The vocal forces of the National Youth Choir, London Youth Choir, and international vocal group The Swingles join together to celebrate their respective anniversaries in an afternoon of song.

The concert includes premieres of three new songs for Britten Pears Arts’ own song initiative, Friday Afternoons – celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2023 – as well as choral music written for and sung by young people.

CN Lester:
Where No One Knows (4’)
Ben Parry:
Sunrise (3’)
Shruthi Rajasekar:
Boys (3’)
Amy Bryce:
In Your Hands (12’)
Morten Lauridsen:
Sure on This Shining Night (5’)
Eric Whitacre:
Fly to Paradise (4’)
Barry Gibb:
Grease is the Word (3’)
Anaïs Mitchell:
Wedding Song (4’)
Frank Loesser:
Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat (4’)
J.S. Bach:
Singet dem Herrn (5’)
Benjamin Britten:
Choral Dances from ‘Gloriana’ (10’)
The Swingles:
Until It's Gone (27’)

Ben Parry principal conductor
Rachel Staunton
artistic director
The Swingles
National Youth Choir of Great Britain

London Youth Choir
Dan Moriyama

About The Swingles
The Swingles are one of the world’s most admired and loved vocal groups. With a natural flair as entertainers, their stylish, classy shows take them to venues and festival stages across the world. They have earned 5 Grammy®️ Awards and are recipients of multiple prestigious international accolades. The Swingles’ musical evolution and creative drive makes them as relevant today as when Ward Swingle started the group nearly six decades ago.

With their trademark vocal dexterity and innate musicality, The Swingles are reimagining jazz, classical, folk and pop from their ever-growing repertoire of arrangements alongside a rich vein of new original material. The Swingles have always made creative use of close-mic amplification, and in the last decade, they have added unique live audio looping techniques to their stage performances – an immersive layering up of vocals to mesmerise the audience.

The Swingles are: Mallika Bhagwat (India/UK), Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson (UK), Imogen Parry (UK), Oliver Griffiths (UK), Jamie Wright (UK), Jon Smith (US) and Tom Hartley (UK).

About London Youth Choirs
At its heart, London Youth Choirs (LYC) is a family of 10 choirs for young people from school year three to age 23. Since our foundation in 2012 our citywide vision has always promised two things: musical excellence and social change. We work constantly to remove barriers to access to ensure that everyone can take part. In addition to rehearsals and performances, LYC runs regular workshops in schools in order to bring singing to as many young people as possible. London Youth Choir is our senior mixed voice choir for young people in school year 11 to age 23. Working across a wide-ranging repertoire encompassing many styles, cultures and languages, London Youth Choir members also receive separate musicianship classes to improve their score-reading, listening and ensemble skills, and enjoy performance opportunities from recording sessions to arena concerts.

About National Youth Choir
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the National Youth Choir (ages 18-25) is home to some of the best young singers in the world, with members from a diverse range of backgrounds coming together to take part in a unique year-round, live and digital, training and performance programme.

The Choir has often been part of major national and international festivals and events such as the World Symposium on Choral Music and the 100th anniversary commemorations of WWI at Amiens in 2018. Other high-profile performances include the BBC Proms and Three Choirs Festival and performances at the UK’s most prominent concert venues which include the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall.

The National Youth Choir also runs an extensive programme of Learning and Engagement activity, working across the country to champion and nurture choral singing for young people, and a programme for Emerging Professional Artists.

About Rachel Staunton
Born in the north of England, Rachel Staunton is a conductor based in London. After her postgraduate studies in Choral Conducting at London’s Royal Academy of Music, Rachel held the post of vocal director for In Harmony Opera North (Classic FM’s Music Education Project of the Year 2014) and spent several years establishing the Opera North Children’s Chorus. For over a decade Rachel worked as Assistant Director and Conductor with The National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Something of a choral entrepreneur, Rachel was instrumental in founding the London Youth Choir (LYC) in 2012. In 2018 Rachel was made Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of her contribution to choral music and work with young people.

About Ben Parry
Ben Parry has a busy career as a conductor, composer, singer, arranger and music producer. He is Principal Conductor of the National Youth Choir and Director of the professional choir London Voices. In the mid-1980s he joined The Swingle Singers with whom he toured globally and performed with some of the world’s greatest musicians including Stephane Grappelli, Pierre Boulez and Dizzy Gillespie. Moving to Edinburgh in 1995, he co-founded the Dunedin Consort. He has since held various prestigious directorial posts at St. Paul’s School, London, Junior Royal Academy of Music, King’s College Cambridge and Aldeburgh Festival. As director of London Voices he has performed in major concert houses around the world as well as conducting many major film soundtracks including Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit and Avengers.

Main photograph of The Swingles by Nedim Nazerali