Joke 1

"Doc, I can't stop singing the green green grass of home."
"That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome."
"Is it common?"
"It's not unusual."
Read more

Joke 2

So I went to the dentist.
He said "Say Aaah."
I said "Why?"
He said "My dog's died."
Read more

Joke 3

So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?"
I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it."
Read more

British Youth Choir and Chamber Orchestra

I thought that I would start this off as there has been a certain amount of interest and it would be interesting to know if there are any other BYCCO'ers out there!.

BYCCO @ St Davids Cathedral

Are you on this image?

BYCCO

or this one?

Just found this in the archives.

Letter from Prince Charles

Comments

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/09/2008 - 20:56

BYCCO! My formative years as a choral singer and the BEST ever courses too. We sang for hours and did some fantastic works. Zadok the Priest was our "signature tune" and preceded every single concert we did. When the strings in the orchestra began their arpeggios at the start - it set your spine tingling knowing what was to follow. The opening music & words of that piece are so powerful. David always used to read the first chorus back to us to makes us give it the gravitas it needed, "Zadok the Priest - and Nathan the Prophet, Anointed Solomon KING!" we delivered. If anyone could make us put in all the light and shade it required, David was that man. We did Charpentier's "Te Deum" one year and that was some epic piece. The soloists were always such nice people and seemed to feel it was an honour to sing with us. They stayed on the courses with us and were part of us for that week. I remember one tenor soloist who was a very sociable guy - he had a Ford Anglia, dark blue (how sad is THIS!! remembering such details) and it had a strange tall hump in the boot. Apparently he'd bought it from a Govt. Surplus auction and the car was used by the then equivalent of DEFRA.. The boot lid had been modified to allow the boot to take a giant "thermos" flask which was used to transport bull semen from farm to farm for servicing the cows. Perhaps it was easier than modifying it to take the bull...

We rehearsed at Stoke Rochford Hall in Lincolnshire on a couple of courses, at Lampeter (I had my first legal drink in Wales near Pontrrhyfendigaid where we were performing in the Eistdfodd Hall - like a huge cattle shed) and we performed in St. David''s Cathedral (was that 39 steps or 81?). Course at Hamilton, where we had to walk the racecourse to get from the halls to breakfast and rehearsals and the wonderful long-weekend courses in winter in Beverley where we stayed in a Convent and sang a Nine Lessons & Carols in a freezing York Minster. One had to work hard on those short winter courses to get your girl as there were fewer days in which to woo a lass (not that it was any major part in the courses of course - perish the thought!)

I could go on for days about BYCCO - I loved the time spent in that choir and with David, James Kirkwood, Richard Eaton and the other tutors - Sascha Shablovs, Heather Morris, Bill Overton, David Greenlees, Don Bunce er... sure there were many others at times too. I got very lucky after singing in a few summer courses and became principal horn in the CO part of the ensemble, the chamber Orchestra. My sister Hazel was Oboist in it too. we also had the advantage and fun that living in Sheffield meant we had David and James took the Youth Chorale rehearsals on a Thursday night.

Then there was the gorgeous Irish contingent who travelled over under the stern and ever-watchful gaze of Sister Mary Murphy Paddy Connor O'Toole. SUCH lovely people.Hope this inspires some other past Members to write their memories.Very happy times, much enjoyed.P

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/09/2008 - 01:01

I have just found your page by chance as I was wondering if there was anything on the web about the BYC & CO. I was an inaugural member of the BYC and have the first programme. I was a member of the Abraham Darby School Choir and the entire choir was invited by your Dad who adjudicated us at a competition somewhere in Wales that is now lost to my memory. I remember David Clover as a larger than life character who was also kind and full of music. I had some great growing experience s because of the BYC and will never, never forget the weeks courses and following performances. How lovely that you have created this site.Jen,

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/06/2009 - 13:03

Richard,

I too was an inaugural member of the BYCCO and the summer events in the 70s will live long in my memory.

To qualify Jen's story a little, we were discovered by David Clover at the Newport Music Festival in Shropshire. Having won the competition David asked us to sing Cwm Rhondda from where we were located around the hall. He said that that the fact we could do so, and do it so well was an indication of a very good choir indeed.

So the Abraham Darby School Choir became the nucleus of the BYCCO.

It is great to see that others remember what we achieved and our efforts are not lost in the mists of time.

