First stop on a marathon Edinburgh Festival Weekend was a duet of concerts by the National Youth Choir of Scotland. Each lasted barely an hour but sufficed to showcase the breadth and depth of talent that NYCOS manages to uncover and nurture in Scotland.

For these were no second rate amateur ensemble efforts. These two gigs were evidence of a professional level of competence and flair, delivered with a panache that belies the youth descriptor in their title. 

Both concerts were held in a packed out St Giles Cathedral with many patrons being turned away from a full house for both events. 

First up was The Armed Man, a mass of remembrance and hope written By Karl Jenkins. A taxing piece about the death of peace, this was handled throughout in an assured performance by some of the younger members of the NYCOS Pyramid of Potential. Diligent, effective and confident were the watchwords here. – Evidenced also by the rapturous applause their efforts generated in the hall. 

Accompanied by the mighty St Giles organ and ‘tactical’ instrumental support, the choir gave a most impressive account of themselves.

Even more impressive was the choir that delivered Mozart’s Requiem to a candle-lit audience later the same evening. Such assured, professional and powerful sound was simply unexpected – a virtuous credit to the NYCOS administration and the youthful talent of Scotland.

Bar some occasional delays from the organ (not the choir), this was both an engaging and enthralling set piece by this talented group of musicians. And both ‘gigs’ helped get the Edinburgh International Festival off to a flying start.