RETRO: Girls’ top notch talent

City of Sheffield Girls' Choir
City of Sheffield Girls' Choir
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Sheffield has quite a reputation for turning out tuneful talent but there is much more to our music scene than pop stars.

Plenty of young flair has been nurtured and blossomed under the watchful eye of talented conductors and peripatetic teachers.

Pi ck a style of music from big band to opera, choral to jazz and somewhere in the city you’ll find a group of dedicated souls practising their art and leaving a good impression wherever they go.

There is probably no better example of that than The City of Sheffield Girls Choir.

It has always had an enviable reputation for a sound which is far more professional than you might imagine when you see their youthful faces.

And, of course, the girls have always been immaculately presented as these photos from our archive show - even with the unmistakably big hair styles of the 1980s. Back then you could often catch them performing in Sheffield but their talent also took them much further afield. They were named the first ever Sainsbury’s Youth Choir of the Year when the competition started in 1984 - and many more awards followed. They dominated the national young choir scene and were given a civic reception in 1989, back home at the Town Hall to celebration their success.

The secret to their success is obviously great Sheffield talent but the driving force that pushed them towards achieving the top notes was musical director Vivien Pike.

Vivien has been singing in choirs from the age of seven and was appointed one of the first peripatetic teachers of singing in the country.

As well as leading the amazingly successful Girls’ Choir, she also conducts the city’s Cantores Novae and has taken it to international standard.

Vivien’s choirs have won many prizes over the decades and represented Sheffield at international events in Vienna, Llangollen, Riva del Garda, Gorizia, Sligo, Australia, America and Canada.

We would love to hear from former members of The City of Sheffield Girls Choir - email or write to Nancy Fielder, Retro, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.