10 Years of LYC #2: Orla Rodgers

In the second of our 10th anniversary season blogs, current member Orla Rodgers tells us about her LYC journey so far.

Published November 2022

Hi, I’m Orla and I’m a soprano with LYC Chamber Choir and this is my fifth year in London Youth Choirs! During my time with LYC I have had some incredible opportunities and have made lifelong memories with my closest friends, and I would love to share some of them with you.

2018 – How it all began

The first concert that I did with LYC was ‘My Christmas Orchestral Adventure’ at the Royal Albert Hall back in Christmas 2018. The aim of the concert was to introduce classical music to young children, and it featured all the Christmas classics with lots of dancing and fun! Who knew that ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ with added samba band would fit so well into the Christmas story! Later that same season we performed with Pete Churchill at Milton Court, and I loved that concert because of how groovy Pete’s jazz Christmas arrangements were and singing with the combined forces of the rest of the LYC choirs was really exciting.

Click/tap on the image below to view Orla’s 2018 LYC mini-gallery:

2019 – One Stressful Stress Ball

2019 began with a performance at the London A Cappella Festival and this performance is particularly memorable for me as I had a wardrobe catastrophe before sound check… It was getting very busy in the venue and my anxiety was building so I began squeezing my filled stress ball. I was in my black concert jumpsuit and squeezed the ball so hard that it burst all over my jumpsuit! I will never forget the terrified look I gave the choir manager, and my new choir friends racing to wipe the burst ball off me as I was too in shock to move! Luckily it was all resolved and we then performed Eric Whitacre’s ‘Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine’  to a full audience at Kings Place. From this experience I learned that stress balls and concert wear are not a combination that I’ll be repeating again…

In summer 2019 London Youth Choir went on tour to Birmingham to perform at the Association of British Choral Directors’ Convention (picture below) and this involved a LOT of coach singing and road trip card games! We began our performance by marching on stage singing ‘Hanacpachap cussicuinin’, however my highlight of that trip though will have to be going on a successful ‘Gareth Malone hunt’ during the break and having a chat with the legend that is Gareth aka Mr Choir (aka LYC’s Honorary Patron).

2020 – We Press Pause

Fast forward to March 2020 and Covid struck so LYC suddenly had to pause. Within a week ‘LYC Live’ was born and we were all able to communicate virtually which became a huge comfort to me and the rest of the choir and allowed us to still keep in touch with each other and take part in exciting workshops whilst we were stuck at home. During this time zoom pastoral chats checking in with familiar staff members became a hugely important part of my week and having that continuity of a safe place to talk really helped me through a difficult time. Eventually and just before Lockdown 2, LYC Chamber Choir were able to come together (picture below) and record whilst following strict Covid measures, and the sound of the first notes we sang together after so long apart is a sound I will never forget.


One thing you may not know about me is that I love recruiting for LYC and have persuaded many of my friends to become members! This meant that during Lockdown 2 when the time came for the office to post T-Shirts to new recruits for our Christmas recordings there was a large number local to me and there was only one solution for that… for me to hand deliver them! I set out on my bike cycling all round SW London and delivered T-Shirts (picture below) to the new recruits whilst the office team covered the rest of London.

2021 – NEW HIGHS

Since returning to in person rehearsals in Autumn 2021 my favourite memory with LYC has to be recording ‘Let it snow’ at the Voces8 centre for the Live from London Festival (video below). Voces8 are a huge inspiration to me and I have listened to their recordings on repeat for years so recording in the same place where they make their videos felt really special – like we were Voces8 for an evening!


Congratulations LYC on 10 phenomenal years of changing the lives of young Londoners through music and for creating a place where everyone feels accepted and understood and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 hold!  

Orla Rodgers

  • Member, LYC Chamber Choir
  • Years with LYC: Four
  • Favourite London park: Richmond Park with my cocker spaniel Yoyo (short for Johann Sebastian BaRK). I love walking through the leaves and watching him taste every puddle and chase squirrels! 

Orla’s playlist

Five songs I’m loving right now:


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