Welcome to the Highcliffe Youth Choir (HYC). This celebrated choir has been making fine music for close on half a century. Formerly known as the Highcliffe Junior Choir (HJC), it was formed in 1968 and is a small but dynamic children’s choir with a glittering history. The choir’s repertoire is mostly classical and it has long been a beacon of choral excellence in this area, with its trade-mark purity of sound. Attracting commissions from well-established composers and performing with professional musicians and orchestras, the Highcliffe Youth Choir continues to perform to the highest possible standard, whether in prestigious concert halls up and down the country or in more local venues around the New Forest and Christchurch areas.
HYC serves its home community unstintingly throughout each year, with concerts and recitals in churches, schools, hotels, and other public places. The community in turn holds the choir in great affection, along with its founder and Life President, Mary Denniss MBE. Mary has guided the choir to many triumphs over the years, most notably when they carried off the Sainsbury’s Youth Choir of the Year Award in 1996. The choir went on to reach the finals twice in subsequent years. In 1994, the choir was chosen to perform in a televised Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in the Proms’ hundredth season, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The choir has participated in numerous choral workshops including one given by the Chorus Master of the Vienna State Opera, in Vienna.
For a record-breaking 44 consecutive years the choir has reached the final competition week at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and it was placed first in all of its classes at the 2015 Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival. The choir has sung on BBC’s ‘Advent Calendar’ and has performed alongside professional choral ensembles as diverse as the Swingle Singers, the Grand Central Chorus, the City of London Chamber Choir and the King’s Singers. There are a number of commercial recordings featuring the choir including an award-winning disc of Carl Orf’s Carmina Burana with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Marin Alsop.
For any young person who enjoys music and who is excited at the prospect of singing in a well-established and distinguished youth choir, then this is definitely the right place to start looking. The HYC ethos has always been about diversity and inclusion; bringing music alive and making it accessible to as many young people as possible. No previous musical experience is necessary, just a willingness to develop and learn through the exceptional choral training on offer. The reward package sells itself; the thrill of public performance, the buzz of competition and the glow of being surrounded by true friends forged through team spirit and mutual respect.
Joining this choir could be a life-changing experience. Over the years, many of the choir’s former members have gone on to become professional musicians, some enjoying successful international careers. There is every reason to celebrate a choir that continues to delight audiences far and wide with its beautiful sound and which continues to give to its young members a real sense of pride and achievement. The Choir exists to give young people aged between 6 and 18 the opportunity to sing together, to give pleasure to others and to help further this country’s great choral tradition.
But, being in the choir is not just about hard work. There’s lots of fun to be had and a range of activities to enjoy, alongside the more serious business of preparing for concerts. The choir always welcomes new members, could one be you? Further information on how to join HYC can be found under the ‘Recruitment’ header.