National Youth Choir of Scotland: Youngsters sing together for the first time in 14 months as coronavirus restrictions ease across the country

Members of the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCOS) gathered on Calton Hill in Edinburgh at 6am on Monday to be the first to sing in Scotland as coronavirus restrictions ease.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:17 am
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:46 pm

From Monday, the majority of mainland Scotland has moved into Level 2, which has enabled up to 30 people to gather outside and sing.

The gathering on Calton Hill was the first time the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCOS), which celebrates its 25th birthday this year, has sung physically together in 2021.

Singing face to face has been illegal since March last year, which was the last time the choir had sung together until Monday.

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Conductor Christopher Bell joined 29 singers at the famous Edinburgh beauty spot as the sun rose over the city, rehearsing Let All the World in Every Corner Sing, by Vaughan Williams and Why We Sing, by Greg Gilpin.

Mr Bell, founder and artistic director of NYCOS, said: "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.

“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/musical family.”

He added: "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 well-being benefits that singing brings.”

Jamie Lewis, Lucy McVicar and Kristen Forbes sang with the National Youth Choir of Scotland this morning on Calton Hill as restrictions ease across Scotland. (Picture credit: Ian Georgeson)

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The choir was founded in 1996 for singers aged 16-24, and has since expanded to feature a network of 15 regional choirs and seven national ones.

One of the singers that took part in the 6am rehearsal, Mollie Quigley, said they were all excited to be back together singing again after such a long time.

She said: “A lot of us have sung together for ten years and it is good to hear everyone finally back together again.

Members of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, with founder and conductor Christopher Bell, on Calton Hill at 6am on Monday. (Picture credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

"On Zoom it doesn’t feel like you’re singing together, it feels isolated.

"This morning has been wonderful hearing everyone together again.”

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Members of the National Youth Choir of Scotland singing on Calton Hill at 6am on Monday as coronavirus restrictions ease across Scotland. (Picture credit: Ian Georgeson)
National Youth Choir of Scotland with founder and conductor Christopher Bell on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. (Picture credit: Ian Georgeson)