Abigail Baylis - Soprano 2
Originally from Saltaire, soprano Abigail Baylis is in her final year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire studying with Catherine Benson for her undergraduate bachelor’s degree. There she has performed in the ensemble role of Nelly Kerwin in Banished (Stephan McNeff), as well as performing in the chorus for the conservatoire’s 2022 French Opera double bill, that toured to the Leamington Spa Music Festival. Recent scenes roles include Alcina (Alcina, Handel) Second Witch (Dido and Aeneas, Purcell), Virtú (L’incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi). Her upcoming work includes the role of Pepík (Cunning little Vixen, Janácek) and soprano soloist for the Oratorio de Noël (Saint-Saëns).Competition success includes being a finalist in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Ambache Prize 2022, the Edward Brookes English Song Prize 2022, and the inaugural Birmingham Festival Choral Society Oratorio Prize 2023. Prior to her conservatoire training, Abigail was a member of the Opera North Children’s chorus, where she enjoyed regular concert opportunities at venues such as Spittlefields Cathedral and the Howard Assembly Room. Currently, Abigail is working as a freelance singer alongside her continuing studies.
(WDCS - A French Christmas)

Adrian Clarke - Baritone
 Adrian Clarke - Baritone
James Black Management is sad to announce the death on 10th September 2020 of much loved baritone Adrian Clarke. He was a joy to work with, full of character and love for his art, and also a most delightful man with a gleeful sense of humour and a nose for a good glass of red. Our thoughts are with Sarah Pring and his family.

Adrian studied at the Royal College of Music where he won the English Song Competition, and at the London Opera Centre where he was awarded the Vaughan Williams Scholarship.
On the operatic stage he has sung principal roles with most of the British opera companies, most recently with Mid­Wales Opera singing Dr Bartolo in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Opera North in Rossini’s Theiving Magpie and Martinu’s Julietta, Scottish Opera in their acclaimed production of Ariadne auf Naxos, and Welsh National Opera in La Traviata, with English National Opera in their production of Leoncavallo’s La Boheme, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, in Mussorksky’s Boris Godunov, Puccini’s La Fancuilla del West, Bizet’s Carmen, and the world premiere of Nicholas Maw’s Sophie’s Choice.Abroad, Adrian has travelled to Prague with Opera North’s Julietta, appeared over nine seasons at the Bregenz International Opera Festival, Austria, singing in A Greek Passion Martinu, The Golden Cockerel Rimsky Korsachov, La Boheme Puccini, Tosca Verdi, Blond Eckbert Judith Wier, Playing Away Benedict Mason and Andre Chemier Giordano.He has appeared at Cagliari, Sardinia, in their production of A Village Romeo and Juliet Delius, a European tour playing the title role in the premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Mr Emmet takes a Walk, and in Venice A Midsummer Night’s Dream Benjamin Britten.

He has appeared at the Landestheater Salzburg in Albert Herring Britten Ariadne Strauss and Death in Venice Britten, and Die Soldaten Zimmerman for the Nederlandse Opera, the Ruhr Triennale, and in New York.

His busy concert schedule has taken him to most of the cathedrals in England, performing such works as Carmina Burana, Elijah, Beethoven’s 9th, and Messiah.

Adrian’s recordings include The Maharal in John Casken’s Golem, Deceit in Gerald Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit for Channel 4 Television, Don Ferdinand in Gerhard’s The Duenna for Chandos Records, Puccini’s La Boheme, and Martinu’s A Greek Passion, Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten and Mr Emmet takes a Walk. Future plans include The Devils of Loudun Penderecki for the Royal Danish Opera and a return to Bregenz in their production of The Merchant of Venice by Andre Tchaikowsky.
(WDCS - Mendelssohn's Elijah - The Sea Symphony - Brahms Requiem - Stabat Mater -
Verdi Requiem)

 Alexander Jones, Tenor
Alexander Jones - Tenor
Alex has been singing for many years, firstly as a choral scholar at Wells Cathedral, subsequently at Kings’ College, London, and more recently as a Lay Clerk at Gloucester Cathedral. Currently studying for a post-graduate vocal degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he has sung at many London churches, including St Bride’s Fleet Street, Marylebone Parish Church, St George’s Hanover Square, and the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace.

He has sung as soloist for several Choral societies, in the Bach Passions and Magnificat, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Mozart and Brahms’s settings of the Requiem, as well as Jenkins’ The Armed Man.On the stage he has sung with Hampstead Garden Opera, the Co-op Opera Company, and British Youth Opera, in such roles as Krushine in Smetana’s Bartered Bride, and Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute. He is delighted to be able to join us in tonight’s performance of the Schubert Mass in E flat.
(WDCS - Schubert Mass)

 Ben Alden, Tenor
Ben Alden - Tenor
With a repertoire spanning over a millennium, Ben enjoys a varied career as soloist. Past performances include Monteverdi Vespers in The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music at Cadogan Hall and ‘Pilate’ in Pärt Passio at the Laeiszhalle, Hamburg.
As a recitalist, Ben has an extensive song repertoire and has a particular passion for English song. Recent performances include Britten Winter Words and Canticle II in the Sheremetev Palace, St Petersburg. Following a recital in the 2012 Penkhull Festival, where he premiered Joseph Phibbs Three Songs, Ben later recorded two of these songs on the 2013 release for NMC recordings, The Canticle of the Rose.

Ben studied Modern Languages at Durham University before embarking on Postgraduate Vocal studies as an ABRSM scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  There he studied under Peter Alexander Wilson and also worked with Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray and the late Philip Langridge. Ben continues to study singing with Ryland Davies and is a Lay Clerk at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Ben’s latest concert performances feature Bach St John Passion, Handel Messiah, Puccini Messa di Gloria and Stainer Crucifixion. As an accomplished ensemble singer, Ben enjoys performing with many leading choirs and vocal ensembles, including The Monteverdi Choir, Tenebrae, Exaudi, The Tallis Scholars, Synergy Vocals and London Voices.
(WDCS - St Matthew Passion)

Callum Alger - Organ & Accompanist
Callum Alger is currently the Interim Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Wolverhampton, in addition to studying on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma (Professional Performance) course at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, with a Headley Music Scholarship, under the guidance of Daniel Moult. In 2019, he graduated with a first-class honours degree in Music Performance, where he studied the organ with Henry Fairs and David Saint, and choral conducting with Paul Spicer.

During his studies, he was accompanist to the critically-acclaimed Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir, accompanying the choir on their most recent CD Rosa Mystica with SOMM Recordings. Callum was fortunate to spend a semester studying at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ in Leipzig under the tutelage of Martin Schmeding.

He has previously held positions at Westminster Cathedral, St Thomas’ Church, Stourbridge, Portsmouth Cathedral (in conjunction with The Portsmouth Grammar School), and St Matthew’s Church, Northampton.

Callum has performed extensively as a soloist in the UK. He won first-prize at the IAO/RCO Organ Playing Competition (2018) in Peterborough, and Dame Gillian Weir Messiaen Competition (2018) in Birmingham, and was twice a finalist in the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. Recent recital venues have included Westminster Abbey, St John’s Smith Square and St Albans Cathedral (St Albans International Organ Festival). He is a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, an Associate of Trinity College, London, and has performed on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and is a Making Music Selected Artist 2020-21.

