Spelthorne Young Voices (SYV) is a UK youth choir based in Staines, Surrey. It is open to all children between the ages of five and 18, although these limits are not strictly enforced. Since 2006, Spelthorne Young Voices has consisted of a main choir, for members aged ten years and over, plus a training choir for those members under the age of ten.
SYV was founded in February 2003 by Emma Turnbull and Joanne Locking1, who were concerned by the scarcity of music-making opportunities for young people in the area. From an initial membership of around 20, the choir has grown to more than 40 singers in April 2006, and now sings some pieces in three-part harmony. While not a girls' choir, the membership has always been dominated by girls - at the time of writing there are three boys in the choir. Emma Turnbull resigned from the position of Musical Director2 in 2004, moving back to her home town of Southend. Since 2004, SYV have been privileged to be accompanied by Ben Woodley, a gifted pianist.
SYV perform two concerts a year at St Peter's Church, Staines. They sing a variety of pieces, some in two-part and some in three-part harmony, mostly of a secular nature. The concert uniform consists of a blue polo shirt and green sweatshirt (owned by the choir), black trousers, black shoes and black socks. The girls wear their hair in French plaits.
The choir also sing elsewhere, usually by request, including at the Civic Services of the two most recent Mayors of Spelthorne. The previous mayor, Gerry Ceaser, has supported SYV since its creation, and is now a Patron3. The current mayor, Patricia Weston, has continued to support the choir and attends every concert.
The People's Proms
In addition to the choir's own summer and winter concerts, they appear at the annual People's Proms in Staines, performing pieces requested in advance by the audience.
America and Europe
Members of SYV have performed in the USA and in Europe. In the summer of 2004, six girls joined the Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs in a tour of the USA, taking in New York, Chicago, Cleveland and Boston. They performed 12 concerts over two weeks including a recital at St Paul's Chapel, a church opposite the former site of the World Trade Center. The girls were accompanied by Emma Turnbull.
In the summer of 2005, the Southend Girls' Choir again invited six members to join them in their trip to Europe. They sang in Florence, Milan and Disneyland Paris. This time they were joined by Joanne.
Funding and Support
SVY is funded on a voluntary basis. New members are charged a one-off fee of 15 pounds, and thereafter membership is free. The choir received a grant as one of the Mayor's Charities4 and has a modest income from concerts. The Musical Directors have always provided their services for free, and it is this that enables the choir to exist.
St Peter's church in Staines also give the Young Voices genereous support by allowing the use of their buildings for rehearsals and concerts.