In 2008, Gillian and Roderick Deane chose to donate $10,000 to the New Zealand Youth Choir as part of the Arts Foundation Award for Patronage.
"For a long time the arts in New Zealand have relied on the patronage of a number of families and individuals. Among these, the partnership of Roderick and Gillian Deane has not been widely recognised, especially their support for the vocal performing arts of opera and choral works and for both individual singers and choirs. The award is a fitting tribute to their wonderful support and passion for one of the strongest traditions in New Zealand's performing arts."
- Alan Walmsley, Chairman of the New Zealand Youth Choir
Dr Karen Grylls is the current Artistic Director of the Choir and has been in this role since 1989. Under Karen's lead, the Choir has received numerous accolades, including; winner of the Silver Rose Bowl in the 1992 'Let the Peoples Sing' competition; winner of the ‘Choir of the World' title at the International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in 1999; and winner of the ‘Grand Prix Slovakia', also in 1999. Karen established the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir in 1998. Voices includes members from the Youth Choir and its small size allows it to perform a more varied repertoire.
The New Zealand Youth Choir has been pivotal in the careers of many opera singers. Artists who have been members of the Choir and are also recognised by the Arts Foundation include; Anna Leese (member 2000/1), Jonathan Lemalu (1998/8), Simon O'Neill (1991/2), Madeleine Pierard (2000-03) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (1994-98).
In 2010, the Choir went on an international tour through Singapore, South Korea, China and Australia.