No need to be worried about joining YYC - the first course of Rosa

Going away for a week long residential with a group of strangers can be quite a scary thought no matter how much musical experience you have, how old you are or how much we reassure you that despite our quirks we are a friendly and welcoming bunch.

You might be scared about fitting in, finding the music challenging or feeling homesick.

This post is here to let you know that you are not alone in feeling like this and that if you were to join YYC you would not need to worry about any of these things.

For our Easter 2017 course we had 9 new members, the majority of them were in junior choir. Rosa Carr was one of these newbies. She is a 10 year old, year 5 student, from a Leeds primary school and she has shared some of her experiences from her first course to show you that there is nothing to worry about.

Fitting In

I was nervous before I got there but when I arrived I quickly realised there was nothing to worry about”

When you arrive at Queen Ethelburga’s you are shown to our rehearsal block to register and then taken to the accommodation block where you will have the chance to unpack and more importantly meet your roommate/s and neighbours. During this process you will meet both new members who help you relax because you can see you are not alone in your position of uncertainty, and old members who make you excited with their enthusiasm.

“The mentors and the staff were really nice and helpful”

At YYC we use a mentor system to try and overcome any problems in settling into the choir. Every member is randomly sorted into groups which are lead by older, more experienced mentors. These groups are here to guide you through the week with any personal or musical problems you may have. Every mentor looks out for their mentees, especially the ones who are new to the choir, mentors go out of their way to make sure everyone feels completely at home.

“I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in singing and performing”

Everyone who joins the choir immediately has something in common, a love of music, singing or performing. This acts as a perfect foundation for friendships. Though we have quite a variation in this interests in the choir, for example, Disney lovers, musical lovers and hard rock fans, there is no doubt that someone else will share your interests, this helps to make us all feel even more accepted and comfortable.

Finding The Music Challenging

“I didn’t really find the rehearsals too difficult because I had more experienced members around me like Marsha and Hannah who could help me”

New members join us with a variety of musical backgrounds, some have been singing in weekly choirs for years and some have never seen a piece of sheet music in their lives but still have a passion for singing. Our rehearsals are run with the understanding that everyone is not at the same level. We tend to intermingle ability levels so you either sit with someone who will help you or with someone who you will help. This way rehearsals can keep moving at a reasonable pace whilst we learn from each other.

“Alison was a very patient teacher”

The choir also splits into age groups for many songs to form a junior and senior choir. The junior choir is lead by Alison and focuses on mastering the basic techniques in simpler music. Alison is incredibly enthusiastic about her juniors and never fails to make them feel confident in their abilities.

“One Song was my favourite song”

The type of music we sing also varies which helps us to perfect different techniques. Inevitably we find some genre’s more fun than others (musical theatre always goes down well) we are flexible with rehearsals during the week so more time can be devoted to working on pieces that we are struggling with. This way we are never left in a position where we feel completely out of our depth, the music challenges us but it is not overwhelming.

Feeling Homesick

“I had a wonderful time and it was the experience of a lifetime”

YYC, as we frequently say, is an indescribable and unforgettable experience. It gives us memories which will last our whole lives and friendships which shall never fade, this is something which is clear to us from the moment that we first join, no matter how old we are.

“There were lots of activities for when we weren’t singing - my favourite was the scavenger hunt”

You’d think that we would have a problem with homesickness at choir with it being many people’s first time away from home for camp, however, this is not the case. We have so many great activities organised we never have any time to get homesick. We have talent night, improvised pantomimes, table football competitions, discos, sports days, quizzes and scavenger hunts. These events help us to make new friends and they are always really exciting because everyone joins in.

“I did not feel homesick because everyone is so nice and it is easy to feel relaxed when you are somewhere so welcoming”

Going away for a week with a group of strangers may seem scary but hopefully Rosa’s words will encourage you to be bold, set aside your doubts and consider coming for a voice test to join the choir (more details about the next set of voice tests will be out in due course).

If you still have any worries or questions about YYC we’d love to talk to you, please feel free to contact us by message on the facebook page or email us at


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