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 over 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.
Below is full list of our musical leaders since the choir was formed in 1957
|1957 - 1961||Harry Ord||Conductor|
|1961 - 1964||Tom Simmons||Conductor|
|1964 - 1982||Noel J M Lee||Conductor|
|1982 - 1997||Noel J M Lee||Musical Director|
|1997 - 2007||Lynn Andrews||Musical Director|
|2007 - 2008||John Walley||Acting Musical Director|
|2008 - 2015||Mike Wells||Musical Director|
|2016 - Present||Margaret Jones||Musical Director|
John Walley has been a member of "The Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir" since January 1989. His usual role on the second 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?"
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 an Assistant Head Teacher working in a Sandwell local authority school.
Neil was promoted to Accompanist at the end of March 2003.
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 in July 2016 with a BMus First Class Honours Degree in Performance, specialising in Percussion. He is now working as a freelance pianist, percussionist, guitarist, musical director, arranger and composer. Since then, his career has included:-
Musical Direction includes: RSC Hamlet UK and International Tour (2018). Peter Pan (2017) and Aladdin (2018) at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon. Flashdance (2016) and The Wedding Singer (2017) at the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama.
Assistant Musical Direction includes: RSC The Rover at the Swan Theatre, Stratford -upon-Avon (2016-2017).
UK Tours include: Keyboard deputising on Wicked (2018), Tango Moderno (2017), The Commitments (2017).
Phil has also performed in the RSC’s Associate Schools Festival, Playmaking Festival and the Shakespeare World Congress. He has composed and produced soundtracks for WILD Zoological Park and he arranges for Percussion Ensembles at the CBSO and Birmingham Conservatoire. He regularly works and performs with local singer/songwriter Alex Jayne and has collaborated and worked on several recordings with her in the studio.
He has been appointed as Musical Director for the forthcoming UK tour of RSC’s Romeo and Juliet in 2019.
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 are available on Phils' website: www.philjamesmusician.co.uk, where you will find that every day is simply musical!
From time to time, we also use the very valuable services of our Associate Accompanist, Peter Clay, to accompany us. Peter normally resides and sings in the Bass Section, but is equally at home sat at the keyboard doing an excellent job for us