The Cambrian Youth Choir was formed in 1969. It was established out of a percieved need to provide a greater musical challenge for the older members of the Junior Cambrian Choir and to provide an opportunity for young singers attending secondary school to continue their choral music experience prior to qualifying for membership of the Senior Choir.
Blodwyn Whitehead (OAM, ATCL) was appointed conductor of the Youth Choir and their first accompanist was Therese O’Brien, a school music specialist.
The first performance by the Youth Choir was at the Queensland Eisteddfod held in Ipswich during Easter 1970. On that occasion, adjudicator Patrick Thomas commented that ‘the performance standard of the set works was of world class’. Since then, the choir has never missed competing at the Queensland Eisteddfod and, on most occasions, has been awarded Champion Youth Choir in the junior choral, intermediate choral, modern chorus and theatre competition sections.
With an established reputation for choral excellence, the choir was invited by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to record a series of half-hour programs, broadcast nationally, on choral music. As guest artists for the ABC, the choir performed the Australian composition “A Dozen of Dennis” with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Werner Andreas Albert.
The choir has represented Australia in a world-wide radio competition for young people’s choirs; performed at the first Australian National Choral Festival in Hobart; and competed in the Australian National Eisteddfod in Canberra.
In 1996, after 27 years with the choir, Blodwyn Whitehead resigned her position as conductor to travel overseas. Her place in the Youth Choir was taken over by Berniece Hicks, with accompanist Bronwyn French. Bernice continued in the position until the end of 2012.