Kind regards

Brad

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/07/2011 - 18:09

What wonderful memories. How fantastic to see some familiar names on here. Yes, I too was a 'founder' member (being in the Abraham Darby School Choir.

Sadly, my memories of all the finer details aren't as good as some but I remember Kesteven College with affection...........particularly the students union bar which I seem to recall was in a cellar in the old building???????

We were damn good weren't we?

Regards

Karl M Taylor

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/06/2009 - 11:43

For a while I have been trying to source information on the British Youth Choir if only to convince myself that the memories of over 30 years ago are not a figment. I am pleased that you have begun this blog and that the existance of the choir is confirmed and the legacy created by David Clover is documented.

I think it is important that we do document the birth and development of the BYC, particularly as the history of the National Youth Choirs has us as but a minor foot note described in one source as "ailing". The fact is that had David not established the choir and our incredibly successful inaugural concert had not taken place in Sheffield Catherdral, it could be argued that the NYO may not have been. As it is, I think we deserve our own place in history, and the NYC should accord due respect and recognition to its parent.

The first time we got together, I recall we went to Kesteven College for the week of rehearsals. The conductors were to be David (Haydn's Nelson Mass), Donald Maxwell-Timmins (Vivaldi's Gloria) and Colin Jones - The Abraham Darby Choir's Music Guru - Colin Jones (Jubilate Deo).

In a pre-lunch session early in the week, DM-T stood up to take us though our paces in the Gloria. His first act was to remove turn back his shirt sleeves and remove his braces, which he flung over a nearby rafter for the remainder of the practice. Mid rehearsal he came us with a classic line in his yorkshire accent "Right now you lot - that were forte - now lets have fortissimo!"

The second year may also have been at Kesteven College and the programme was certainly Haydn's Maria Theresa Mass and probably Handel's Coronation Anthlems. Like you Richard I remember well Zadok, particularly in the Albert Hall in Nottingham. The organist was playing along with the rising arpeggios, and when the first chord for "Za" arrived, they hit the bass octaves going all the way down to Hell - it was such a fantastic moment, and I believe the concert could have ended there and the audience be sent home absolutely delighted.

I recall that whilst we were at Kesteven we were joined during one of the rehearsal sessions by Holst's widow Marianne Heiburg for a listen. I think she was quite impressed.

The third year saw us at Peterborough Cathedral and the programme was Haydn's Paukenmesse and Charpentier's Te Deum. I believe the Bass was Kevin Austin ex of our Choir, the Soprano Robyn Underwood-Whitney also ex of our choir and the tenor, your brother Brendan I think. The recording of the Haydn mass was marred by an oveblown contralto soloist whose vocal style was exacerbated the long decay of the catherdral. Another artifact in the recording is a pair of loud bangs in the quiet part of the Sanctus. For the concert we were stood on chairs for better projection and the noise is Judith Hallet (Abraham Darby Choir) falling off her chair.

Lampeter University was our home for the concerts at the Langollen Eisteddfod and St Davids. I believe we may have performed the Messiah.

A career choice to join the RN meant that I missed the following year and my final outing with the BYCCO, was to the De LaSalle college in Manchester, but here my memory fades, however I have the feeling that it may have been Messiah again.

Should you wish, I am happy to write down more my memories of the BYCCO as they occur to add to the history you have already begun to record.

