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Durham University singing group retains national championship and competes on world stage

Durham University’s a cappella singing group Northern Lights has become the first mixed group to defend the national championship, winning the UK semi-final of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) competition in London.

This secured 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 drawn from Europe and the US.

At the New York Town Hall the group performed If I Could Turn Back TimeEuphoria, and Do Your Thing. 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.

Quentin Sloper, Director of Student Enrichment at Durham University, said: “To win the British Championships in successive years is unprecedented and it is clear 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.”  

Northern Lights will perform at the Durham Fringe Festival in July followed by Edinburgh Festival in August, where they sold out their 2023 shows. They are also available for weddings and events.

To contribute towards Northern Lights’ fundraising target towards the costs of the New York trip, please visit For more information about Northern Lights or to book them for a show or event, please visit


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