the week.

We then begin rehearsals with a lengthy warm up before moving onto various sectional rehearsals with the odd break for meals. The last rehearsal of the first day is usually one for full choir. Although there are many heads dipping as members desperately try to stay awake after a particularly long day, as soon as the rehearsal is announced to be over then everyone is up and filled with energy for the ice breaker games that we do on the first night.

We have different social events each night which tend to vary course to course. They are organised by the wonderful mentor team who aways have creative ideas to encourage people to make friends. There are a few fixed social events that we do every course such as the talent night. This involves a selection of acts who have signed up throughout the week. Your act can be anything funny, serious or down right outrageous. It is not a competition. The hosts of the evening will also hand out funny awards between acts. We then move onto the well loved YYC pantomime. This is usually completely improvised, we meet once to hand out parts and discuss costumes and then it is show time. There is a narrator generally directing the action but the spontaneity of the actors usually provides several funny moments.

It can be alarming to new members just how long our days are and although many would describe getting up for breakfast at 8am as the most difficult part of the course (I would tend to agree) it is all worth it and the adrenalin of knowing you can spend all the time you are awake with your best friends definitely keeps you going.

Our rehearsals may be long but they are livened up by the wit and enthusiasm of John and Alison Pryce Jones who work all week sharing their knowledge to get the best sound of the choir that is possible. They are amazing people and I feel the chance alone to hear John's many accent impersonations is reason enough to join.

By joining the choir you are furthering your musical education, we have aural sessions which help improve our sight reading and guest tutors who impart their wisdom to teach us about their specialist subject. You will leave the course with a higher understanding of choral singing in addition to leaving the concert with so many new friends. I am not talking about regular friends who may come and go, a YYC friend is not just for Christmas (or Easter and Summer when we actually hold the courses). The bond you form with members of the choir is indescribable, being thrown so close together for an extended period of time leads to a friendship which is not easily broken. A lot of us have seen each other at our best and our worst, the accepting nature of the choir just leads us to love everyone more for their obscurities.

However due to a lack of funding the choir has been put in serious danger. To ensure the continuation of the group we need donations and more members.
The following link is the YYC website which has the details of auditions and options for donations.

Please share this information with anyone you think may be interested!

To quote Heather Small 'What have you done today to make you feel proud?' - In my opinion the answer should be that you have helped in someway to further the life of this amazing choir. By providing children with this sanctuary and aiding their arts education which will support and enhance their academic learning, you will be giving them the chance to experience one of the best week of their life. That is certainly something to be proud of.


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