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400 choir alumni join forces in virtual video recording

National Youth Choirs of Great Britain alumni from around the world have joined forces to record the American folk song Shenandoah

Over 400 National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (NYCGB) alumni/alumnae from around the world have joined forces to take part in a mass virtual recording of the American folk song Shenandoah. The video, published on 17 June 2020, trails the official audio version due for release on NYCGB’s music label on 7 August.

This recording project started with an idea by former NYCGB member Ben Weaver, who is based in Germany, as a way to connect with other former choir members. The singers recorded their individual parts from their homes, with the performance conducted by alumnus Will Dawes and signed by Paul Whittaker OBE.

The NYCGB Alumni Choir, made up of graduates from across NYCGB’s 37-year history, includes doctors, nurses, teachers, conductors and CEOs as well as professional singers from The Swingles, BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, Gabrieli Consort, Monteverdi Choir, Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera and Royal Opera House Choruses who came together from as far afield as America, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Germany to take part.

The video recording was put together by alumnus Tom King, who was a member from 1994, and toured the world twice with the choir. King said:

‘As a musically minded “techie”, I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to help with Shenandoah – a piece I’ve sung with life-long friends and in amazing places all around the world; it brings back memories every time I hear it! Dealing with 406 videos – well over 100GB of raw footage – in the editing process was tricky and pretty time-consuming, but I think the end result was worth it.’

Charlotte Dougan, of the NYCGB Alumni Champions Committee, said:

‘In these very strange times in which we find ourselves, there are silver linings to be found. We made this recording because we love singing, we love our alumni family and we love this piece of music. It is a true Alumni project from conception through to production.

‘The number of alumni who got in touch to get involved was amazing and there was a real sense of energy and love for this project. In a situation where we have been given time to reflect, it was very emotional to see and feel the love for something that unites us across the years.

‘We are hugely thankful for fellow friends and alumni who went above and beyond to help, who ran sectional rehearsals, conducted us online, the individuals who recorded their parts, the team who spent hours and hours doing the technical side of things and joining the 400 plus voices together. We hope you love it as much as we do!’

The final video recording can be seen below.