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Northern Lights singers holding the UK flag at the 2024 ICCA in New York

Our reigning student A Cappella group, Northern Lights, has sung their way into the history books by retaining UK championship and competing in New York international finals of a high profile A Cappella competition for the second year running. Music undergraduate Lucie Fletcher also came away with the special accolade of 'Outstanding Soloist'.

Our flagship vocal group Northern Lights has put North East England firmly on the international A Cappella map. They have made history as the first mixed group to defend and win National Championship titles, winning the UK semi-final of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) competition in London. This gained the group a place in the World Finals in New York at the end of April where they represented the UK, performing as one of the top ten A Cappella groups from across Europe and the US.

At the New York Town Hall the group performed versions of Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time, Loreen's Euphoria, and Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx. Northern Lights brought precision and energy to a very professional set, getting the appreciative American audience to their feet on numerous occasions. Lucie Fletcher (a third-year music student from Durham University’s Hatfield College) was awarded the special accolade of Outstanding Soloist by the American judges, the first time a UK group has bagged this award.

Lucie Fletcher with her Outstanding Soloist award

Doing Durham and Britain proud

Quentin Sloper, our Director of Student Enrichment said: “We are incredibly proud of Northern Lights’ achievements. To win the British Championships in successive years is unprecedented and it is clear from all the reports that they did Durham and Britain proud at the World Finals. 

“Their success is not by chance. The group is very ambitious, and they all work incredibly hard. They agreed their targets for the year, set out a plan to achieve those targets and then followed the plan. That's easily said but very difficult to do and the student leadership team specifically deserve a huge amount of credit. Not everyone will know that while competing in these championships, preparing for Edinburgh Fringe and revising for their exams, they have also made significant inroads into meeting their £10,000 fundraising target which will go towards the cost of the trip to New York. They have been a fantastic group to work with and we know there is far more to come from them before the end of the academic year." 

Lucille Richards, Northern Lights’ President said, “Northern Lights was formed with the stated intention of being a close and supportive environment, and we pride ourselves on our ethos 'One entity, One voice'. Although we are all driven members who constantly wish to improve the quality of our sound and performance, we are also a tight-knit group of friends who just love performing together. The fact that we have all developed such close friendships through A Cappella allows us to perform to a higher standard and this is something we are immensely proud of. It was a privilege to perform in New York and we are excited to see what else we can achieve this year.”  

‚ÄčIf you would like to see Northern Lights in action, they are lined up to perform at Durham Fringe Festival in July followed by Edinburgh Festival in August where they sold out their 2023 shows. 

Watch their 2024 ICCA set below:

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