In 2019, Callum released his debut CD Klangreden with Regent Records, featuring the Garnier organ at the University of Birmingham, and the Walker organ at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. Klangreden is centred on the performance of Lutheran chorale-based repertoire, in which Callum’s music-making has been described as “unfailingly elegant” [Choir and Organ].
(WDCS - Nowell! Nowell! - Christmas Concert Dec 2021)

Chris Griksaitis, Tenor 
Christopher Griksaitis - Tenor
Christopher Griksaitis is an up and coming young tenor from the North East of England. He is particularly focused on opera, lied and oratorio performance. As well as being a singer, he is a gifted accompanist.

He started piano when he was five and later took up the violin and viola. He played viola with the Tees Valley Youth Orchestra but when he turned sixteen he joined the Tees Valley Youth choir and singing quickly became his ambition.With the choir he toured France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Spain and Hong Kong. In September 2010, when he was nineteen, he received a place on the Vocal and Operatic course at Birmingham Conservatoire where he graduated in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree whilst studying under Welsh baritone, Gwion Thomas.

During his time at the Conservatoire, Christopher took part in many productions. He regularly performed in the department’s opera scenes, liederabends and opera productions, most recently performing the role of ‘Le Chevalier de la Force’ in Poulenc’s ‘Dialogues des Carmélites’. Christopher also won the John Ireland Singing Prize in 2012 and the Edward Brooks Lieder Prize in 2014.

He has recently completed a production of Jason Robert Brown’s two person musical, ‘The Last Five Years’, which was used as one of his final exams for his degree. Alongside his studies, he is frequently performing lied recitals and oratorio concerts.

Christopher is now starting to establish himself as a professional singer, and in time he is planning to start a postgraduate degree.

He would like to continue expanding his experiences within all aspects of opera, lied and oratorio performance.
(WDCS - Crucifixion)

 Christopher Foster, Bass
Christopher Foster - Bass
Educated at Newcastle University and the Britten-Pears School, Christopher was a winner of the N.F.M.S. Young Concert Artists’ Award, a finalist in the Richard Tauber Competition and one the inaugural Samling Scholars.

His concert work has included the world premieres of Pawel Lukaszewski’s Requiem (2014 Presteigne Festival) and Britten’s The Rescue of Penelope (Aldeburgh Festival) whilst other work has included Mozart’s Requiem (Royal Festival Hall); Mendelssohn’s Elijah (Durham Cathedral); Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (Darmstadt) and Handel’s Messiah (Beijing).
Radio broadcasts have included work in France (Mozart’s Grabmusik)  and  in Holland (Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti) and for the BBC, Schumann’s Manfred and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol, both at the Royal Festival Hall and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with Trevor Pinnock (BBC Proms).

His operatic roles include Sarastro, Mozart’s The Magic Flute (London Festival Opera, in Budapest); Traveller, Britten Curlew River (Nova Music Opera); Kawabata, Philip Glass’ Hotel of Dreams (UK premiere for Volta Theatre); Arthur, Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse; Friar Laurence, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (Riverside Opera); Raimondo, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Winslow Hall Opera); Father Frost, Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden (University College Opera); and various Mozart roles including  Don Alfonso, Così fan tutte (Britten-Pears School).
A growing reputation as a recitalist has included festival appearances at Barnes, Presteigne, and for the English Music Festival at Dorchester Abbey, performances of his programme A Soldier’s Tale, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI and the 75th anniversary of WWII.

He studies with Gary Coward and Anna Sims but when not singing, he enjoys photography, fine wine, the cinema and cycling at the gym, though not necessarily in that order.
(WDCS - Messiah)

Ciará Preston Myakicheff - Soprano
Ciará Preston Myakicheff, soprano, grew up in the Lake District and began her musical studies on piano and flute, before turning her focus to singing aged fifteen.

Ciará has a special interest in early and choral music, which she found singing in a chamber choir with Dr Anthony Milledge, a specialist on the works of Dyricke Gerarde. Pursuing this interest she has taken solos in performances of Bach’ St. Matthew Passion and Handel’s Dixit Dominus, and has also been fortunate enough to have gained further experience as one of Ex Cathedra’s student scholars (2020-2021), under the directorship of Jeffrey Skidmore.

She is currently in her second year at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire studying Vocal Performance with Louise Crane.
(WDCS - Faure & Durufle Requiems - April 2022)
(WDCS - A French Christmas - December 2022)

 Claire Filer, Mezzo Soprano
Claire Filer - Mezzo-Soprano
Claire Filer was born in Auckland, New Zealand, where she began a career that has involved studying and performing in the US, the UK and Europe. Claire holds a Master of Arts with Distinction from the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff, a Master of Music from The Boston Conservatory in the US and a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from The University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Claire made her UK Opera debut as Dido Dido and Aeneas followed by Dorabella Così fan tutte, both with West Sussex Opera in Chichester and West Wittering.

In early 2016, Claire sang the role of the Sorceress Dido & Aeneas with The Helen Astrid Singing Academy in the Waldegrave Drawing Room at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, as part of the Richmond-upon-Thames Music and Drama Festival. In the summer, Claire sang 2nd Witch/Ensemble in Verdi Macbeth with Opera at Iford, chorus in La Traviata with West Green House Opera and reprised the role of Dorabella Così fan tutte with The Black Cat Opera Company at the Birgitta Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, after successful performances in Guildford in December 2015.

Most recently, Claire performed the role of Maurya Riders to the Sea in a touring production with Piccalilli Opera, followed by chorus in the Opera Holland Park summer production of Káta Kabanová.

Claire is currently involved in productions of two contemporary operas with Gestalt Arts – Cameron Dodd’s Unsung Heroes of the Planet and Sarah Dacey’s Liquid History, performed at the Green Man Festival and the Totally Thames Festival respectively.
(WDCS - Stabat Mater - Mozart Requiem - Messiah)

Daniel Marles - Counter Tenor
Daniel Marles is a Tenor from Leeds who enjoys singing in choirs and consort groups with a passion for early music. He has sung with the Leeds Guild of Singers, performing at Leeds Minster where he has had his compositions performed.He sings regularly with Ex Cathedra, holding the Student Scholar position for a second year, performing in prestigious venues across the country. He sings regularly with the Birmingham Oratory Choir, has assisted the CBSO Chorus in a professional capacity, and sings with the Chamber Choir at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.In his spare time he enjoys playing the piano and composing.

(WDCS - A French Christmas)

Daniel Tate - Baritone
(Section under construction)

 David Blackadder - Trumpet soloist
David Blackadder - Trumpet soloist
David joined the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra and went on to study at the Royal College of Music with Michael Laird. He has performed as principal trumpet with Scottish Opera, the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique and the Academy of Ancient Music.

He formed the groundbreaking group Blackadder Brass which became the resident educational ensemble at Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

David is renowned as a soloist having performed and recorded with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Roger Norrington, Franz Brüggen, Vladimir Jurowski and Stephen Cleobury. His recordings of Handel arias with singers such as Reneé Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and Elin Manahan-Thomas have received particular critical acclaim.

In 2009 David devised and scripted a concert programme with his colleague Benedict Hoffnung celebrating the life of Handel entitled “Divine Music for Trumpets and Voices”. Other projects have been the formation of “The London Trumpet Choir” which will play choral music in four parts on SATB trumpets and as a music consultant, teacher and player for the latest album of royal music to be released by Alison Balsom.

He is a professor of Natural Trumpet at both Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music and is also Head of Brass at Rugby School.
(WDCS - Nelson Mass & Vivaldi Gloria)

 Edward Harrison, tenor
Edward Harrisson - Tenor
We welcome back Edward who also has sung with us before in Mendelssohn’s ‘St Paul’.Ed Harrisson, having studied at the Birmingham Comservatoire, has performed recently with the Midland Opera Company as Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and with the CBSO in concert performances of Wagner’s Parcifal and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.

