Highcliffe Youth Choir

It is with regret that the committee and Mary Denniss, founder and life president of Highcliffe Youth Choir, formerly known as Highcliffe Junior Choir

have taken the decision to close the Choir.

In the past 50 years so many young people have been a part of this prestigious children’s choir, with many of the alumni going on to make a successful career in classical music.

The Choir has performed a record number of times at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen for 45 consecutive years. Amongst their achievements and performances, the Choir has performed at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, has sung on the BBC’s Advent Calendar and participated in numerous workshops including one given by the Chorus Master of the Vienna State Opera in Vienna. Mary Dennis has guided the choir to many triumphs over the years, most notably when they carried off the Sainsbury’s Youth Choir of the Year Award in 1996.

There will be many happy memories, not only for the singers, but for all of you who have supported the choir over the years.

For that we would like to thank you.


Highcliffe Youth Choir (HYC). This celebrated choir has been making fine music for close on half a century. Formerly known as the Highcliffe Junior Choir (HJC), it was formed in 1968 and is a small but dynamic children’s choir with a glittering history. The choir’s repertoire is mostly classical and it has long been a beacon of choral excellence in this area, with its trade-mark purity of sound. Attracting commissions from well-established composers and performing with professional musicians and orchestras, the Highcliffe Youth Choir continues to perform to the highest possible standard, whether in prestigious concert halls up and down the country or in more local venues around the New Forest and Christchurch areas.

HYC serves its home community unstintingly throughout each year, with concerts and recitals in churches, schools, hotels, and other public places. The community in turn holds the choir in great affection, along with its founder and Life President, Mary Denniss MBE. Mary has guided the choir to many triumphs over the years, most notably when they carried off the Sainsbury’s Youth Choir of the Year Award in 1996. The choir went on to reach the finals twice in subsequent years. In 1994, the choir was chosen to perform in a televised Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in the Proms’ hundredth season, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The choir has participated in numerous choral workshops including one given by the Chorus Master of the Vienna State Opera, in Vienna.

For a record-breaking 44 consecutive years the choir has reached the final competition week at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and it was placed first in all of its classes at the 2015 Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival. The choir has sung on BBC’s ‘Advent Calendar’ and has performed alongside professional choral ensembles as diverse as the Swingle Singers, the Grand Central Chorus, the City of London Chamber Choir and the King’s Singers. There are a number of commercial recordings featuring the choir including an award-winning disc of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Marin Alsop.

About Us

The core aims of the choir

To make music and music-making as accessible to as many young people as possible, regardless of previous experience.

To encourage self-confidence and personal development through singing and learning together with like-minded peers.

To foster group support and team spirit through performance and competition at a high level.

To promote a sense of belonging and friendship between choir members.

To help develop a sense of achievement and pride, whether winning or losing.

To provide choral training of the highest standard, including solo tuition and small group classes as appropriate.

To enable each choir member to achieve his or her musical potential, dependent upon their enthusiasm and their readiness to develop their own skills.

To ensure that choir members are able to enjoy a range of activities outside their choral duties. These might include residential workshops, master-classes and various leisure activities during the Llangollen week.

To ensure a fair balance between choral training and discipline and the need for young people to let their hair down and have fun.


Choir Committee

Founder and Life President: Mary Denniss

Chair: Sheila Leete

Secretary: Ann Guest

Treasurer: Robin Wilson

Music Librarian: John Warden

Publicity and Promotion: Laura McLean-Wade and Peter Leete

Digital consultant: Kate Dingley