Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir

© Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir   Registered Charity No 1106045 Email

Singing from the Heart of the Black Country


Neil Bolton

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 James

Phil joined us as Assistant Accompanist in December 2010 whilst still at secondary school. Since then, his musical career has blossomed - so much so that he is in great demand by choirs, bands, orchestras and opera companies throughout the land and beyond. This progression has been enhanced by the fact that he attended the Birmingham Conservatoire - graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Performance (Percussion and Piano).

In June of 2017 he was informed by the Royal Shakespeare Company that he will be the Musical Director for the UK and International Tour of Hamlet beginning in January 2018 - a great accolade.

Whilst we don’t see too much of Phil these days, we know that he values his roots, and that should we need his services in the future, and he is free, available and not in some far flung corner of the globe (no pun intended!) we will be able to call on him to accompany us again

.“Well Done Phil”

Further details on Phil are available on his website where you will find that every day is simply musical!


John Walley

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.


Margaret Jones

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.