He has also performed on several occasions with the Birmingham Opera Company as Chorus mentor and soloist in Mussorgsky’s Kovanschina, Tippet’s The Ice Break and, as a member of Ex Cathedra, Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht, the latter of which was performed again in the BBC’s Proms in the Albert Hall.

He has also worked with the British youth opera in Britten’s Paul Bunyan and with the RSC for the world premier of Johnathan Girling’s Anya, for which he sang the role of Narrator as well as tenor in the semi-chorus.

His recent Oratorio work includes performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor, the Evangelist for the St John Passion and Verdi’s Requiem.

As well as singing, he conducts a local choir and youth orchestra as well as teaching and playing the double bass, having played with the Conservatoire’s Symphony orchestra as an undergraduate and with the CBSO Youth orchestra for five years. His composition of a fanfare for the BCU (UCE) graduation ceremonies, Antiphonality was used for six years and he has received commissions for choral works from the Crescent Theatre and conductor Paul Spicer for the Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
(WDCS - St Paul - Stabat Mater)
(WDCS - A French Christmas)

Ellie Neate, Soprano 
Ellie Neate - Soprano
Ellie is a masters student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studies with Sarah Pring. She has sung the soprano solos in Bach’s St John Passion with the Gloucester Cathedral Choir, Bach’s Cantata number 51 (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen) conducted by David Corkhill, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Cheltenham Philharmonic Orchestra, and Andriessen’s De Staat and Adam’s Grand Pianola Music with Simon Wills and the Guildhall School UBU ensemble.Opera performances include Mabel, Yum Yum, Patience and Josephine for Opera Anywhere, Suor Osmina and Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica (Opera Anywhere) Zerbinetta (GSMD scenes), Despina in Così fan tutte, Papagena and First Boy in The Magic Flute (GSMD), Athenian youth in the UK premier of Jonathan Dove’s The Monster and the Maze (Simon Rattle, LSO), and chorus in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (GSMD), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (West Green House Festival Opera), Fidelio (Longborough Festival Opera), and Iolanta (GSMD). Upcoming highlights include Vaughan-Williams’s Symphony No. 3, a recital at Holy Trinity Sloane Square, Handel’s Messiah, a performance of songs from the Great American Songbook and opera scenes from Die Entführung and le Nozze di Figaro.
(WDCS - Schubert Mass) 

 Elisabeth Rauch, Soprano
Elisabeth Rauch - Soprano
Elisabeth Rauch currently studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Susan Waters in a Master of Performance programme. She completed a Bachelor of Music at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music in Leipzig, where she also took part in a two years Masters in Opera Course.In 2015 she made her debut as Agathe in the university production of Carl Maria von Weber’s `Der Freischütz’.

This June the singer had one of the leading roles in the production of Richard Wetz’s `The Eternal Fire’ with the Hofoper Jena.Elisabeth also performs on a regular basis in concerts and oratorios in Germany and in and around London. Besides her studies she participated in several masterclasses with Frieder Bernius, KS Julie Kaufmann, Janice Watson, Graham Johnson and Peter Rose to name a few.Elisabeth is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and a Bayreuth Scholar of the Richard Wagner society.

She was awarded a Guildhall School of Music and Drama scholarship. The singer currently receives ongoing support from the John Wates Trust.
(WDCS - St Paul)

 Elinor Jane Moran, Soprano
Elinor Jane Moran - Soprano
Elinor, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, studied voice at Chetham’s School Of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she won the Worshipful Company of Horners’ Becker Scholarship and the Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize for Contemporary Song.
Recent roles include Josephine HMS Pinafore (Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company Tour) Mabel Pirates Of Penzance (Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company Tour) Violetta La Traviata (OperaUpClose/Soho Theatre and Tour), Mimi La Boheme (in the Olivier Award winning OperaUpClose production at the Soho Theatre and Charing Cross Theatre and Tour), Sophie Werther (Midsummer Opera), Rosina The Barber Of Seville (OUC Tour), Anna Don Giovanni (OUC/Soho Theatre), Mrs Bear-Crawford Beginners (New commission, ROH Linbury Theatre) Michaela Carmen (For EPOC at the Royal Albert Hall), Susanna The Marriage of Figaro (Opera La Gozinère), Rusalka/Voran May Night (Garsington Opera), Rowan The Little Sweep (International Festival of Shannon). Elinor has been the recipient of a Garsington Opera Award.
Oratorio experience includes Mozart Requiem (at the Cadogan Hall), Verdi Requiem (Lighthouse Theatre Poole), Vaughan-Williams Sea Symphony (at the Victoria Hall, Hanley with the Ceramic City Choir), Orff Carmina Burana, Handel Messiah, Handel Joshua, Hadyn Creation, Haydn The Seasons, Haydn Nelson Mass, Mozart Coronation Mass, Schumann Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle, Mendelssohn Elijah, Brahms Requiem.

Elinor was a soloist on a SONY BMG recording “The Best Of Gilbert And Sullivan” which reached the top of the Classical Chart.

Elinor is in demand as a vocal animateur for opera companies such as Opera North, Aldeburgh Music, the Royal Opera House, and as far away as Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus in Toronto. She was assistant director on Towards An Unknown Port for English Touring Opera (ROH Linbury Theatre and Tour) last year and also directed her first children’s opera Hedgehog’s Home at the Conway Hall in 2012. Also in 2012 she performed a dance role in Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony but has since put away her hip hop shoes (until the right future opportunity…).
(WDCS - Brahms Requiem)

 Emily Kyte, Mezzo Soprano
Emily Kyte - Mezzo-Soprano
Emily is a London born classical mezzo-soprano.  She trains with Susan Waters on the award-winning Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Previously, Emily trained in the vocal department at the Guildhall School, and on the ENO OperaWorks Programme.

Throughout her career so far, she has gained experience in the fields of opera, oratorio and recital. Emily is a Concordia Foundation Artist.Emily has been part of many performances in opera, oratorio, recitals, masterclasses, etc including: The cover role of Zulma in ‘L’italiana in Algeri’, British Youth Opera’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen, chorus for La Boheme and Samson et Dalila, Fag Hag in Vahan Salorian’s Boys of Paradise, in the female quartet in Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Perl with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, second alto solo in Handel’s Utrecht Jubilate and Utrecht Te Deum with the English Chamber Orchestra at St Paul’s Cathedral.Emily has performed the roles of Rosina (Il Barbieri di Siviglia), Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio), and Annio (La Clemenza di Tito). She has also taken part in masterclasses with Martin Katz, Anne Murray, Louise Winter and Graham Johnson.
(WDCS - St Matthew Passion)

 Florian Panzieri, Tenor
Florian Panzieri - Tenor
Florian was born in Paris and moved to Brighton at a young age. He first studied History and Politics at the University of Warwick, singing under the tutelage of Johnny Graham-Hall, before embarking upon a Master’s at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Having just completed his first year, he studies with Adrian Thompson and John Evans.A few of his opera credits include Telemachus (Cover) The Return of Ulysses (Royal Opera House), Peter Quint The Turn of The Screw (King’s Opera), Demetrius (Cover) The Enchanted Island (British Youth Opera), Alfred Die Fledermaus (Opera Warwick). Amongst his work as a soloist Florian has sung in Paris with the LA-Philharmonic conducted by Dudamel, the Tippett Spirituals for the LSO Sing-in Day, Britten’s Canticles with Graham Johnson’s Song Guild, and the Serenade for Tenor and Horn with the Orchestra of Sussex.