Brad

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/07/2011 - 20:13

The second year was,indeed,held at the Kesteven teacher training college, in(or near?)Grantham. However,as I recall ,the first year was held at The Hayes Conference Centre,Swanwick in Derbyshire. I have many happy memories of this place,with its beautiful fitted carpets and heated towel rails in the bedrooms.The bathrooms were a joy to visit. This was my first real time of staying away from home-apart from with relatives-and as such made very strong memories. In stark contrast to this were the washrooms at Kesteven with long rows of washbasins and toilets,and an awkward distance from the bedrooms. As I got engaged after the second course and married after Christmas the same year, the only other year I attended was 1977.For this reason I know that the incident with the clattering chair was either the first year (1972) or the second, as I have listened to it several times on the record of the concert, as well as recalling the incident, personally.
Also I am pretty certain that we did not sing the Messiah in 1977 as I do not recall having sung the entire Messiah. I think that it was Mozart's Requiem on that occasion.
I have since sung the Mozart requiem with another choir at Birmingham Cathedral and,although it was a decent sized choir and a great experience, my mind always goes back to the amazing sound which I remember as surrounding me when singing with the youth choir.
David was a lot of fun and I looked forward to rehearsals, and even more to the performances. The one at St. David's is particularly memorable as I had washed my then long hair and having washed it in cold water in the halls of residence, I was unable to dry it properly and so it was still wet when we were in the cathedral that night.
Another memory of the halls of residence that I recall, incidentally, is that ,while they had put in the emergency doors for the fire escape, there were not actually any stairs on the other side of the door!
I, also, have many strong memories of BYCCO which I would love to share,and may write my own blog of sorts if and when our website ever gets off the ground. I will be meeting up with some former members of the choir this weekend and would be delighted if there are others there at the reuinion at the Abraham Darby as I mentioned in my previous post.
Thank you to David's family for sharing with us their own beautiful memories of their father, and their own careers to date.As a Christian I was pleased to hear of his strong faith also. We had a similar incident in my faily where we almost lost my brother,but I am convinced that he preyers offered up by the local church made the difference to his recovery.
This has been a most enjoyable and rewarding visit and I hope that the website will continue and grow.
Best regards,
Linda

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/09/2009 - 14:23

How lovely to find this site. Like Jan I was a member of the Abraham Darby School Choir: the competition was the Newport Music Festival (actually in Shropshire) in 1970. I remember that our headmaster, Clifford Stanley, made sure that we all had a copy of David's adjudication notes for the final competition, in which we sang Handel's 'Have You But Seen My Lady' and Hayden's 'The Heavens Are Telling' - I still have my copy of the comments: 'The finest choir I have ever heard - OLD FATHER HAYDEN MUST BE REJOICING IN HEAVEN!'.

The summer schools for BYC were great fun! I still have my copies of our recordings and a vocal score of Vivaldi's 'Gloria' signed by David, Jim (whose surname I can't recall) and Colin Jones.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/07/2009 - 20:53

I had to have only a recommendation for the BYC. A few of the older pupils at my school were in the choir and I was accepted. For the "New" BYC I had to audition. After the first course we had to reaudition. I was retained, my brother wasn't. I had some wonderful times with the BYC, and, later, the NYCGB. For me nothing will ever engender the same pride as singing Zadok on the Edinburgh and Hull courses. Similarly, though, nothing will ever create so much emotion in me as singing, in Huddersfield on the reunion after the California trip - my last time with the NYCGB - "Hear My Prayer, O Lord."

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 21:11

I was told about this site by a friend, and could not resist leaving a comment.
I too was a member of the BYC&CO and also The Abraham Darby School Choir, and have fond memories of the first concert in Sheffield. Haydn Nelson Mass, Vivaldi Gloria in D as I remember. So well were the pieces rehearsed, I can probably recall every note and word today, even though they were in Latin.

As well as the music, I have fond memories of large quantities of alcohol being consumed, and forging great frendships. I am pleased to say my own children continued in the great tradition of music, during their years at Abraham Darby.

It is a shame that my copies of the records we made did not survive the years.

Julie.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/01/2010 - 18:29

Hi Julie
I was one of the two recording engineers at Sheffield cathedral (from Indigo Studios) and I may have disc one [IRD 5412] (and possibly disc two) in my archives. It was a wonderful performance by choir and orchestra and recording in the cathedral was a memorable occasion - once we identified the best place for the microphones.

At first we thought it would be enough to put them on a stand at the front but it soon became clear that it was necessary to suspend them about thirty feet up in the air. I well remember climbing the flimsy ladder, as you were rehearsing, in order to tie a cable between pillars either side of the aisle. As I reached the top, the ladder started bouncing back and forth and I thought for a moment that the performers would be scattering as ladder, microphones (and me) fell to the ground.

Fortunately we are both hear to tell the tale.

Do post on this site if you would like a copy and I'll work out a way of getting it to you - please don't post your address or phone number. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, the discs cannot be released again.
RMA

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/08/2011 - 16:56

Hi I can't believe someone else has the recordings. I remember them well.
I would love a copy, if it can be burned to cd that would be great. You could always e-mail me julie.marshall@yahoo.co.uk, I would be really grateful.

I would love to hear more of the sound production side of things. I did a bit of sound production myself many years later for the Abraham Darby School Choir when my children were members.

