A ‘DIFFICULT’ decision has been taken by Barnsley Youth Choir bosses to not take part in this summer’s World Choir Games in New Zealand due to costs.

The group, which has 400 members in its ranks, was established in 2009 and has been ranked as high as fifth in the world rankings.

However, the choir will not make the journey to Auckland next month for the competition, which runs for ten days from July 10.

Artistic director Mat Wright said: “A difficult decision has been reached to not take part in the 2024 World Choir Games in New Zealand due to significant escalating costs that have emerged.

“It’s a decision that has not been taken lightly but is in the best interests of the choir, our families and supporters.

“These unforeseen additional costs that came to light would have placed such pressure on us and we felt that we needed to make an early decision and protect all stakeholders.

“We are clearly really disappointed, as Interkultur provide a gold standard in organising festivals and competitions and this will be the most fabulous event.”

However, choir members are set to visit South Africa in October for a nine-day tour which will include working with groups in Durban, Drakensberg, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

They’re also setting their sights on representing Great Britain in the European Choir Games in Aarhus, Denmark, next July.

“While the trip to South Africa will be considerably cheaper, it still provides an acute fundraising challenge and we hope that our supporters will get behind the choir and make this possible,” Mat added.

“We are busy organising workshops, rehearsals and concerts with world-class choirs and leaders in South Africa and we know that our young people will have a life-changing experience.

“Parents, members and supporters have been supportive of the decision not to take part (next month) and we’re grateful for their understanding and unwavering support.”