Farewell tribute to NIYPAA Patron of 25 years, Darryl Cotton (1949-2012)

Darryl Cotton sings with The Australian Youth Choir

Australian Youth Choir (AYC) choristers and families and the National Institute of Youth Performing Arts (NIYPAA) staff have been lucky to spend 25 years in the company of Australian pop star, iconic musician and proud patron of NIYPAA, the late Darryl Cotton.

On Friday, Darryl sadly lost his short battle with liver cancer. It is with deep sadness that NIYPAA farewells its long time friend and Patron, Darryl Cotton

NIYPAA Director and long-time friend to Darryl Cotton, Julie McKenna reflects on his time spent with NIYPAA.

“Our first time working with Darryl was in 1987 when he presented War of the Worlds at the Camberwell Civic Centre. Darryl was so impressed with the choristers and asked for them to be included in another concert,” she said.

Julie says Darryl always believed music was extremely important to a person’s development and readily accepted the position of NIYPAA Patron.

Shortly after becoming Patron, Darryl wasted no time working directly with the Australian Youth Choir students around the nation.

“Darryl was involved in so many concerts and loved bringing musical influences from the 1950s and 1960s to any performance, with songs like Lollipop and Polka Dot Bikini,” Julie said.

Julie recalls an occasion where Darryl performed a Rock ‘n Roll segment at a concert and asked the NIYPAA dancers to join him on stage for an impromptu rock dance.

“It was enthusiastic performances like this from Darryl that always excited the AYC students and made for a great concert,” Julie said.

From concert to concert, state-to-state, Darryl dreamed up new ways to make the kids laugh and each show a memorable experience for performers and audiences alike.

From the early 1990s when he brought the beloved Marty Monster to perform on stage with the AYC, creating a conga line of choristers in the front row and sharing the microphone around during his songs, inviting young audience members to join him on stage to sing, he was always relaxed and carefree and a truly talented performer.

Even when the curtain closed and the lights were down, Darryl continued giving.

“After concerts he would always visit the audience in the foyer to sign autographs” said Julie.

“For nearly 20 years, Darryl included the choristers on his CD recording. He wanted choristers to share his love of music and understand the importance of selling a song.

“Together with NIYPAA’s Artistic Directors, Darryl helped expand the chorister’s repertoire. He included musical numbers, songs from the 80’s, the swing era, songs of the world, Australian music, Christmas and contemporary songs.”

The CD recording with Darryl Cotton was always greatly anticipated by the AYC choristers. Past students have often commented on how Darryl’s involvement with their music education and the CD recoding will always be a highlight.

Darryl touched the life of so many NIYPAA members and has given current and past students and families many memorable moments and experiences.

Julie says that her most important trait of Darryl’s is his professionalism, his passion for musical education and his unforgettable “sparkle” and energy on stage.

“Darryl will always be remembered very fondly by NIYPAA. We will forever be thankful of the care and attention he offered to the musical development of our students and the passion for performing he enlivened in us all.”

Some NIYPAA students and families have sent tributes to Darryl.

If you would like to add to the tributes please subscribe and add them at the bottom of the page and we will pass these on to his family.

We are very saddened to hear of Darryl Cotton’s passing.  Although we do not know him any more than a AYC parent taking their child to his recording sessions, we have had his name and recordings (with AYC) in our household for 10 years, so a sad day for all, we would think, who have the memories of his music and associated experiences

Peter – Parent 

As a child born in 1960’s I grew up with Darryl cotton and his music and just loved it. You can imagine my delight when my boys joined NIYPAA in 2011, only to find out the Darryl was the Patron. This is a very sad day for the music world.  Please pass on our condolences to Darryl’s family.

Daniels Family 

It was with much sorrow that we learned tonight of the passing of Darryl Cotton. Our daughter was a member of the Choir for five years and every one produced a CD with Darryl for friends and family to enjoy. Our daughter was a recipient of the Darryl Cotton Scholarship in 2010 and has many fond memories of working with him. We share with the numerous choristers and families who offer their condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Wilcox Family.

I was very sad to hear this news today. Very kind person – full of life! My thoughts are with his family at this sad time 

Kayla – AYC Chorister

So sad. He always had time for us choristers.  He was a great man.

Mandy – AYC Chorister

So sad to hear the news on Darryl Cotton this morning. Sending love to all his friends and family and the lives his music touched. I know at NIYPAA he will always be remembered.

Lareen – AYC Chorister

Deeply saddened by the passing of Darryl Cotton. RIP Darryl. It was an honour to have met you 

Nicole – AYC Chorister

The beauty of an artist passing is that they all leave behind pieces of their heart and soul in the works they created while they walked among us. Thoughts and Prayers with those who are coming to terms with the loss. 

Rebecca – AYC Chorister

So very sad. Our daughter really enjoyed doing the CDs with Darryl and the choir every year. Thoughts and prayers to his family and to those choristers who were fortunate enough to have met him.

Small Family

R.I.P Darryl it is great to have the memory of singing with you on the CD..

Patrice – AYC Chorister

RIP to a great Australian icon DARRYL COTTON.
Your music will be truly missed by me and my fellow choristers of the Australian Youth Choir ♥ The annual CD recordings will never be the same without your presence… Thank you for all the inspiration and dedication you’ve brought to the young choristers of AYC.

Marvi – NIYPAA chorister 

Loved the CD’s he did with the kids – they did in fact bring a “SMILE” to our faces with the beautiful arrangements and harmonies. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

Rachael – NIYPAA  staff member

Darryl was such a beautiful man with so much patience and joy. He was cheeky and very  humble. I loved spending a few hours with him every year working on the CD. I learned so much from him about professionalism and performance in such a short time, every time.

Liz – Ex Director of Music