Julie

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 21/06/2009 - 10:20

Just roaming about the web and found this.
I have very fond memories of BYCCO
I am on the St David's photo
Roy Griffiths

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/07/2011 - 18:07

Hi there. I can not see for certain,but must have been on the first photograph as I was definitely at the St David's concert.I was a founder member of the choir as a member of the Abraham Darby choir.I have been searching the internet on and off for years for anything about the youth choir, and have just found this as a result of talking to my brother about the reunion at the Abraham darby the day after tomorrow! I put in a search for Colin Jones, but have previously searched for David Clover and Donald Maxwell-Timmins but with limited success re. BYCCO.
I would love to have a copy of those photos if it is at all possible. Anyone that knows me now, would be surprised to hear that I did not have acamera in those days.
I have the records that we made at Lincoln and Sheffield along with a tape of the concert at St. David's which aired on a welsh radio channel as it was the Queen's jubilee year. I also have a recording somewhere of the 9 lessons and carols at Melton Mowbray, I believe it was. I was going to get married on that Saturday but postponed it for the service!
I am very happy to have found this site. Thank you.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/08/2011 - 18:42

I've come late to blogging, but hope that someone is still watching this page. Watching the National Youth Orchestra from the Proms last night, I was reminded by the members video diary of how we used to be at BYCCO courses. 1 week in the summer and 1 weekend just before Christmas. I joined in the 2nd season, when we went to the Albert Hall in Nottingham and Melton Mowbray Parish Church. Because I came from Halifax I received an urgent call from Donald Maxwell-Timmins to bring my bassoon with me, and ended up playing in the Chamber Orchestra for the first half of the concert, so I got to hear the choir as well as sing in it. DMT sadly passed away last year, but he and David Clover were a double act once seen never forgotten. Also, I'm greatly indebted to the choir from Abram Darby School, as I have never forgotten to this day who invented iron production in Telford because of them. We worked hard and played hard. The sound of the Welsh contingent finishing each night in the bar with 'Land of my Fathers' in Welsh of course would have graced the Arms Park any time. Singing the Messiah in Pontrefendigeidd Eistedfodd Hall brought new meaning to barn-like accoustics, for that is what it was. The amazing sound of Dyleth Hopkins singing 'I know my Redeemer liveth' made you realise that she was singing from the heart. Coming out of Peterborough Cathedral after the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols and realising that it had snowed whilst were inside. Performing in York Minster, especially the Bruckner Ecce Sacerdos Magnus during the procession of the Cathedral Clergy. I read the alto lesson that night, and remember they had to put a box behind the lectern because I was only 5 foot tall and couldn't see over the top. My mother still has all our programmes.
I came across members of the choir in the strangest places, and always shared very happy memories. Most important to me was that we did not have to audition to be in the choir, but the sound was magnificent because we wanted to be there. It has stood me in good stead for much choral singing since, I still cannot hear the Mozart Requiem without Kevin Austin's voice singing the Tuba Mirum coming into my head. Wish more young people could have the experience we did. And yes, I am on both photographs!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 12/11/2011 - 21:45

I am thrilled to find this site & read all the comments. Lovley to see Roy Griffiths name there, like Roy, i have very fond memories of being a member of the Abraham Darby Choir & BYC.
I am in the first picture & have still got all my choir paraphenlia & the LP the Abraham Darby Choir recorded. It still plays!!!
Oh! happy days
Jan Ward

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/12/2012 - 13:12

I am the eldest of Jan's three children, she sadly passed away after fighting cancer for nearly three years. Her name now being Janet Stokes-Lyle.

I was just looking for photos of the Abraham Darby Choir and came across this site and saw my Mum's comment. Very touching. She spoke fondly of her choir days and requested that The Heavens Are telling The Glory of God to be played at her funeral from the LP she was recorded on.

If anyone from days of old would like to get in touch you may find me on a Google search.

Stuart Wooster

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/02/2013 - 14:15

Hi. I'm certainly on the Sheffield photo. I can't see myself on the St David's photo, but I'm almost certain I was there too. However, I do recognise 'Thumper', our very enthusiastic percussionist. Other faces I recognise from the Sheffield photo are Kay Mosley, Steven Ridge and Nancy Ainscough. I wonder what has become of them.

For myself, after A-levels, I went north to study maths and philosophy at Edinburgh University, and became a Gentleman Lay Clerk of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir. Despite a career in engineering and science, I've continued to enjoy music and singing especially at an amateur level. The experience with BYCCO was a highlight in fostering that enthusiasm.