He was recently awarded the Rosalind Armstrong Song Prize in HCO’s singing competition and it grateful to The Worshipful Company of Leatherseller’s and the Guildhall Scholar’s trust for their generous contributions towards his tuition.
(WDCS - Schubert Mass)

 Francis Merton, Organist
Francis Murton - Organist
Francis took up the organ at the age of ten, studying with David Flood at Canterbury Cathedral.He took up his first post within a year and gave his first London recital at St Bride’s, Fleet Street at the age of 16: two weeks after completing his O-Levels!He studied music at Sheffield University and at the Royal Academy of Music in London before working as a freelance musician, during which time he was Director of Music at Luton Parish Church and ran the St Alban’s Organists Training Scheme.

After a sojourn onto the island of Jersey, the call to teaching brought him back to earth and with a brief stop in Peterborough to get him into the right gear, Francis moved to Wrekin College. He subsequently worked at St Edmund’s Canterbury before returning to the Midlands to work at Wolverhampton Grammar School. He has recently left the Grammar School to take up a new position (2017).

He is a Principal Examiner for GCSE Music and works regularly delivering training and workshops to pupils and teachers.

He is more often heard accompanying rather than giving solo recitals these days and regularly accompanies two London based choirs with recent performances at both St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. Aside from music, he has a passion for sailing and classic cars.
(WDCS - Crucifixion)

 Gwion Thomas, Baritone
Gwion Thomas - Baritone
The baritone, Gwion Thomas was born in Gorseinon, South Wales and gave up a career in banking to study singing at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, where he graduated with Distinction, winning many prizes.

His operatic roles include Figaro in Barber of Seville and First Mate in John Metcalf’s Tornrak for Welsh National Opera. He also sang Maitra and Presiding Judge in Param Vir’s double bill, Snatched from the Gods and Broken Strings and more recently the role of William Godwin in the Sally Beamish’s Monster for Scottish Opera.

He has performed several roles for Kent Opera, such as Chao Lin in Judith Weir’s A Night at the Chinese Opera, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes and the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo.
At Aldeburgh Festival he has sung Mr Punch in Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy and created the title role of The Wildman in Nicola LeFanu’s new opera.

For Music Theatre Wales his numerous roles included Mr Punch in their acclaimed production of Punch and Judy, Blazes in Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Pasternak in The Electrification of the Soviet Union and Hermes in Param Vir’s Ion, which was a joint production with the National Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg and the Berlin Festival.

He has also recently performed the Pasternak in The Electrification of the Soviet Union for Opera Vest in Norway and Blazes in Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse for Transparant Muziektheater in Antwerp.

With the latter he also took the role of the composer Janacek in their production Intimate Letters. On the concert platform he has performed the role of Chao Lin in A Night at the Chinese Opera for Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Boatswain in HMS Pinafore at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Roger Norrington and the Journalist in Lulu with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis.
(WDCS - St Paul)

Harry Brookes-Owen - Bass
Harry’s interest in singing began at the age of five when he performed his first solo with a choir at an event at his primary school. From there, he moved to Hereford Cathedral School to become a chorister in 2009. During those years as a chorister, he toured South Africa, sang for members of royalty and took part in several broadcasts of services. When his voice changed, Harry was fortunate to gain choral scholarships in many choirs including Hereford Chamber Choir, Hereford Cathedral, St James’ Parish Church Sydney and Portsmouth Cathedral.Harry is currently undertaking a vocal studies degree at Birmingham Conservatoire. Harry currently works as a deputy bass at St Chads Catholic Cathedral, Magdalen College Oxford, New College Oxford, Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, The Oratory Birmingham, Coventry Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral, St Philip’s Cathedral Birmingham and Hereford Cathedral. Outside of the music world, Harry is a keen sportsman, playing for the 1XV mens rugby team at university. 
(WDCS - A French Christmas)

 Helen Mayerhoff, Soprano
Helen Mayerhoff - Soprano
Helen Meyerhoff has been praised in The New York Times for the “unabashed lushness” of her voice with interpretation described by The Independent as “Triumphant... having the utmost dramatic force”.Since making her debuts both at the Wigmore Hall and on BBC Radio 3 (live from the City of London Festival) Helen has frequently appeared as a recitalist with leading accompanists and ensembles internationally. London concerts include performances in the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican, St John’s, Smith Square and Cadogen Hall.
She has also appeared in the Schoenberg Centre in Vienna, for Bargemusic in New York, and in recital with Jonathan Zak in Tel Aviv, as well as for festivals such as Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Leamington, Boxgrove and Bromsgrove in the UK.Helen is experienced on the operatic stage and has sung the roles of Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) for Opera Shorts, Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) for the Aldeburgh Festival and Clorinda (Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda) for the Northern Aldeborough Festival.

Helen was also a finalist in the New York Centre for Contemporary Opera Competition. A specialist in the contemporary repertoire, she has given many UK and World premieres including works written for her by Judith Bingham and Naji Hakim.Helen’s discography includes music by Pärt, Bliss, Langlais, Vierne, and Patterson.

Recent performances include Haydn and Vaughan-Williams with the City of London Sinfonia, and Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Festival Hall with the combined forces of Lewisham Choral Society and the Hackney Singers.
(WDCS - Messiah)

 Helen Daniels, Mezzo Soprano
Helen Daniels - Mezzo-Soprano
Helen first began singing when she joined Coventry Blue Coat School Choir at the age of eleven. She then went on to study music at Cambridge University where she was a choral scholar with Trinity College Choir under the direction of Stephen Layton.

Winner of the oratorio and English song prizes at the Beckenham Festival (November 2017) and runner-up in the recital class at Bromley Music Festival (February 2018), Helen is a budding recitalist and enjoys devising creative and challenging programmes for audiences to explore.
Helen currently sings with a number of acclaimed professional choirs including The Hanover Band, Philharmonia Voices, City Bach Collective, Classical Opera and The Carice Singers. She is thrilled to have been chosen as an alto choral scholar with St Martin in the Fields for the 2018-2019 season.

Recent solo performances include Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, Bach’s Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort, BWV 168 and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Operatic roles have included Lapak, Cunning Little Vixen (Janacek), Romeo, Fairy Queen: Re-imagined (Purcell) and Liddy, Far From the Madding Crowd (Barnaby Martin).

Alongside singing, Helen plays the clarinet and enjoys performing with the London Incidental Orchestra in various venues around London.
(WDCS - Schubert Mass)

 Jenavieve Moore, Soprano
Jenavieve Moore - Soprano
Canadian soprano Jenavieve Moore is a singer on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, under Yvonne Kenny.

She is also an accomplished pianist and flautist, holding two Performance A.R.C.T. diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada). She has won top prizes at many competitions including the Susan Longfield Competition, the Dean & Chadlington Festival Competition, the GSMD Aria Prize, the Canadian Music Competition, and the National Kiwanis Festival, and has been featured as a soloist with many prominent orchestras.Equally at home on the opera and concert stage, Jenavieve has performed across North America, Europe, and China, with operatic role and scene credits including Judith Wier’s one-woman opera King Harald’s Saga, Wolf-Ferrari’s Le Donne Curiose (Rosaura), Birtwistle’s Yan Tan Tethera (Hannah), Bizet’s Carmen (Micaëla), Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (Ann Trulove), Humperdink’s Hänsel und Gretel (Sandmann), Massenet’s Manon (Manon), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Donna Anna) Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (Countessa), and Rossini’s Le comte Ory (Comtesse Adèle). Recent Oratorio appearances include Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Haydn’s Paukenmesse, Mozart’s Requiem and Exsultate Jubilate.

