© Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir Registered Charity No 1106045 Email email@example.com
Singing from the Heart of the Black Country
Margaret first discovered the joy of singing as a student at King Edward VI College, Stourbridge, but at that time was principally an instrumentalist, playing piano and flute, on which she was awarded an LTCL diploma. In a teaching career spanning 30 years, she has been a specialist music teacher, general primary practitioner and a woodwind teacher. Her current role as Music Leader at Lutley Primary School combines all of these. She has performed in Germany, Slovenia, Estonia, Slovakia and Ireland with Birmingham Festival Choral Society and is also the society archivist, having completed an MA in Music in 2008. As a choral leader, Margaret has taken part in extended courses and master classes through the Association of British Choral Directors and attended summer schools in choral direction at Shrewsbury and Sherborne. In 2012 she formed Lutley Community Voices, a mixed adult choir, who have performed at venues across the area, including Birmingham Town Hall.
Neil began reading music at the age of five, and learnt to play the recorder in a lunch-time group at infant school. He continued to play most members of the recorder family at Causeway Green Music Centre for ten years, and then joined the "Zephyr Consort", playing bass recorder until the group disbanded in 1994.
Neil's piano lessons commenced at the age of seven, and continued for eleven years, by which time he had achieved Grade 8 in piano playing. Throughout his years in school and higher education, he has learnt to play the tuba, violin and clarinet amongst other instruments, and he played clarinet in his school Wind Band, "The Sandwell Training Concert Band", and finally "The Sandwell Youth Concert Band" (as first clarinet), before leaving to concentrate on his academic studies.
Whilst at school, he played the piano in the Jazz Band, and the Bass in "Neither Brass Nor Strings" - a Steel Band, the latter making a recording in a professional studio to raise money for school funds. They also played at many school fetes, concerts, assemblies and even at a wedding and a birthday party.
Neil was appointed Assistant Accompanist to "The Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir" in May 1998, after meeting his mentor, Lynn Andrews, whilst undertaking his first teaching practice at her school. He has served as Accompanist to the "Sandwell Young Singers", a choir for school children within the Sandwell Education Authority area, and has also acted as an official accompanist at the Dudley Festival of Music Drama and Dance
In his professional life, Neil is a Teacher / Phase Director working in a Sandwell local authority school.
Neil was promoted to Accompanist at the end of March 2003
Phil is studying for his BMus (Hons) Degree Course in Percussion and Piano at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Here he plays in various ensembles and bands including the Percussion Ensemble, the Brass Band and the Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra. He has recently successfully auditioned for the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Orchestra.
He is now Musical Director for a number of local companies, including the newly formed Phoenix Theatre Company for their production of Oliver in February 2014, as Musical Director for Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company for their March 2014 production of Grease and for Willenhall Musical Theatre Company for both their Pantomime, Aladdin, in December 2013 and their April 2014 production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
He has performed solo concerts since 2004 and frequently plays a variety of instruments in the orchestra pit for musical theatre productions. He plays the Church organ for weddings and baptisms and is also a member of the Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra playing percussion and violin, and playing percussion for the Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra. He has toured Slovenia, Northern Italy, Malta and Spain with these orchestras. Phil loves rehearsing and performing with the Gentlemen Songsters and the opportunities this brings.
Phil raises money for various charities including Cancer Research UK, Chernobyl Childrens' Life Line and Help for Heroes.
We are delighted to have Phil as part of our Music Team, and look forward to working with him in the future – which, without doubt is “rosy”
Further details on Phil are available on his website www.philjamesmusician.co.uk where you will find that every day is simply musical!
ASSISTANT MUSICAL DIRECTOR
John Walley has been a member of "The Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir" since January 1989. His usual role on the front row of the Second Tenors has nothing to do with his love of rugby! John took early retirement from his position as a Civil Engineer with Sandwell Council, and first served as Choir Chairman during 1998. It was in 1998 that John, who also is a Church Organist and Choirmaster, was appointed as Deputy Conductor to "The Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir". John's musical and artistic talents are often deployed to the full when he leads the choir (some of you will have seen him conducting "This Old Man"!!!!) and the choir supporters in "songs and actions" at our regular concert afterglows and in the bar on choir tours - often ending flat on the floor at the end of leading a group singing "Who Killed Cock Robin?" John has served a number of sentences as Choir Chairman, and has also served as Concert Secretary. Recently, John filled the role of Acting Musical Director until the appointment of Mike Wells as Musical Director.