My memories of BYCCO were provoked by the awful news yesterday surrounding Michael Brewer, who I remember conducted the choir for a short time after David Clover's death. I was wanting to find out what happened to BYCCO after I left, and came across this site by accident.

I remember that first rehearsal by Michael Brewer very well, and the impact it had on the choir at the time. How sad has been the turn of events. Nevertheless, my happy memories of BYCCO remain untarnished.

I wonder if anyone else has similar thoughts/memories.

I might still have a copy of the Sheffield photo languishing in a dusty box somewhere. However, if not, I'd love to have copies of the photos on this site if they are available.

Regards

Brian Flemming

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/03/2013 - 22:57

I am on photo at St Davids- just haven't found recognised self yet- so many years ago! But I sang the 2nd sop Part in Charpontiers Te Deum.

Have so many happy memories of those days in BYC. My first was at Kesteven College and we sang in Melton Mowbray and Sheffield. Then I read one of the lessons in Peterborough for festival of 9 lessons & carols. Also sang in Paisley & Edinburgh.

David was inspirational.

Have tried to make contact with Brendan. Would love to get in touch with him.

Jacqui IOM

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/10/2014 - 20:32

I was that 'Thumper' mentioned (timpanist)... but there was another 'Thumper' in that photo of us all, the 'cellist Marilyn Bunney. That course at Lampeter was where we first met - she was leading the 'cello section, and I was on timps. Can you confirm for me that this course was in 1977, and I believe it was Mozart Req, with the Manchester Course being the Messiah? (In the Messiah, as it was the original version, not the Mozart edition, I only played in the Hallelujah and Amen Choruses, so joined the choir in the bass section for the first half of the concert). I'm pretty sure Zadok was played in both concerts.

As well as the summer courses, we also attended the Nine lessons and Carols at York Minister, and it was here that we officially announced our engagement in the end of course sing along of carols.(we had tracksuits with the words 'Thumpers United' on the back). The wedding was in April, 1979.

We have such fond memories of your father. Not just his real, passionate love of music, but the personal way he took interest in us as individuals and as a 'pair' (Sasha too). We sadly lost contact with both of them as the years past, but owe them a great debt, as we have shared 35 years of married life.

Sadly, Marilyn passed away a few days ago, and it was for this reason I renewed my search, trying to find information in terms of dates and details.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on Sat, 13/08/2016 - 18:05

I've come late to blogging, but hope that someone is still watching this page. Watching the National Youth Orchestra from the Proms last night, I was reminded by the members video diary of how we used to be at BYCCO courses. 1 week in the summer and 1 weekend just before Christmas. I joined in the 2nd season, when we went to the Albert Hall in Nottingham and Melton Mowbray Parish Church. Because I came from Halifax I received an urgent call from Donald Maxwell-Timmins to bring my bassoon with me, and ended up playing in the Chamber Orchestra for the first half of the concert, so I got to hear the choir as well as sing in it. DMT sadly passed away last year, but he and David Clover were a double act once seen never forgotten. Also, I'm greatly indebted to the choir from Abram Darby School, as I have never forgotten to this day who invented iron production in Telford because of them. We worked hard and played hard. The sound of the Welsh contingent finishing each night in the bar with 'Land of my Fathers' in Welsh of course would have graced the Arms Park any time. Singing the Messiah in Pontrefendigeidd Eistedfodd Hall brought new meaning to barn-like accoustics, for that is what it was. The amazing sound of Dyleth Hopkins singing 'I know my Redeemer liveth' made you realise that she was singing from the heart. Coming out of Peterborough Cathedral after the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols and realising that it had snowed whilst were inside. Performing in York Minster, especially the Bruckner Ecce Sacerdos Magnus during the procession of the Cathedral Clergy. I read the alto lesson that night, and remember they had to put a box behind the lectern because I was only 5 foot tall and couldn't see over the top. My mother still has all our programmes.
I came across members of the choir in the strangest places, and always shared very happy memories. Most important to me was that we did not have to audition to be in the choir, but the sound was magnificent because we wanted to be there. It has stood me in good stead for much choral singing since, I still cannot hear the Mozart Requiem without Kevin Austin's voice singing the Tuba Mirum coming into my head. Wish more young people could have the experience we did. And yes, I am on both photographs!