1.Registration fees: a non-refundable registration fee of £75 per course is due in November for the following year.
2. Course deposit: a deposit, usually £100, is due approximately 11-12 weeks before the course begins; this deposit is not refundable.
3.Balance payment: the balance payment is then due 5-6 weeks before the course. If, due to some unforeseeable circumstance, the place must be cancelled up to four weeks before the course, 50% of the balance payment will be credited against the next course. If a place is cancelled within four weeks of the beginning of the course, no refund can be made. If a payment to us is refused by the issuing bank, any charges involved will be the responsibility of the person making the payment.
We prefer payments by BACS transfer. We are currently unable to take payment by card.
We require all new starters to attend the Easter course following their audition.
We expect choir members to attend every course, unless there is an unusual event, for example a family wedding. It is not ideal for a choir member to miss part of a course through other commitments, although we do understand that sometimes this is unavoidable. In the circumstances of late arrival at or early departure from a course, we are not able to refund a proportion of the course fees.
It sometimes happens that, due to a choir member becoming ill during a course, or to an unexpected event at home, they need to leave the course early. We are not able to refund fees in these circumstances. Family travel insurance may cover such eventualities. If not, it may well be worth arranging specific insurance.
NCCGB members are not required to reaudition annually. However, if a choir member misses two consecutive courses, they will be asked to attend an audition session before rejoining the choir, so that their vocal progress can be assessed.
We currently have three Junior Choirs, which are all treble choirs: the Yellow Choir is for children age 9 – Year 6, the Blue Choir is for young people in Year 7-10 and the Green Choir is also for young people in Year 8-10.
The Senior Choir is an SATB choir for children in Year 11 and above and boys with changed voices.
After the summer course each year, we contact the parents/carers of Junior Choir members to let them know which choir their child will sing in the following year
Yellow Choir members automatically move into the Blue Choir for the Easter course when they are in Year 7.
Some Blue Choir members will be assessed as ready to move into the Green Choir, because of their vocal and musical progress and general maturity. For Blue Choir members who were not quite ready at the end of the summer but make significant vocal progress before the following Easter course, there is an opportunity to apply for a Green Choir audition before the course begins.
Choir members participate in daily musicianship sessions, and then three or four rehearsal periods each day within their choirs. During the week they will also receive individual singing lessons, and we often have external visitors to courses to run workshops.
There are two recreation periods each day. During afternoon recreation there is a choice of activities; these may include crafts, games, either outdoor or indoor; or quiet time for resting. In the evening everyone joins together for recreation: quiz night, movie night and party night are all favourites. These activities are supervised by members of the pastoral staff.
We have a family system, whereby everyone is assigned to a family on the first evening of the course, with a mix of ages in every family. There is fierce competition between the families for family points, with prizes for the winners at the end of the week.
We run our courses in boarding schools. All day-to-day activities take place on site. Choir members sleep in boarding houses, either in shared rooms or single rooms, depending on what is available from our host school. Pastoral staff stay in the same boarding houses as the children. There are staff members on duty at all times.
Our host schools offer a number of choices at every meal to ensure that everyone can find an option that they like. We encourage choir members to eat well, as singing is a very physical activity and they need to make sure they are properly nourished. Pastoral staff will always be on hand in the dining hall to help choose meals.
If your child has specific dietary requirements, please notify us beforehand so that we can arrange this with the catering team.
When a boy choir member’s voice changes, he moves from the Junior to the Senior Choir. We encourage parents/carers to contact us and let us know of any change between courses. We will then do a vocal assessment to ascertain the best choir for the following course. If the voice is still in transition and not settled enough to be able to sing comfortably in either the Junior or Senior Choir, we may ask that your child misses a course. This is for their long-term vocal health and will not affect their place in NCCGB. Their place will be retained for when their voice has settled down.
In rehearsals the singers work with their choir’s conductor, pianist and assistant conductor. In addition, they have individual lessons with singing teachers during the week, and daily musicianship lessons. All the music staff are experienced performers and teachers, who enjoy working with young musicians and developing their skills.
The pastoral team is made up of musicians, teachers and NCCGB alumni. They work in specific boarding houses and across different choirs. There are pastoral staff on duty at all times, including overnight. We consider that it is particularly beneficial to our young choir members that some of the pastoral team were once in the choir, as they understand exactly what it is like to be away from home and a member of NCCGB. They are therefore more able to help our young people to integrate and feel welcome and supported.
During the courses there are staff meetings, which allow for a regular exchange of information and for any concerns about choir members to be raised and addressed. All our staff have Enhanced DBS clearance. Please see the Safeguarding page for more information.
The pastoral team are responsible for the supervision of choir members when they are not in rehearsals.
We are conscious that it can be disorientating for a child to be in such a big space, especially if they have not stayed away from home before. We do our best to make the experience as easy as possible. When Junior Choir members move around the site, for example going from rehearsal to the dining room, they do so in a large group supervised by members of staff. If a young member of the choir needs to fetch something from their boarding house, they will be accompanied by a member of staff; a responsible older choir member might be allowed to return unsupervised but only if accompanied by a friend. We do not allow any child to move around the site alone.
If you have any futher questions please get in contact.