Posted on October 28th 2015 by Laurence Guinness

In today’s BBC Radio 2 programme at lunchtime (28/10/2015), it was reported that studies show that singing is the fastest way for any of us to make friends. Something to do with the breathing in unison perhaps…

During the summer the London Youth Choir (LYC) hosted its annual summer singing course for its five choirs to spend time with other talented singers from around London, learn new songs in different styles, enjoying small group vocal coaching, have fun at special guest workshops and enjoy some social time together.

The course, which was held at the City Hope Church, Bermondsey, was spread over two days and was open to young people between the ages of 8 and 21. A free to attend concert was held on the final day of the course to showcase to family and friends what was learnt over the two days.

As part of LYC’s charitable endeavours, the choir was able to offer the course for free to underprivileged children in Southwark. To raise the money for this, the choir took part in The Childhood Trust’s Summer Give campaign, which over the course of five days raised just under £25,000. In total the campaign raised £500,000 for local children’s charities across the London to help London’s poorest children to have a summer filled with fun, food and adventures.

The children were taught by a number of guest tutors, who covered a large number of different styles, including gospel, classical, spiritual and jazz, as well as hosting a number of activities and musical games.

As a result of the money raised by The Childhood Trust, there were enough children for the final concert to feature two distinct choirs: juniors and seniors. In the space of two days, both groups of young people learnt an enormous amount of repertoire from which Rachel Staunton, Director of the London Youth Choir, was able to create a full 30 minute concert, at which all the singers performed from memory.

Katie Neilson from The Voices Foundation, a national music education charity that works in primary schools throughout England, was one of the main guest tutors. She opened the course with a highly stimulating music education session, which got all the juniors playing singing and rhythm games and gaining important musical skills.

Laurence Guinness

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