Young Voices is the largest school choir organiser in the world and currently organises over 14 capacity concerts a year in the UK & Ireland’s leading Arenas. Each year over 2,500 schools, 90,000 children 6,000 teachers and 120,000 family and friends come together to enjoy music and celebrate singing.
Most importantly, Young Voices is a family-run business that focuses on maintaining the personal touch in everything it does. This is the key to our success.
The Founder [Read more...]
David Lewis (Impresario and Founder of Young Voices) was born in Cardiff and began to express an interest in delivering new and exciting concepts for music and singing during the early nineties whilst still working as a solicitor and successfully producing and delivering fundraising events in his role as Welsh Chairman of the Lord’s Taverner’s Charity. With a passion for music and a keen interest in all sports (David played for Glamorgan County Cricket Club and Transvaal, South Africa) it was natural that some of the first ever events took place at Wales’s leading sporting venue, Cardiff Arms Park.
The First World Choir [Read more...]
In 1992 David staged the first World Choir Concert titled “10,000 Voices” by EMI whose album topped the charts. This was the biggest male voice concert ever and headlined some of Wales’s favorite performers including Tom Jones, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dennis O’Neil and choirboy of the year Oliver Sammons. The choirs and stars were accompanied by the Massed Guards Bands and culminated in the 1812 Overture with fireworks and guns. This proved to be a most spectacular and not to mention very popular event televised by S4C and attracting their largest ever audience.
The Second World Choir [Read more...]
In 1993 the second World Choir took place, again at Cardiff Arms Park, but this time with Wales’s much-treasured star and performer, Dame Shirley Bassey. On this occasion even more Male Voice Choirs from around the World joined Dame Shirley, along with the world famous (and royal appointed) harpist Katrin Finch, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Russian base Paata Burchaladze, Oliver Sammons and Wynford Evans. A Spine-tingling rendition of “Hey Jude” brought this concert to a close (although David successfully convinced Dame Shirley to perform her inevitable encore “Big Spender”)
Voices of the World [Read more...]
In the wake of the two world choir events David continued to conceive and produce some of the most amazing music and singing events ever-to-be-seen in the world.
In 1995 at Lansdowne Road Stadium Ireland, 6,500 mixed voice singers from around the globe came together for an event called “Voices of the World”. In attendance was honoured guest, and Irish President, Mary Robinson. This was to be one of the most significant events in Young Voices history.
The Vatican Concert, Rome [Read more...]
spurred on by the success of previous concerts, in 1996 David took an adult choir of over 1500 voices to perform in front of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican City in Rome in the Vatican itself (St Peter’s Square to be precise). During his speech at the end of this concert, the Pope embraced David’s intended message and called for a “Voce De Mondo” for peace in Ireland.
Atlanta, a foray to the USA [Read more...]
Finally the time came to take the massed voice concept to the United States and in classic David Lewis style, one of the biggest indoor arenas in the World: The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. As it turned out this was one step too far for the USA and the massed voice singing experience. Whilst the event and performances were unforgettable (this time the concert saw 1,500 male voices from Wales, 1,500 Gospel singers from Georgia and 1,500 mixed voices from churches all over Atlanta come together with Peabo Bryson and narrator, poet and author Dr. Maya Angelou) the turnout for the event was well below par. America just wasn’t ready for David or choral music on this scale.
A Tribute to Desmond Tutu, South Africa Concert [Read more...]
After the Atlanta experience, David’s great friend Donald Woods (of Cry Freedom fame) provided the support and encouragement David needed to continue his work. It was with the help of Donald’s unconditional friendship that one of the most moving concert events David ever conceived was produced and successfully delivered. This was the unforgettable Tribute to Bishop Desmond Tutu that took place as part of the celebrations for the Living South African Memorial, at the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town South Africa. Performing at this concert were Ronan Tynan, acclaimed Irish Tenor, Welsh National Opera’s top Soprano, Susanne Murphy, and choirs from Ireland and Wales joining a majority of choirs that were African-based. However, the most rewarding element and the best-kept secret of this concert was the appearance of Ben E King, Bishop Tutu’s much-admired performer, who delivered a joyous rendition of Stand by Me and a moving version of Magic Moments. The collective message for unity and peace was the overall message of the concert.