She is regularly featured on BBC Radio 3 in connection with their New Music Immersion concerts; previous events and recordings have included Brett Dean’s ‘Wolf-Lieder’ concerto for soprano and orchestra in Barbican Hall, and Arvo Pärt’s ‘Stabat Mater’.

Upcoming performances include the role of ‘Female Chorus’ in The Rape of Lucretia (Britten) in February 2016, as well as an appearance in the Budapest Opera Festival and in the Royal Opera House in January performing European Premiers of three chamber operas. She will be making her solo debut in Royal Albert Hall in March 2016 with Brett Dean’s ‘Wolf-Lieder’ concerto for soprano and orchestra.
(WDCS - Nelson Mass & Vivaldi Gloria)

 Jennie Witton, Soprano
Jennie Witton - Soprano
Jennie hails from West Sussex and lives in London. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a First Class (hons) Bachelor of Music degree under the tutelage of Professor Susan McCulloch. Whilst at the Guildhall she has had the privilege of working with internationally acclaimed coaches and singers including Sarah Walker, Graham Johnson, Eugene Asti, Adrian Thompson, Andrew Watts, Sally Burgess. Now studying with Sarah Pring, she is returning to the Guildhall and continuing her studies, working towards a Masters degree in performance.

During the 2011/12 season, 23 year old Jennie made her U.K. role début as Ortlinde in Die Walküre conducted by Martyn Brabbins at the St. Endillion Festival, where she also performed a recital of French song with Iain Burnside. Further performances included Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi for Fulham Opera, Page in Chabrier’s Le Roi Malgré Lui, with Wexford Festival Opera, Fleury in La Rondine for Opera di Peroni and in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s Hippolyte et Aricie.

In addition to her opera work, Jennie appears regularly on the oratorio and concert platform both as a soloist and as a consort singer. As a soloist, oratorios include Messiah (Handel), Gloria (Vivaldi), Requiem (Brahms), The Armed man (Jenkins), Requiem (Mozart), Samson (Handel), St John’s Passion (Bach) An Eternal Light (Goodall) and Requiem (Fauré) amongst others. One of her most relished experiences, she sung soprano chorus in a fully staged production of Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre directed by Sir Jonathan Miller with the Southbank Sinfonia.

As well as developing a career on the classical concert platform and the operatic stage, Jennie is a keen supporter of the charity, Help for Heroes and performs the war time classics with Her Majesty’s Royal Marine band to help fundraising.
(WDCS - The Sea Symphony)

Lawrence White - Baritone
Baritone Lawrence White has performed, recorded and broadcast at many major concert venues, theatres and studios, both at home in the UK, in Europe and further abroad.

A frequent soloist in performances of standard oratorio repertoire, he has also performed contemporary repertoire by, among others, Reich, Andriessen, Birtwistle, Nono and Saariaho.

As a contributor to vocal consorts, Lawrence has performed and recorded with The Sixteen, Tenebrae, Ensemble Plus Ultra, The Marian Consort, The Tallis Scholars, Ex Cathedra and Synergy Vocals. Solo studio and session credits include the plainchant of the Knights Templar (for Herald), Paco Peña’s Requiem for the Earth (Universal) and Mozart masses (Naxos).

Recent highlights include Britten’s War Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Coventry Cathedral); excerpts from Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Orchestra (Symphony Hall); Purcell’s Indian Queen (Birmingham Town Hall and St. John’s Smith Square, London), and Monteverdi’s Vespers (St. David’s Hall, Cardiff) with Endel’s Messiah with The English Concert (Duomo di Pisa, Tuscany) under Trevor Pinnock.

Plans for the coming months include performances of Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions, and performances of an English song recital programme in both London and Mexico City.
(WDCS - Faure & Durufle Requiems - April 2022)

 John Oxley, Baritone
John Oxley - Baritone
John first studied singing with Constance Kershaw in Wolverhampton and later with Roger Stalman at the Birmingham School of Music (now the Conservatoire).

He has sung regularly throughout the Midlands and also further afield in Southport, Llandudno, Newquay, Eastbourne, London and Datteln in Germany.

John’s range of music includes oratorio, opera, operetta, Lieder and English song. He has played a variety of stage roles in Gilbert and Sullivan opera and has also sung the parts of Escamilio in Carmen, Fagin in Oliver and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.

Since retiring from teaching, John is very involved in his family (two daughters, six grandchildren), church and golf. He also very much enjoys singing with the Wombourne and District Choral Society, here in Wolverhampton.
(WDCS - Crucifixion)

 John Rutter, Composer
John Rutter CBE - Composer (Patron of our choir)
John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.

His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers.

His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have been performed many times in Britain, North America, and a growing number of other countries.He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).

From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.
He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia. In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.

He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music.
(WDCS - John visited Wombourne Choral Society in 2009 and conducted the weekly rehearsal.)

Justin Lavender - Tenor
Justin Lavender was persuaded by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten to abandon nuclear engineering for music. He made his international debut in The Pearl Fishers at the Sydney Opera House. In 1990 he made debuts at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, singing the leading role of Arnold in Rossini’s spectacular masterpiece William Tell, and at the Vienna State Opera as Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute. His debut at La Scala, Milan, in the title role of Rossini’s Count Ory came the following year.

More recent performances have included the title role in Gounod’s Faust at Covent Garden, Florestan in Beethoven’s Leonore with the Chelsea Opera Group, Don José with the Welsh National Opera, Loge in Wagner’s Das Rheingold for the Latvian National Opera and at Norway’s Bergen Festival, Ruis in Donzetti’s Maria Padilla for Washington Concert Opera, Pollione in Bellini’s Norma for English Touring Opera, and Don José again in the Royal Opera’s co-production with the Taiwan National Symphony.
(WDCS - Verdi Requiem)

 Katarzyna Balejko, Mezzo Soprano
Katarzyna Balejko - Mezzo-soprano
Polish born mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Balejko began her musical training as a violinist studying for 12 years at Witold Lutoslawski Primary and Secondary Music School in Kielce. She completed her undergraduate training in vocal and drama at Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. During the course she performed as Lucy in The beggar’s opera and as Rinaldo in Handel’s Rinaldo – both productions of Academy of Music in Katowice for G.G Gorczycki’s International Festival.

Katarzyna has graduated with distinction from postgraduate vocal course at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and was awarded Concert Recital Diploma for her final recital. Kasia is currently a student of the Opera Course at the Guildhall School where she recently appeared as Colombina in Le donne curiose by E. Wolf-Ferrari.

She also took part in Opera Scenes performance in Studio Theatre in Milton Court and in The Buick Grand Theatre in Shanghai (China).Kasia’s future engagements include: role of Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Opera Makers performance at The Clore Studio in Royal Opera House, alto solo part in Verdi Requiem in St. Batholomew’s Church in Brighton and role of Judith in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle in West Road Hall, Cambridge.

Kasia is generously supported by Dr Michael Shipley and Mr Philip Rudge.
(WDCS - Nelson Mass & Vivaldi Gloria)

 Mark Chaundy, Tenor
Mark Chaundy - Tenor
Mark studied at Magdalen College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music winning various awards including an NFMS Award, a Samling Scholarship and Susan Chilcott Bursary.
Concert appearances include Messiah with the CBSO, Brubeck’s La Fiesta de la Posada at the Barbican, and Haydn’s Creation with the Northern Sinfonia.As a WNO Associate Artist he has sung Rodrigo Othello, understudied Lenski Eugene Onegin, The Duke Rigoletto, Kudrjas Kát’a Kabanová, Giove in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and sung various roles in a Scottish Opera Essential Tour and 1st Trojan Man Idomeneo and Giuseppe La traviata for Glyndebourne on Tour.

