News

FYC have The X Factor

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On 1st December 2018, Farnham Youth Choir took to the stage at one of the biggest live televised events of the year as part of the Live Final of ITV’s ‘The X Factor’ at Wembley Arena.

Forty choir members sang alongside finalist Scarlett Lee as she performed Sir Elton John’s Your Song, also featured in this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert and popularised by Ewan McGregor in the Baz Luhrmann film, Moulin Rouge.

 FYC on stage with Scarlett Lee at Wembley Arena

FYC on stage with Scarlett Lee at Wembley Arena

With only 24 hours’ notice, FYC’s senior choir raced to join forces with Thames TV, recording a full studio version of the performance at Metropolis Studios, Chiswick. The following day, Saturday 1st December, the choir piled on to a coach for Wembley Arena, rehearsing during the day and singing in the live final at 7.30pm.

Performing as part of the first hour-long series finale, FYC shared the billing with the contestants, series judge Robbie Williams, global superstar George Ezra, Emile Sande and former X Factor winner Leona Lewis. Despite the watchful gaze of the series judges and music business supremo Simon Cowell, the choir’s performance lit up the arena.

Choir member Elliott Keys (11) who only joined the choir this year, said, ‘this is such a surreal experience, standing on the X-factor stage was breath-taking.

For nearly 40 years Farnham Youth Choir have performed at the highest levels of choral excellence, singing at both The Vatican and Notre Dame in the past two years. FYC will be entering the Grand Prix of Nations & European Choir Games in Gothenburg in August 2019.

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Sir Jeffrey Tate (1943-2017)

It was especially sad for us to learn this month of the death at the age of 74 of Sir Jeffrey Tate, formerly Farnham Youth Choir’s Honorary President.  A former resident of Farnham and an alumnus of Farnham Grammar School (now Farnham College),  Jeffrey Tate was best known as one of this country’s leading conductors working with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including as Principal Conductor of the Royal Opera House and as Chief Conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, a position he held up until his death.

Before deciding on a career in music, he studied Medicine at Cambridge University and then specialised in ophthalmic surgery at St Thomas’ hospital in London.   A talented pianist, it is probably less well known that he was a leading repetiteur, working with, amongst others, Georg Solti, Colin Davis, Pierre Boulez and Maria Callas.

A man of incredible talent, he had to battle against adversity all of his life having been born with spina bifida.  Although spending most of his musical career living abroad, he never forgot Farnham or his friends at FYC, maintaining correspondence with us right up until his death.  Indeed, a chance encounter with FYC’s Chairman in London earlier this year was an opportunity for him to catch-up on news.

A new look for a new season

As the summer comes to an end, we've had reason to celebrate 32 wonderful years under our founding Musical Director, David Victor-Smith, culminating in a Celebration Concert at The Anvil, Basingstoke in July.

The changes haven't stopped there and the FYC team are looking forward to the new choral season by breathing new life into FYC's identity and website, bringing an exciting energy that really encapsulates the youthfulness, vibrancy and history of the choir.