The Nova Scotia Choral Federation is thrilled to announce the return of Nova Scotia Youth Choir (NSYC) in 2024. Singers ages 16-25 will have the opportunity to work with a faculty of fine musicians dedicated to excellence in vocal performance and musicianship. They will provide them a challenging opportunity to work, develop and perform choral music together at a very high calibre.

Choristers work with the faculty during two rehearsal periods in June and August. Final rehearsal sessions will be led by the guest conductor and will culminate in performances at the end of the September 2024 rehearsal weekend.

Guest Conductor: Jamie Hillman

Resident Conductors: Amelia McMahon and Andrew Cranston

Accompanist: Adam Johnson

Check out this amazing video about NSYC!

Nova Scotia Youth Choir Schedule

February 1-April 15, 2024 – Registration for NSYC. Choristers may register on their own (with a choral director or music teacher reference – please provide their contact information and we will contact them with the reference form). Singers may also be recommended by their music teacher or choir director. Send us your singers!

Registration for NSYC 2024 has closed. If you have any questions or would like more information about the program please contact Anne at

As part of the registration process, in lieu of a formal audition, singers will be sent a couple of vocal exercises to sing, record and send back to us for voice placement.

End of April 2024: Singers will be contacted to confirm their placement in NSYC 2024. Music will be provided in advance of the first rehearsal so singers may begin working on repertoire. The fun begins!

Rehearsal Schedule:

First Rehearsal Session: June 7-9, 2024 – Halifax, NS (first rehearsals with resident conductors and accompanist)

Camp Rehearsal Session: August 8-11, 2024 – Berwick Church Campgrounds, Berwick, NS. 2nd rehearsal weekend.

Final Rehearsal Session: September 19-22, 2024 – Final rehearsals with Guest Conductor, Jamie Hillman and concert weekend. Rehearsals will begin the evening of September 19 and the weekend will wrap up with concerts on Sunday.

*****Choristers will work with the resident conductors and guest voice faculty at the first two rehearsal weekends. These will include rehearsals, pull out voice lessons, and workshops with guest vocal artists. The final rehearsal session in September will be led by the guest conductor and will culminate with two performances September 22nd.

**It is expected that all singers prepare their music in advance of the first weekend, and to come to August Camp with all notes/rhythms/text in place, and any memory work or other assignments given by the conductors, completed.

Program Cost: $400 per singer

Each registration includes:  Tuition for 10 full days of choral instruction and organized activities, which includes 50+ hours of rehearsal, clinics and private voice lessons; Music rental; Program T-shirt (Casual Uniform); All site fees, accommodations and meals for 4 days at camp

Financial Assistance:

All applications for the Youth Fund Bursary, Professional Development Assistance or the Louise Simons Scholarship can be sent to

The Youth Fund Bursary is available for singers between the ages of 16-18, and are fully registered participants in the NS Youth Choir. Link to the Youth Fund Bursary Application

Singers over the age of 18 may apply for Professional Development Assistance from Nova Scotia Choral Federation. Link to the Professional Development Assistance Application

Louise Simons Scholarship

Louise Simons, the Choral Federation’s “mother hen”, was instrumental in the formation of the Nova Scotia Youth Choir, originally the Rotary Youth Choir, 25 years ago. As a choral singer (with Nova Scotia Symphony Chorus, Halifax Camerata Singers, Middleton Choral Society and King’s Chorale), an educator (West Kings High School) and a constant presence at the Nova Scotia Choral Federation summer camps for junior, youth and adult singers, Louise wanted singers finishing high school and beginning university to have access to an auditioned provincial choir to keep up their choral education, to provide further challenge, and to keep them singing. She knew our youth should be given a chance to work with Canada’s best conductors. With her steady vision and her creative mind, the choir gradually took flight and was fine-tuned into the exceptional choir it is today. Her enthusiasm, her belief in the importance of singing, her loyalty to the choral community in Nova Scotia, her mentorship and her unfailing energy continues to inspire singers and audiences alike, and we feel her presence so strongly every year when we gather together. We are very pleased to honour her now with the Louise Simons Memorial Scholarship which supports four singers in the choir each year. The scholarship covers their tuition and offers them important leadership opportunities within the choir.

Note: If you are planning to apply to be a Louise Simons Scholar, please submit your application (found below) at the same time as your registration form. Thanks!

Link to Louise Simons Scholar Application

Payment Options for NSYC

NSYC Artistic Team 2024

NSYC 2024 Guest ConductorJamie Hillman

JAMIE HILLMAN is a Canadian and American musician, active as a conductor, singer, pianist, and music educator. He holds the endowed Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting at the University of Toronto where he is Director of Choral Studies and an Associate Professor. He conducts the U of T MacMillan Singers and leads the master’s and doctoral degree programs in Choral Conducting, as well as the annual summer Choral Conducting Symposium. He is also cross listed as an adjunct faculty member in Emmanuel College’s Master of Sacred Music program.

Hillman has served on the faculties of Boston University Metropolitan College/Prison Education Program, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Kodály Music Institute, Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Toronto Summer Music. As a Boston University Prison Arts Scholar, Hillman co-initiated an innovative vocal music program in the Massachusetts prison system.

​Dr. Hillman is an examiner for Conservatory Canada and has adjudicated, guest conducted, performed, and presented throughout Canada and the United States, and in Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Portugal, and Taiwan. He has led All-State, festival, or honor choirs in Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ontario, Rhode Island, Taiwan, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia. Most recently he conducted two national festival choruses at Carnegie Hall with National Concerts and Manhattan Concert Productions. In 2025, he returns to Carnegie Hall to conduct a national festival chorus. Hillman has conducted world premieres by Shireen Abu Khader, Matthew Emery, Qiushi Jiang, and Sarah Quartel, among others. 

