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There is also a chamber choir, Laudibus, CDs and a series of notable appearances, all of which help to raise the profile of the choir and develop its enviable reputation.

But in an age which frowns on elitism and threatens to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator, an organisation such as the NYC must work hard to satisfy their funders (principally Youth and Music) and any critics. That it does so without compromising on quality and whilst retaining the enthusiasm of the young singers is a tribute to Brewer and his team.

Brewer and NYC are much involved in the Music Manifesto, the new scheme for the provision for singing in schools, making young people aware of the joy of singing at a time when it is not fashionable in schools. The delivery of much of this new musical enthusiasm is via popular culture and world music, something which chimes in with Brewer's interests outside of the NYC.

On the beach
On the beach

This fits in with the NYC's mission to widen their catchment area; inevitably in the current climate it is the Independent Schools, with their culture of singing, who produce a large number of candidates for the NYC. Their response has been to widen the selection process via workshops in areas which are low in musical youth culture. Brewer and his team look for good young voices with good basic listening skills and a personality that can be developed.

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Copyright © 18 March 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK


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