The Birth of Hallelujah Concerts [Read more...]
As mentioned earlier, amidst all of David’s achievements, and quietly unknown to him at the time, his concert in Ireland in 1995 was to be the most inspiring moment of his life and for the lives of so many children and adults to come. For also in attendance at Lansdowne Road were the eyes and ears of children from all over Ireland, most of whom where unable to be a part of this particular massed choir event due to them being under the age of 18.
Undeterred and with youthful curiosity, many children took the time to write letters and make phone calls to ask us why there were no similar events for the young people of Ireland. In response, David agreed to stage a series of children’s concerts. What better place to start this journey than at the Point Theatre, Dublin, home of Riverdance and several Eurovision Song Contests.
The following year, in excess of 9,000 children took part in 3 concerts. In addition to this over 12,000 audience members came to show their support for the choirs and children involved and these amazing events. These events in Ireland were, and still are, called the “Hallelujah Concerts”. In time the demand grew and so did the operation. So much so that David decided to bring these events to the children of the UK, giving it a new name of “Young Voices”.
The Birth of Young Voices [Read more...]
On hearing about the scale of the event and in response to the positive feedback from the schools and teachers of Ireland, thousands of schools within a 50-mile radius of each venue in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Sheffield began queuing up for a place at the concerts.
The enormous response gave Young Voices a clear message: What they were doing was not only of value to the teachers, children and schools but also an extremely valuable and worthy platform for the choirs and children of the UK.
The success of Young Voices grew because of a determination to understand and support the teaching process and provide a unique performance opportunity for young people. This was of course a massive concert in every case.
The Family [Read more...]
Now the first generation of children are taking Young Voices to new heights with exciting developments each year: Ben Lewis (Managing Director), Paul Lewis (Young Voices South Africa) and Ceri Lewis (Fundraising) are supported by a handful of dedicated staff: General Manager of Operations, Anne Harris has been with the company from it’s conception 30 years ago and Helen and Gail have been providing essential hands-on support for teachers and their choirs as the company has grown over the years. All of the staff have played a vital role in the development, growth and future aspirations of Young Voices. Our newest member of staff Dan Timms has now joined the company to provide additional support for Anne, the office and the Young Voices Family in it’s new and exciting ventures, not least of which is the Young Voices Foundation; the Charitable arm of Young Voices.
Our Creative Team [Read more...]
At every stage Young Voices engaged the best. It would not be fair to continue with our story without mentioning two of the most influential and integral members of our team. Our Conductor, David Lawrence and our Musical Director, Craig McLeish. David has been with the company since the start and has been leading our choirs from our first concerts onwards. David’s love of music and conducting makes him the ideal choice for Young Voices and he is a huge hit with the choirs and their teachers – he also has a fabulous jacket…
Our Musical Director, Craig McLeish has also been with us since the beginning of Young Voices and his arrangements and musical leadership has provided a solid foundation on which to build the expertise and talent we see today – his voice can even be heard on the CD we send out with our Music Pack.
Each year our dedicated Band (Simon on Guitar, Ros on Keyboards, Simone on Percussion, Phil on Drums and Carl on Bass) take time out from playing with music icons form across the globe in their professional musical careers to be with us on our concert tour. In addition to all this musical expertise, an amazing array of vocal talent supports our choirs in the form of our Backing Vocalists Subrina, Marvin and Laura-Jane, all of who have supported some of the most influential musical artists of all time on national and international tours.
Excited by the talent and dedication of our musical team, Young Voices quickly developed its belief that the variety of music was an inspiration to teachers and pupils.