As a recitalist he has performed with Iain Burnside and Roger Vignoles at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Ludlow Song Festival and his recordings include Durufle’s Messe Cum Jubilo for Harmonia Mundi.Some recent highlights and future performances include Satyavan in Holst’s Savitri with ‘Choros’, Steersman (cover) Wagner The Flying Dutchman for ENO, stagings of Carissimi Jephthe with a recording for Harmonia Mundi, Aminta in Handel’s Atalanta for Cambridge Handel Opera, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle for Lewisham Choral Society, Schubert  Mass in Ab for Salisbury Choral Society, Beethoven 9 at St Albans Abbey, Beethoven Missa Solemnis at Dorchester Abbey and Mozart Requiem at The Royal Festival Hall.
(WDCS - Messiah)

 Mark Pescott, Organist
Mark Pescott - Organist
Mark lives in Kettering and teaches pianoforte at Northampton School for Boys.He is the Assistant Director of Music at the parish church of Ss Peter & Paul, Kettering. In addition to his teaching commitments, he has worked as a répétiteur for the Royal Academy of Dance in London, the Birmingham Royal Ballet Company and their education department.

He was involved with the latter’s “Ballet Hoo” project, broadcast by Channel 4 television in 1996.In 2009, he was the organist for the Schools Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall.In June and July 2011 he was the organist for Earl Spencer’s wedding at Althorp House and for the Duchess of Buccleuch & Queensberry’s memorial service.

In November 2014 he was organist for the Thanksgiving Service of the late Hugh de Capell Brooke, and is much in demand as an accompanist and organist.
(WDCS - St Paul - 'It's Christmas Time' Concert 2016)

 Nick Allen, Tenor
Nick Allen - Tenor
Nick graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2011. Last summer he played the roles of Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado in the inaugural UK tour of the Official Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company. Other roles include ‘Tobias’ in Jonathan Dove’s opera, Tobias and the Angel, and ‘Defendant’ in G&S’ Trial by Jury. He understudied the role of ‘Damon’ in Acis and Galatea under the late Sir Charles Mackerras) at the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh. His wide oratorio experience includes tenor solos in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Creation and Nelson Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, Michael Haydn’s Missa pro Defunctis, Ramirez’s Navidad Nuestra and the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion. In 2013 Nick performed Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings as part of the centenary celebrations.

Nick attended the seven-week summer opera course held in Banff, Canada, where he made his operatic debut as Peter Quint in the Benjamin Britten opera The Turn of the Screw as part of the annual Banff Summer Arts Festival. Nick has collaborated as a soloist with numerous contemporary composers and performed their new works at venues including the Wigmore Hall and St. John’s, Smith Square. In 2011 and 2012 at the Barbican Pit Theatre he played the role of English composer Herbert Howells in A Soldier and a Maker - a play written and directed by Iain Burnside based on the life and music of Ivor Gurney. Nick was also part of the radio version of the play for BBC Radio 3.
(WDCS - Nelson Mass & Vivaldi Gloria)

 Nicola Hooke, Soprano
Nicola Hooke - Soprano
Nicola studied flute and piano at Trinity College of Music, London, and has taught flute for many years. In recent years she has studied singing with Norman Welsby (former Principal Baritone at Covent Garden and Sadler’s Wells).

She appears regularly as a soloist with Adoramus, a Christian choir based in North London, and in 2012 became a founder member of the Asaph Ensemble, a five piece ensemble with two sopranos, two trumpets and an organist.

Her work with Adoramus and the Asaph Ensemble has included work in Italy, France and Turkey, as well as across England. She has recently returned from Turkey, where she performed Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ and Mozart’s Laudate Dominum in the Osman Gazi Hall, Ataturk Congress and Cultural Centre in Bursa.

Nicola has been involved, as a singer and flautist, with several BBC TV and Radio broadcasts for religious programmes, and has sung roles in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel for St Albans Chamber Opera. Most recently she sang the demanding role of ‘Elle’ in Poulenc’s opera for solo soprano, ‘La Voix Humaine’.

Other recent performances have included Haydn’s Little Organ Mass with Potters Bar Choral Society, Mozart Requiem with Enfield Choral Society and two concerts of Mozart Concert Arias and Grieg songs with Enfield Chamber Orchestra. Nicola lives in North London with her husband and their three teenage sons.
(WDCS - Stabat Mater)

 Nicolas Salwey, Pianist
Nicholas Salwey - Pianist
Nicholas Salwey graduated from Oxford in 1990 with a First in Music whilst also gaining performers diplomas from the Royal College and the Guildhall School of Music.

After a Masters in Politics from the LSE and a stint as a reluctant eurocrat at the European Commission, he made a rapid return to music, teaching piano, composition, academic music and coaching chamber music at Eton and Winchester Colleges, and at Oxford University, where he was a Lecturer at New College.

He gained a doctorate in 2001 for a thesis on late 18th-century piano music about which he has published articles for books and journals in the UK and Austria, as well as several entries for the Dictionary of National Biography.Nick has performed on ITV, Channel 4 and Radio 3, has reviewed for The Independent and the New York Observer, and he is on the review panel of International Record Review and International Piano Magazine.

In 2002, he joined the full-time staff at Winchester College, where he is Head of Piano and Deputy Master of Music.
(WDCS - Brahms Requiem)

 Piran Legg, Baritone
Piran Legg - Baritone
Piran Legg graduated as a baritone from the Guildhall Opera School in the summer of 2014 and has since begun his studies on the Artist’s Diploma with Kate Paterson.

He made his operatic debut at the Wexford Festival singing chorus and small roles and has previously performed in 2012 at Garsington, as cover Alcandro in Vivaldi’s L’Olimpiade and The Guide, Boy on boat and Polish Father in Britten’s Death in Venice in the summer of 2015. In addition to this Piran, whilst working as a Garsington Young Artist, understudied the role of the Notary in Strauss’s comic romance, Intermezzo.

Recent highlights include a debut at the Cadogan Hall singing Schaunard in La Boheme, assuming the title mantle of a crusty old codger with a prosthetic nose in The Cooper by Thomas Arne at the Guildhall School, as well taking a young artist position at Iford in Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses with Christian Curnyn.

In October Piran made a return to Cadogan Hall singing the role of Danieli in Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot with Chelsea Opera Group.A busy concert schedule is planned over the coming months, with performances of Handel’s Messiah around the U.K. and a performance of the Bach Christmas Oratorio on the 23rd of December in Berkhampstead. Piran was an International Opera Awards bursary winner 2014-2015 and is grateful for the financial support of The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and Serena Fenwick.
(WDCS - Nelson Mass - Vivaldi Gloria - Mozart Requiem - Messiah)

