I have received professional training in choral music since the age of eight having been a chorister at Hexham Abbey from 2002 until 2008. After a brief interlude, I returned to the Abbey Choir pretending to be a counter-tenor while waiting for my bass voice to develop before finally unleashing it in 2012 when I was awarded a bass choral scholarship at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle. Although I am currently studying as a History undergraduate at University, I am never happier than when I’m singing! I am fortunate that leading the second bass section at the Cathedral in four services a week is just one of many choral commitments and I hope to progress as a soloist in the future.
I am originally from Plymouth, and having moved to Newcastle I have joined the Newcastle Cathedral Choir and Voices of Hope, pursuing my primary musical passion of choral singing. Day to day I teach Violin on a Wider Opportunities scheme in Sunderland. Before I moved to Newcastle I sang and worked in Blackburn and Bangor Cathedrals. I studied Musicology at Bangor University, which included a paper on Sting singing Lute songs!
As well as being a singer and percussionist, I am currently director of music for Felling Male Voice Choir, Northern Praeclassica, Sage Gateshead Male Voice Choir and co-director of Newcastle Sinfonietta, as well as conducting various other ensembles including Newcastle University Symphony Orchestra, Streetwise Opera and The Amadeus Orchestra. I’ve also been fortunate enough to conduct Royal Northern Sinfonia on two occasions, premiering new works by local composers. As a percussionist, I play with various orchestras and bands, with recent highlights including performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall.
I have been a member of Voices of Hope for a number of years, and enjoy the challenge of singing in a relatively small choir.
I've been singing since I was nine - late compared to some members of the choir, but I've made up for lost time since. I wouldn't enjoy life half as much if I didn't spend at least one evening a week singing. I'm from London, but I've moved around a fair bit, spending time in Paris, Brussels, Philadelphia, York and Dover, singing all the while, before coming to Newcastle in 2012. I've done big-choir and small-choir singing, but I must say I probably prefer small choirs, where each singer has to make a real contribution, so you can get beyond unearthing the jewel to really polishing it. When I arrived in Newcastle, Voices of Hope was the first choir I heard, in a concert at King's Hall, Newcastle University, in late 2012. I loved it, of course - and now I'm delighted to have the privilege of singing in it. Favourite concert to date? Probably A Choral Christmas with Voices of Hope, at Sage Gateshead in 2013. The choir is just the right size for an intimate concert that'll fit well in Hall Two. Luckily, Simon likes Howells almost as much as I do.
I have been involved in singing most of my life. As a boy, I was a chorister at Durham Cathedral; then a counter-tenor choral scholar at Ripon Cathedral whilst at university. I'm now a social worker for a Local Authority and on the deputy list for Newcastle Cathedral choir. Being a part of Voices of Hope is incomparable to any singing I’ve done previously. We've done so many varied performances since forming, it’s difficult to pick a favourite! However, performing live on ‘Words and Music’ for Radio Three just about tops my list. There are no visuals for the home audience to distract from the music. Therefore as a performer on radio you know it has to be perfect, and that adrenaline push really makes you work as a team.