In addition to this, Young Voices also always did its utmost to introduce major artists, sometimes before they were famous, insisting that they sing at least one song with the choir. Craig was always on hand to arrange music to make this experience exciting and amazing for the artists and the choirs alike. David’s conducting skills also enhanced this experience for the artists and choirs to enjoy.
Young Voices keeps adding to the talent on the team each year and the most recent addition to the Young Voices Family is Andy Instone, our Creative Director. Andy is the founder of an inspirational and motivational group of Street Dance Specialists called Urban Strides and they are responsible for bringing dance and movement to the Young Voices Concerts. Watch out for Andy and his dancers, as they will more than likely try to get you on your feet at some point during the concerts.
The task of bringing all this talent together (including the task of organising our record-breaking choirs during the show) is no mean feat. Therefore, we recognise just how fortunate we are to have Gigi Morley on our team each year. Gigi has been with us for a majority of our concerts and has extensive experience on TV and radio providing the essential (and sometimes difficult) component for the success and smooth running of the concerts.
By far the most complicated job of all has to be the unseen role of Production Management, a role taken up by John and Jan from Production Light and Sound. Each year they manage to successfully get everyone and everything to the right place at the right time. With so much that could go wrong, very little ever does.
Young Voices is proud to say that our Creative Team has been with us during our initial concerts right through to present day, with very few changes along the way. We really are a family. We believe this is a tribute to the concept and inspirational experience Young Voices offers to those on and off the stage.
You can find out even more about them all and others who belong to the Young Voices Family by following this link to The Young Voices Family
Our Teachers [Read more...]
Our concerts rely so much on the hard work of many, many people but none more important than our Music Teachers. Without them (and those who support them on the day) and their hard work, our choirs would never experience what it is to be involved in our concerts. The Young Voices concerts are what everyone sees and works towards but more importantly they tell a tale that demonstrates a culmination of hours and hours of rehearsals and dedication, from our teachers and their choirs. We are privileged to have a huge number of superb music teachers who help to encourage the love of music in their pupils; these teachers are a vital factor in the success of Young Voices and we appreciate all their efforts, their advice and their loyalty.
Our Fundraising [Read more...]
Young Voices has always done its best to help charitable causes over the years and has been very successful in doing this with the help and kind generosity of all those people who have ever attended our concerts. We have been working very closely with CLIC Sargent (who care for Children with Cancer) for over 10 years now and have raised over £900,000 so far for their cause. Each year we hold a fundraising concert at the Royal Albert Hall, where we provide the Young Voices Experience so that the charity can make as much money as possible from the event.
In addition to this Young Voices also supports the Young Voices Foundation, which encourages children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to enjoy and experience music and singing. We believe everyone should be given the chance to experience music and singing on a Young Voices Scale!
Young Voices today and beyond [Read more...]
It is no surprise then that the first generation family members have been influenced and inspired on such a scale by their father’s work. Young Voices continues to benefit of David’s experience and guidance in everything that is produced.
Therefore, and with a successful history of large-scale events, Young Voices does little differently today. It continue to provide all of the necessary ingredients and at the highest level. They just do more of it now.
So here we are. From the first concerts in Wales and Ireland in the early 90’s, the success of the concerts in South Africa and Rome to the first Young Voices concerts in the UK in 1997, we have now staged over 150 concerts for young people with choirs as small (well in our eyes) as 3,000 in Ireland to on average 5,000 to 8,000 at each venue in the UK. We even hold the Guinness World record for the largest children’s choir (staged in Manchester with 6500 voices and televised by the BBC). Young Voices now successfully sells out each venue every year with our choirs in excess of 8,000 children at most venues.
Originally borne out of the demands of the young people it now serves, Young Voices (UK) Ltd is a successful and financially viable business expanding every year, with a most exciting development plan including the newly created Young Voices Foundation that supports music projects and individuals who need financial assistance to develop their talents.