Russell Painter - Tenor
Russell gained his BMus and MMus at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study voice on an unconditional place under the tutelage of Mr Ian Kennedy. After leaving college, Russell has made his mark as a freelance singer up and down the country and on the continent and is in great demand. Opera credits include Tamino (The Magic Flute), Title role in Albert Herring, Pedrillo (The Abduction from the Seraglio), Don Basillio (The Marriage of Figaro), Don Jose (Carmen), Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville) Gaston (La Traviata) and the second brother in the world premiere of Laurence Roman’s Isabella and the Pot of Basil at Covent Garden and Buxton.Choral works include Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Nelson Mass & The Seasons, Charpentier’s Messe De Minuit & Te Deum, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle, Haazen’s Missa Luba, Mozart’s Requiem, Vesperae Solennes & Coronation Mass, Rossini’s Petite Messe, Stainer’s Crucifixion,Beethoven’s Choral Symphony, Britten’s St Nicholas, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana and numerous Bach cantatas and passions singing the role of the Evangelist.
As a performer Russell has a very keen interest in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, going so far as to write his Master’s thesis on their life and music. He has performed many of the principal tenor roles across the Savoy opera range and has performed the rare full length version of Sullivan’s Cox and Box for its 100th anniversary for the Sullivan society, and again for the society in early 2019 performed Sullivan’s song cycle The Window to great acclaim. Russell has also been accepted as principal tenor for the Gryms Dyke opera company, performing the G&S cannon throughout the year in the prestigious home on W.S Gilbert. 
As well as performing, Russell has been musically directing musical theatre and other types of theatrical performances for over twenty years. Of all the numerous shows that Russell has musically directed, his highlight has to be the performance of Bayside, the musical in London’s West End where he was praised by reviewers for outstanding musical arrangements. All the shows have included Ghost, Les Miserables, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and All Shook Up.
Future projects include entertainment at Trinity College Cambridge, A Sullivan rarity’s concert at Conway Hall, Box in Cox and Box at the National Liberal Club and a new musical called Guillotine, which will be premiered in May 2024.
Russell is delighted to be asked to perform with Wombourne Choral Society, not only because he loves Christmas, but also he gets to work with two fellow musicians, Jonathan and Edd who have never graced the stage altogether before.
(WDCS - Christmas Concert - Wombourne - December 2023)

 Rosie Lomas, Soprano
Rosie Lomas - Soprano
Rosie Lomas studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London where she graduated with a distinction in her final recital.

She made her operatic debut as the thirteen year old American Suburban Girl in English National Opera’s world premiere production of Two Boys. In January 2013 she performed the two children’s roles of Lucy and Josh in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American at Madrid’s Teatro Real. She repeated this role at ENO in the UK première.Other operatic roles include Flora in The Turn of the Screw at the Festival di Spoleto and First Witch and Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas in London and on tour in Italy and Germany.

Recent concert work includes excerpts from Handel’s Solomon with countertenor James Bowman in a celebratory concert in aid of The Foundling Hospital, and Haydn Nelson Mass with Choir of the Twenty First Century at Christ Church, London.

She was a finalist in the 2015 London Bach Society Singing Competition and sang in Andreas Scholl Master Classess as a Britten Pears Young Artist. She performed Flora Turn of the Screw for the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw and for Opera Holland Park.

She also gave further performances of The Perfect American with Opera Queensland at the Brisbane Festival, as well as Cupid Venus and Adonis on tour in the UK and Italy.
(WDCS - St Matthew Passion - Mozart Requiem - Messiah)

 Samantha Carrasco, Pianist
Samantha Carrasco - Pianist
Samantha Carrasco is a highly skilled soloist, accompanist, orchestral player and chamber musician and has developed an impressive reputation as a teacher and ensemble coach.Samantha studied with Yonty Solomon at the Royal College of Music, London, where she was awarded an Exhibition Scholarship. She obtained a Bmus(Hons) degree in 1998, the ARCM teaching diploma and was subsequently awarded the Phoebe Benham and Leverhulme Junior Fellowship from the College.

In 2001, Samantha later completed a Mmus performance degree with distinction in 2008 from Southampton University and she has just completed a PhD, studying the music collection of Jane Austen and her family.Samantha Carrasco is in great demand as a recitalist, performing in London, festivals nationwide and all over the world. She has performed most of the major solo concerto repertoire including Grieg, Schumann, Tchaikovsky No.1, Rachmaninoff No.2, Mozart K466, K467 and K488 and Beethoven 3rd and 5th piano concertos.

She has also become a sought-after accompanist working in many differing duo partnerships and for the Associated Board.Samantha has broadcast live on BBC Radio3 and Classic FM with the highly successful Newbold Piano Quartet. This prestigious quartet won the Rio Tinto Ensemble Award and Miller Trophy from the Royal Overseas League competition, the Parkhouse Award, the Tillett Trust Young Artists Platform and the Tunnell Trust Competition.In 1999 Samantha performed both her Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room debuts to critical acclaim.

She has since performed in all the major London venues including Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Barbican, St. Martins-in-the-Fields, St. James Piccadilly and Fairfield Hall, Croydon. Her versatile skills enabled her to develop very successful cross-over concerts of Classical to Jazz music, and she worked with a 10-piece band on major cruise lines worldwide including Cunard, Holland Amercia, Princess and Celebrity during 2002-2005.

She is on the teaching staff at Southampton University and Winchester College and Samantha is an examiner, trainer and moderator for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music nationally and internationally in the fields of classical music, jazz and diplomas. She currently plays orchestral piano with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
(WDCS - Brahms Requiem)

Samantha Crawford - Soprano
British Australian soprano Samantha Crawford was awarded the Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 Berliner International Music Competition and The 2017/18 NSW Wagner Society Award for Emerging Wagner Singers. In 2016 she won First Prize and the President’s Prize at the Wagner Society Singing Competition in London and was a Royal Philharmonic Society Chilcott Award finalist.

In 2018 Samantha was finalist for the inaugural Hong Kong International Operatic Singing Competition at Hong Kong City Hall, chaired by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Critics have praised her performances as a singer ‘whose fine cut soprano brought singing of class,’ (Opera) and bringing ‘a most complete portrayal,’ to her roles (Financial Times).

Upcoming engagements include her return to Teatro Real Madrid for Der Ring des Nibelungen, directed by Robert Carsen, Rossini’s Stabat Mater at St James’ Lincolnshire, Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder at the Newbury Spring Festival, Verdi’s Requiem, and concerts with CAM (Celebrating Australian Music) and London Song Festival.

Samantha graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Opera Course with Distinction, as a Baroness de Turckheim Scholar. She is an alumna of the Wagner Bayreuth Stipendium, Britten-Pears, and Garsington Alvarez Young Artist Programmes.
(WDCS - Verdi Requiem)
(See more information about Samantha on her website : www.samanthacrawford.com)

Samantha Crawford, Soprano soloist commented "Choral Singing is an important part of British musical culture and heritage. It was a pleasure to perform with the Wombourne and District Choral Society for their 90th year celebration concert of Verdi’s Requiem. It is immensely rewarding to sing such a great work. Long may the opportunities for professionals and amateurs alike to be able to lift up their voices in unison. I firmly believe singing is good for the soul. Choral societies do much to encourage local community and bring the joy of singing to both performers and audience members."

Sarah Pring - Mezzo-Soprano
British mezzo-soprano Sarah Pring began her professional career at Glyndebourne, where her roles have most recently included Gamekeeper’s Wife (The Cunning Little Vixen).

She has performed for companies including English National Opera, The Grange Festival, Grange Park Opera, Opera Holland Park, Opera North and Welsh National Opera, in such repertory as Mrs Grose (The Turn of the Screw), Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor), the Marquise de Berkenfield (La Fille du régiment), Lady Bertram (Mansfield Park), Mrs Alexander (Satyagraha), Marthe Schwertlein (Faust), Mother (Hänsel und Gretel), Mamma Lucia (Cavalleria rusticana), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Ragonde (Le Comte Ory) and Mary (Der fliegende Holländer). International engagements include Madame Larina (Eugene Onegin) for Stuttgart Opera and Zita (Gianni Schicchi) for Singapore Lyric Opera.

Sarah Pring is a professor of singing at the Birmingham Conservatoire and the GSMD.
(WDCS - Verdi Requiem)

 Stephen Moore, Organist
Stephen Moore - Organist
Stephen is Director of Music at St Matthew’s Church, Northampton, where he oversees the day to day running of the music department and directs the choir in all choral services at the church. Stephen has continued the famous history that began with Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb over 70 years ago of commissioning new music at St Matthew’s, and under his direction the choir have given the premieres of newly commissioned works by Paul Mealor and David Halls, recorded their first CD for 20 years and undertaken several tours within the UK.