Dr. Hillman has adjudicated for ACDA Pearl Prize, Alberta Music Festival Association, Allerton Vocal Chamber Festival, Bandung International Choir Competition, Canada’s Top Choirs, Cantabile Choirs BIPOC Song Competition, Carowinds Festival of Music, Chronos Vocal Ensemble Choral Composition Competition, Contemporary Showcase, Fantastic Festivals, Festivals of Music, Great East Festivals, Kings Dominion Festival of Music, Kitchener-Waterloo Kiwanis Music Festival, Kiwanis Music Festival Windsor-Essex County; Lacombe and District Performing Arts Festival, Loyola Marymount University Invitational Choral Festival, Manitoba ChoralFest, Marietta Public Schools (Georgia), Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association, Massachusetts Music Educators Association, MusicFest: The Nationals, Music in the Parks, National Collegiate Choral Organization, National Endowment for the Arts, New Brunswick Federation of Music Festivals, New England Music Festival Association, Oilsands Rotary Music Festival, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Music Festivals Association Provincials, Ontario Vocal Festival, Providence College High School Choral Festival, Rhythms International, Sherwood Park Music Festival, Stratford Kiwanis Festival for the Performing Arts, Tomohon International Choir Competition, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Choral Composition Competition, Rhode Island ACDA, and WorldStrides. Recent conference presentations include Association for Moral Education, College Music Society, Massachusetts Music Educators Association, New Jersey Music Educators Association, North Carolina Music Educators Association, Utah Music Educators Association, Nova Associação Brasileira de Regentes de Coros, and World Choral Expo. 

Hillman’s upcoming engagements include giving conducting masterclasses at Christ’s College Taipei, conducting the Alberta Youth Choir, Nova Scotia Youth Choir, and Connecticut All-State Treble Choir, and returning as a member of the jury of the Bali International Choir Festival in Indonesia. Hillman has written articles on choral literature and pedagogy that have been published in International Choral Bulletin, Massachusetts Music Educators Journal, and Mass Sings. 

Dr. Hillman earned an associate diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music and degrees from Western University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Boston University where he studied with Ann Howard Jones. Dr. Hillman is the 2012 laureate of the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting from the Ontario Arts Council.

Resident Conductors 2024:

Amelia McMahon

“Much of my life has been shaped by the programs offered through the NSCF from the career choices I have made to my friend community. As an alumni of NSYC myself, I am so excited to be a part of this generation’s joy for choral singing. The chance to build relationships with like minded youth from all over the province and to create something amazing together in the process will be extremely special.”

Amelia McMahon (she / her / elle) grew up in the Annapolis Valley and recently returned to Nova Scotia after making her home in Montreal for 21 years. She is the Artistic Director of the South Shore Chorale Society, Co-Principal Conductor of Eastern Horizon, Assistant Conductor of The Halifax Camerata Singers, Conductor of the LeMarchant – St Thomas Elementary School Choir and is on the vocal and choral faculties at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. She regularly sings at St. George’s Round Church, with East Coast Carolling, has had roles in two operas produced by Vocalypse, and is excited to be a member of the new vocal jazz quartet, Canvas. Mentored throughout her career by Maestro Iwan Edwards, Amelia studied choral conducting at Université de Sherbrooke and holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Voice from McGill University.

Photo Credit: Luke Fraser

Andrew Cranston

“The NSCF has been responsible for an incredible amount of my professional development as well as fostering relationships that have lasted for decades, and I am also grateful for my experience singing with the NSYC when it was directed by Scott Leithead. Giving back to this program is truly an honour and privilege, and the NSYC is absolutely crucial for the continued development of life long singers in Nova Scotia.”

Andrew Cranston (he / him) is a choral conductor, vocal coach and clinician working primarily in the Annapolis Valley. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Middleton Choral Society and the CONDUIT Chamber Choir, and will be serving as guest conductor to Annapolis Voices for a performance of Vaughan William’s “Toward The Unknown Region” in June. Andrew received a Masters in Choral Conducting from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, studying under Doug Dunsmore, Kellie Walsh, Don Buell and Mark David. While living in Newfoundland for 16 years, Andrew and his wife Beth created the Coastal Sounds Choir Association where he served as the Artistic Director of the Coastal Sounds Community Choir and the Aurora Women’s Choir, as well as many other project based initiatives. He also served as Artistic Director for the Anchormen Barbershop Chorus, as Music Director for Topsail United Church, and Assistant Conductor for the Memorial University Chamber Choir and the Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, the latter of which he conducted in Carnegie Hall in 2014. Andrew has also sung with many choirs in Atlantic Canada, including the Halifax Camerata Singers, the Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Nova Voce, where he also served as an Assistant Conductor.

Photo Credit: Jay McCurdy

NSYC Accompanist – Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson is a musician and educator from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. He is the organist and choir director at Port Wallis United Church, and the middle school music teacher at Halifax Independent School. He plays piano in a variety of groups in Halifax, in popular, jazz, and choral idioms. Adam directs the Club Inclusion Choir, a musical group open to people of all challenges and abilities, and accompanies the choirs Spira and Polaris of the Choirs for Change organization. He holds degrees from Bishop’s University (BA Hons piano), the University of Miami (MM Choral Conducting) and Memorial University (BMusEd). Adam enjoys arranging and composing for choir.