We are delighted to announce that Ben has been awarded a fellowship at the NYCGB. Below is an excerpt Ben wrote for their blog. Congratulations Ben!

"I’m delighted to have been selected for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Fellowship Scheme. It’s an incredible opportunity to work with some of the most exciting and impressive youth choirs in the country. I look forward to developing my skills and knowledge of choral direction by working with highly regarded musical directors at the top of their game. It’s also a fantastic chance to meet and learn from musicians and musical organisations across the country, and the world, and learn from their seemingly endless specialities.

We had our introductory session in mid-February and were immediately engrossed in the wonderful and welcoming NYCGB community. Across these two days on Zoom, we had an introduction to the organisation, learning about its history and how NYCGB has developed, as well as a chat with the conductors of the different ensembles in the NYCGB family. We also met many of our partner organisations, introducing us to their diverse skills and opportunities, and I look forward to working alongside them in the future.

The most interesting part of the two days was our discussion of repertoire. Along with the other Fellows and Young Composers, we delved into an enormously wide range of music, thinking about NYCGB’s “themes” – Cultural Identity, and Environment. I feel incredibly lucky to have been selected for the Fellowship as it places me among seven other emerging young musicians who all have completely different musical experiences, and working with these astonishing people is the aspect of the Fellowship I’m most excited about."

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What fun we had sharpening our brains with Ben Goodall's clever quiz. We all came away with respectable scores and no cheating!

Ben demonstrated some excellent zoom skills and calmed everyone’s nerves!

The quiz was in four rounds with 10 questions in each:

  1. dingbats

  2. musicals

  3. classical music

  4. pasta or composer

Round One

Round one was great fun, waking us up, sharpening our minds, with a little lateral thinking to reach the answer – a total switch off, helping us forget any troubles of the day in a few minutes!

Round Two

In round two Ben subtly recommended lots of good musicals to catch up on in lockdown. There was much hilarity when people forgot to mute giving everyone 100% for at least one question!

Round Three ( double points! )

By round three there was a little wine flowing in certain households, which either helped or hindered, depending on your viewpoint. It’s so annoying when you can’t attach the composer to a familiar piece, and even more annoying if we have recently just sung the piece as a choir! Musically very enjoyable, this round left everyone wanting to listen to the whole of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no2, not simply the 40 second excerpt given and there was a bit of humming along....

Round Four

Round four allowed us all to relax and caused much laughter when we had to decide whether an Italian word was a form of pasta or a composer! I left wanting to try a bowl of delicious Campagnoli listening to a piece of Strigozzi ..... or was it the other way round??

In conclusion

The quiz was pitched at just the right level, not intimidating but an excellent challenge, so no pressure – just gentle good fun and camaraderie, reminding all of us just how much we enjoy our music and meeting up together.

Thankyou to Ben for inspired questions and to all-comers brave enough to play.

Many congratulations to Martyn Wilson, a worthy winner with the impressive score of 47 out of 51!

Judy Graham

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"I was blown away by the generosity of New Choir and the lovely presents they gave me. The gifts mean a great deal to me and I shall treasure them, particularly the platter and the amazing boxes! I shall find a moment to read all the lovely messages and find a special place to keep the farewell/thank you card. I'd better get started on reading the poems soon and the extra donation will enable me to get a really special name-plate for the NZ house which I ought perhaps call 'New House'! I am also very grateful to Alison for being in on the farewell and delivering such a memorable speech.

I do want to thank you all on the committee, especially Wendy D, for working so hard to enable the choir's recent rehearsals. It was so good to have the opportunity to do face-to-face singing for a few weeks and remind ourselves how important and satisfying it can be. And we all learned a lot, I feel!

It's a terrible shame that we weren't able to perform a final concert together but I am utterly convinced that newChoir will move forward and flourish under Ben's direction with the incredible diversity of skills and talent in the choir. NewChoir has grown from a tentative group of enthusiastic singers to a choral group of skilled musicians with the willingness and ability to work together as an ensemble to perform to the highest standards.

I know I have good friends in the choir and I hope they will keep in touch. If ever I can offer help (like hiring out music and lights) then please just ask. I will only be in NZ some of the time, once they actually decide to re-open their borders and let me in again!

God bless you all and ENJOY!"

Janet Lincé, December 2020

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