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BYC is a remarkable organisation that was established in 2009. It is a registered charity run by volunteers that seeks to provide outstanding opportunities for young people who live in Barnsley, and has developed a reputation for excellence.
The choir is ranked 5th in the World Rankings in its category
and has won 8 first prizes in some of the biggest international competitions in the world. Barnsley Youth Choir was presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in January 2018 and the choir’s Artistic Director was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Years Honours list in January 2020 for his services to Music and to young people.
BYC is first and foremost a community choir and is highly inclusive, It now has over 600 members involved in regular rehearsals aged 0-24 years old. The choir consists of 9 separate sections; BYC Little Singers Central - Town Centre (0-4 years), BYC Little Singers West
- Penistone (0-4 years), BYC Junior Choir Central - Town Centre (0-4 years), BYC Junior Choir West - Penistone (0-4 years), BYC Children’s Choir Central - Town Centre (7-12 years), BYC Children’s Choir East - Dearne (7-12 years), BYC Children’s Choir West - Penistone (7-12 years), BYC Intermediate Choir - Town Centre (10-18 years), BYC Senior Choir - Town Centre (14-24 years).
There have been numerous appearances on TV and radio and BYC has released 2 albums to critical acclaim. The choir also raises significant amounts of money for other local charities every year.
BYC is not publicly funded and relies on the support of the local and wider community to operate and maintain viability.
The use of the Kodaly system, through a close association with choirs from the Kodaly School in Kecskemet and Laszlo Duranyik, has been significant in developing young people with little prior experience or formal training.
The choir has had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s finest conductors and choirs in this country and abroad, and has appeared in outstanding international venues. BYC maintains an exciting and wide-ranging repertoire including Popular, Gospel, Spiritual, Folk and more Classical genres, and audiences appreciate the variety of music performed in concerts.
The choir has developed close associations with the Aurin and Miraculum Choirs from Hungary, Tuks Camerata from South Africa and choirs from the Adolf Fredriks School in Sweden.
The choir has toured Latvia twice, Germany, Edinburgh three times (The Edinburgh Fringe), Sweden, Ireland and South Africa, as well as throughout the UK. Aside from visiting and performing with choirs across the world, BYC has hosted The Miraculum Choir (Hungary), The Aurin Choir (Hungary), The Drakensberg Boys Choir (South Africa), The University of Pretoria (TUKS) Camerata (South Africa), Tygerberg Children’s Choir (South Africa), Adolf Fredriks Music School (Sweden) and The Stockholm Cathedral Youth Choir (Sweden) as well as a number of international experts who have worked with BYC.
It has also performed with outstanding choirs from this country including Farnham Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship. It has worked with soloists such as Lesley Garrett OBE, international folk star Kate Rusby and Paul Phoenix (Kings Singers), and has been conducted by and received training from some of the world’s best choral leaders both in the UK and abroad. In January 2022 BYC took part in the semi-finals of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent at the London Palladium and received a ‘yes’ from all 4 judges along with some wonderful feedback.
BYC prides itself on providing exceptional experiences for young people and engenders a sense of aspiration. Being a member helps young people to develop skills and qualities that will support them throughout their lives; the choir seeks to inspire and change lives through music, and current and former members are clear that singing in the choir has had a huge impact on their lives.
The plans for the 2023-24 season are exciting and ambitious, with plans for overseas trips to both South Africa and Denmark, and participation in large festivals in the UK. In additional there will be opportunities to work with world famous choirs and internationally famous choir leaders and conductors from across the world. Progress is moving fast for a permanent home for the choir, the Northern Academy of Vocal Excellence, which will provide a world- class training facility for our singers and will be completed in 2025.

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