Stephen completed his undergraduate studies at Trinity College of Music, with organ as principle study, graduating in 2008 with a first class honours degree in performance and winning the college medal for the highest keyboard studies mark in his year. Whilst at Trinity he studied with William Whitehead and Colm Carey and twice won the Cardnell Organ Prize for outstanding performance. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and a Fellow of Trinity College London.

He is an active teacher and performer, and as a soloist has given recitals in numerous churches and cathedrals throughout the country, most recently Salisbury, Leicester and Wakefield Cathedrals and Christ Church Priory. He performed in the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester in 2008, and the Southern Cathedrals Festival in Salisbury in 2009. Stephen has worked as accompanist to various choirs in the Midlands and further afield in works including Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten Saint Nicolas and Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle.
(WDCS - Joseph Jongen Mass Op 130 & Bruckner Motets)

 Susan Legg, Mezzo Soprano
Susan Legg - Mezzo-Soprano
Since winning the National Mozart Singing Competition, Susan has enjoyed a flourishing career that has taken her to major concert venues worldwide. Specialising in contemporary song, lieder and chanson, she is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and has recorded for Norwegian Radio. Legendary mezzo Christa Ludwig described Susan’s lyric mezzo as ‘a beautiful voice with a fine coloratura’.

Susan has given recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, St. John, Smith’s Square and opera galas at St. James’s Palace and British Embassies in Moscow, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Stockholm. Operatic engagements include Glyndebourne, Bayreuth, Wexford and Aldeburgh and the Walton Trust, Ischia. Susan has performed all Elgar’s works, Bach’s Passions, Verdi and Mozart Requiems and toured Handel’s Messiah in Mexico.

She regularly records film, TV and video game soundtracks and freelances with the BBC Singers.Other accolades include the Richard Tauber Schubert Society Prize; Tillett Trust’s Young Artists’ Platform; finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and Belvedere International Singing Competition, Vienna and being British representative in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition, Norway.In a celebrated duo with pianist Ann Martin-Davis, their unique CD of Lutoslawski chamber music for ASV Label was described as ‘beautiful and exquisite’ by BBC Music Magazine.

A further disc for Nimbus Heaven-Haven - The Songs of Peter Pope rediscovered a forgotten English composer. The duo commissioned pioneering song-cycles from Graham Fitkin, Howard Skempton and Gabriel Jackson, which toured major UK music and poetry festivals. Their latest project Mr James’ Garden: Jardin de los Sueños celebrates music, sculpture and Edward James’s surrealist Mexican garden Las Pozas. With specially commissioned Mexican artwork, performances in Henley and Petworth Festivals followed premieres in Mexico City.Susan studied singing with Margaret Kingsley at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio and piano with Clifford Benson and Phyllis Sellick.
(WDCS - Messiah)

Suzie Purkis - Mezzo-Soprano
UK based singer and performer Suzie Purkis began her vocal training at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she won a scholarship and many prizes.

After completing her studies, she was awarded a medal for Excellence in Performance from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and went on to complete the Opera Works course at English National Opera.

Since graduating she has been employed by Diva Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Kentish Opera, Heritage Opera and Graham Vick’s Birmingham Opera Company.

Operatic roles include Carmen (Carmen – in English) for Kentish Opera and Heritage Opera; Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Juno (Semele) for Operamus; Minerve (Orphée aux Enfers) for Diva Opera; Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea) for Birmingham Conservatoire; First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) for mac Productions/Sampad.

With a special interest in performing new music, Suzie has sung Boulez to Pierre Boulez and Andriessen to Louis Andriessen. She has also been a soloist on several recordings and BBC radio broadcasts and is featured on a forthcoming album by Michael Wolters.She has sung opera in a swimming pool, performed in an ice rink during public skatinghours and even sung in a cage in a zoo on German television!

Plans for 2022 include: concerts with the a cappella group ‘Papagena’; her debut in the role of the Angel in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius; mezzo soloist in Duruflé’s Requiem; alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah and operatic concerts with the Orchestra of St John’s.

Suzie is currently Head of Singing at a leading independent school in North London and has strong ties with Music of Life Foundation, Choir with No Name, for people affected by homelessness, and Beating Time, an initiative to establish choirs in prisons.
(WDCS - Faure & Durufle Requiems - April 2022)

 William Branston, Tenor
William Branston - Tenor
Welsh tenor William is a postgraduate student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance studying with Lynton Atkinson.

Recent performances include premiering the role of Gehazi in Stephen McNeff’s ‘The Burning Boy’ with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Lucano/Liberto in ‘L’incoronazione di Poppea’ (Monteverdi) with Hampstead Garden Opera.With Trinity Laban Postgraduate Opera Scenes he has performed the roles of Essex in ‘Gloriana’, Albert in ‘Albert Herring’, Quint in ‘Turn of the Screw’ (Britten) and Paolino in ‘Il Matrimonio Segreto’ (Cimarosa).

He was also selected as a soloist to perform in the Schumann Concert Series at Trinity Laban. Other recent performances include Tenor Soloist in Dvorák’s ‘Stabat Mater’ with King’s College Chorus, ‘Mozart Requiem’ with Chipping Campden Festival Chorus and Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with The Waynflete Singers at Winchester Cathedral.Alongside his studies William was elected Vice President of Music on the Trinity Laban Students’ Union, a position he will hold until August 2018.He is very grateful for funding from Help Musicians UK and the Drapers’ De Turckheim Scholarship which will help him continue his studies this year.
(WDCS - Mozart Requiem)

 Willaim Searle, Bass
William Searle - Bass
William Searle’s promising solo career has seen him performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, with Graham Johnson at the Wigmore Hall and in a world premiere at Carnegie Hall. Originally from Cardiff, he currently studies with Adrian Thompson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, following a Music BA at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Oratorio repertoire has included J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), St John Passion (The Gippeswyk Singers) and Christmas Oratorio (St John’s, Waterloo), Britten’s St Nicolas (South Nutfield Choral Society), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra), Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Southend Festival Chorus), Monteverdi’s Vespri della Beata Vergine (English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble), Mozart’s Requiem (Croydon Minster), Handel’s Messiah (Chapel Royal Tower of London), Stainer’s The Crucifixion (Chapel Royal Tower of London), Pärt’s Passio, Stockhausen’s Stimmung (both The Façade Ensemble), Maxwell-Davies’ Solstice of Light (Cantate) and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (LSO Discovery). He has also recently completed recording a disc of the lieder of Robert Franz alongside the pianist Marc Verter.

A graduate of the National Youth Theatre, William is an accomplished stage performer, with recent roles ranging across Tony in West Side Story (Up The Hill), Beppe in Pagliacci (GSMD Opera Scenes), Anatol in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (Brickhouse Theatre), the title role in Idomeneo (Up The Hill), Parpignol in La Bohème (Sinfonia d’Amici - Cadogan Hall) and the immersive West End show You Me Bum Bum Train.

Having trained with Llandaff Cathedral Choir, Gloucester Cathedral Choir, the Genesis Sixteen and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship Scheme, William maintains a busy schedule of choral and consort singing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Early Opera Company, Arcangelo, the Chapel Royal at the Tower of London, Mogens Dahl Kammerkor, the William Byrd Choir and the London Handel Festival.
(WDCS - Schubert Mass - Messiah (Tenor))

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