What we do

Ulster Youth Choir is now established as one of the leading artistic and educational bodies operating in Northern Ireland. Since humble beginnings in 1999, the breadth of UYC’s work has grown.

Each Year UYC:

Runs a series of school and University workshops with the two-fold purpose of UYC recruiting members and for school and university choirs to have a positive, engaging and rewarding singing session with a professional conductor in a non-competitive setting;

Holds province wide auditions, attracting almost 200 singers each year competing for approximately 100 places;

Runs two summer residential courses wherein all members take part in a rigorous daily routine of physical and vocal warm-ups, sectional and tutti rehearsals, musicianship workshops, individual singing lessons and master classes;

Performs an average of 3 own-promotion concerts throughout Northern Ireland and seeks opportunities to perform outside the province and further afield;

Accepts invitations to perform with other organisations such as the Ulster Orchestra at BBC Proms in the Park (2004/2006), and Ulster Youth Orchestra in Belfast City Council’s Hallowe’en celebrations (2005).  UYC has also performed by invitation on two occasions at the Belfast Festival at Queen’s – in 2006 with the Stephen Petronio Dance Company (New York) in a collaborative work with music by Rufus Wainwright and in 2007 in the opening concert with The Chieftains, The Ulster Orchestra and The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

In 2013 members of UYC recorded along with the Gabrieli Consort and Players. Their recording of the Britten War Requiem won BBC’s choral recording of the year. In 2014 UYC joined the BBC Youth Prom Choir for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Records CDs – currently has produced 2 CDs, the first with the Ulster Orchestra in 2001 with Poulenc Gloria and Haydn Te Deum, and the second recorded a capella and with piano accompaniment over 2 years entitled The singing will never be done.

Provides conducting training to teachers in schools through master-classes with Ulster Youth Choir during the summer course.

Through an Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Grant, UYC has developed its training programme to incorporate a conductor apprenticeship scheme for aspiring young conductors and the Ulster Youth Chamber Choir for up to 25 of UYC’s leading singers.

If you would like further information on any of the above activities, please get in touch with the UYC office.

History

In 1999 the Ulster Youth Choir was established with a view to running an annual summer residential course and concert tour for Northern Ireland’s best young singers. Since its humble beginnings under its founding Artistic Director and Conductor, Christopher Bell, UYC established an annual summer courses and subsequent concerts throughout Northern Ireland and further afield. UYC later added a training choir and chamber choir to the group of ensembles offered to young people in Northern Ireland. Following Christopher Bell Ulster Youth Choir has been under the Artistic Direction of David Lawrence, Greg Beardsell and Dominic Peckham.

To date, UYC has performed within Northern Ireland, Dublin, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris. Members of UYC have also joined the BBC Prom Youth Choir performing in Royal Albert Hall London,  Birmingham Symphony Hall and the Lucern Festival Switzerland.

Repertoire has focussed heavily on contemporary choral music from around the world, with UYC performing music by John Tavener (UK), Paul Crabtree (UK), James MacMillan (Scotland), Jonathan Dove (UK), Ian Wilson (Northern Ireland), Conor O’Reilly (Ireland), Colin Mawby (UK), Bob Chilcott (UK), Paul Patterson (UK), Juri-Ruut Kangur (Estonia), Orlando Gough (UK), John Rutter (UK), Francis Grier UK), Tarik O’Regan (UK), Eric Whitacre (USA), Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (Denmark), Gyorgy Orban (Hungary).

In 2017 UYC launched the Ulster Youth Junior Choir.

If you would like further information on any of the above activities, please get in touch with the UYC office.

Administrative Staff and Board of Directors

Manager: Shane Farren

Membership and Development Officer: Christina Scullion

Board of Directors:

Ethel Ruddock (Chair)

Paul Mulholland

Eithne Benson

Raymond Fullerton

Catherine Dalzell

Heather Graham

Graeme Stewart

Eibhlís Farrell

Music Staff

Alan Leech

Alan Leech is one of Ireland’s leading tenors and choral practitioners. Since graduating from UCC in 1995 he has been in consistent demand both as a performer and choral specialist.

Alan was appointed as tenor in Ireland’s only professional choir, Chamber Choir Ireland,(the National Chamber Choir) in 2002. Since joining the choir Alan has toured extensively both nationally and internationally and worked with some of the world’s leading conductors such as Paul Hillier, Celso Antunes, Stephen Layton and Stephen Cleobury Apart from his performance career Alan has a true passion for education and choral development.

 He is much in demand as a voice teacher, and has been teaching singing at the Leinster School of Music & Drama since 2003 where he also lectures in Aural Skills and Choral Conducting for Griffith College’s H Dip in Music.

 

 

Rebekah Coffey

 

Born in Northern Ireland,  Rebekah Coffey is a graduate of Queens University Belfast and the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester. She has been performing in operas, oratorios and concerts across the UK and Ireland since 2002 including Opera North and NI Opera and regularly performs with the Ulster Orchestra. Rebekah is voice coach for UYC and adjudicator for the School Choir of the Year on BBC Radio Ulster.

 

 

 

Eunan McDonald

Eunan McDonald started singing as a child with The Palestrina Choir in Dublin and has been immersed in choral music both in Ireland and abroad ever since. He performs regularly with The Keynotes, Resurgam and has been a member of The National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Lord of the Dance, Riverdance, The Sunbeams Barbershop Quartet, Christchurch Cathedral Choir and The Choir of St. Teresa’s, Clarendon St. to name but a few.

Eunan is also  the director of the Irish Youth Training Choir as well as conductor of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain North.

 

Adam Treadaway

A graduate of the University of York, where Adam received both a BA Hons in Music and an MA(Dist) in Conducting, Adam is in demand as a conducting around the UK.Recent ensemble roles have included, Musical Director of Cotswold Youth Choirs, Musical Director of Take Twenty, a camden-based Jazz group and a Vocal Animateur for The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Adam has recently been appointed the Musical Director of Beckenham Chorale and is an Assistant Conductor with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. He is currently a resident tutor at Downe House School, overseeing a number of vocal and instrumental groups as well as delivering individual voice and percussion lessons. 

 

 

Lynsey Callaghan

Following an undergraduate degree in music education (Trinity College, Dublin and DIT Conservatory of Music) and a masters degree in choral conducting (Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College, Dublin), Lynsey Callaghan is currently undertaking a PhD in musicology in Trinity College, Dublin.  

Lynsey is the Musical Director of the Belfast Philharmonic Youth and Chamber Choirs, Dublin Youth Choir as well as the musical director of Tallaght Choral Society and conductor of Fingal Youth Orchestra and Trinity Orchestra.

Greg Hallam

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music, Greg balances his life conducting, singing and adjudicating. He works with a host of choirs on a weekly basis and runs workshops and residential courses throughout the UK. Assistant Music Director of National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, he is also Musical Director of Swansea Bach Choir, Bracknell Choral Society and London Youth Boys’ and Training Choirs; teaches at Wellington College and Christchurch Cathedral School; and is Artistic Director of the Penkhull Festival of Music and Art.