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Durham County Youth Choir

This page contains information about the Durham County Youth Choir. Our music service backed the creation of the choir in 1964, which aimed to introduce young people to choral singing and develop vocal and choral skills.

All students with an interest and potential to train as a singer are welcome to join. The choir regularly performs in churches and concert halls throughout the North-East, and many former members continue their vocal interest in adult life as choristers, soloists and conductors throughout the country.

Choir achievements so far

Over the years the choir has toured to European, Austria, Denmark, Germany and Italy.


Hilary Ions was appointed director in 2003 and was joined by Ian Gray later that year. Since then, the choir has joined with several different instrumental and vocal ensembles to sing some more challenging music in prestigious places, as well as appearing in their own right and for charities.


Presenting modern music is part of the choir's new profile. At the 40th anniversary celebration in Durham's Gala Theatre the choir gave the North East premiere of Karl Jenkins' 'The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace'.


Performing Will Todd's 'Mass in Blue' in the Sage Gateshead (March) also opened up a whole new dimension of music making for the singers, mixing age old Latin text with the genre of jazz.

The composer worked with the choir and his jazz trio also joined the accompanying big band and soprano Beth Halliday. Later, the mass was sung in a service with the Bishop of Durham presiding.


In March, the choir sang Mozart's 'Vespers' K339 with orchestra in a 'Mostly Mozart' programme for Wolsingham Church and ended the year participating in a St. Nicholas' cancer charity concert in Durham Cathedral.

And in July, succeeded in reaching the Choral Final of the National Festival of Music for Youth for the second time.


In March, the choir gave the premiere of their own special commission from Will Todd for youth choir and jazz trio to great acclaim, together with John Rutter's 'Gloria'.


In July, the choir undertook a concert tour in Catalonia, performing at several towns and at Monserrat Monastery and Barcelona Cathedral.


In September, the choir sang their summer tour programme in a special lunchtime charity concert in Brancepeth Castle's beautiful chapel, and a week later, in Neville Hall Community Centre, Newton Aycliffe.

The Christmas Concert in St. Nicholas' Church featured the choir's hand bell ringing group. As always, the choir captured that special seasonal magic with their wonderful singing. The tenors and basses Carol Singers were hilarious.

The New Year began with rehearsals for the March Regional Festival programme for Music for Youth. Jim Morgan took DCYC to success in the Music for Youth competition. On 4 July 2011, DCYC travelled to Birmingham Town Hall for the National Choral Festival and heard other larger youth choirs sing some fabulous new music, as well as performing their programme.

The Leavers' Summer Concert moved to Witton Gilbert and there were solos from a galaxy of fourteen singers who move on to new adventures in September.

Useful information

We meet on Fridays in Durham Gilesgate Sixth Form Centre, 5.00pm - 7.00pm, during school terms. It is expected that you/your child can read music and has accurate tuning.

If you/your child is in year 9 or above and keen to sing, we hold auditions regularly. If you/your child would like to be involved, please contact us using the details on this page.

Contact us
Durham Music Service
03000 262 368
Our address is:
  • Ushaw College
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH7 9RH
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