When were you a Choral Scholar here?
2011-2013 - I started part way through my first year - after the lovely Fiona Spencer (Alto) recommended I go for it (and after being rejected from Viva Voce!)
What attracted you to be a Choral Scholar?
I had attended a Catholic school, and a few girls from my school were actually scholars at the time (Emily McDonald & Lucy Ashlee). The Cathedral is also one of the only cathedrals that has a mixed voice choir - so women get a lot of opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily happen in cathedrals elsewhere. Neil Page also had a great reputation in Notts as an educator, ABRSM examiner, and DoM having been ex DoM at Uppingham School - so I knew I would learn something.
What did you get out of the experience?
Musically: the ability to sight read, read plainchant, a huge knowledge of liturgical repertoire - and being able to lead a section with confidence; the choir is a mix of scholars and very good volunteers but it is expected that the scholars are the driving force of the choir. It’s also unique that you are actually employed by the church and being paid to sing to a high standard (rather than it being a university scholarship). At the time, we were also fortunate enough to have Alex as the composer-in-residence before his DoM days and whilst he was studying at Birmingham Conservatoire, so we got to sing a lot of Patterson world premieres!
Also, many friends were made, and the appreciation from the Nottingham Catholic community was great - they really made the choir feel welcome and you were a valued asset (the Cathedral was full for all choral masses).
What did you go on to do after you left?
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, so I built up a database of places to sing back at home in London and depped for various churches on a regular basis whilst I figured it out, and worked in the travel industry alongside singing where I could fit it in. I also sang with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the London Youth Choir and Rodolfus Choir as my main youth organisations whilst I still could - which brought many more opportunities my way.
I then began to work with Gareth Malone and was a part of his Voices Choir for a couple of years, going on a UK tour, doing various TV appearances with him and album recordings - and helping with various workshops that he ran (one being getting all Football Association workers to make up their own song and sing it!!).
All this whilst also working full time in the corporate world for Mr & Mrs Smith hotels, and Travelzoo as a hotel account manager...
What are you doing now and anything coming up?
I’ve just been staffing on the summer Rodolfus Foundation Choral Courses (previously the Eton Choral Courses), but now based in Cambridge where I’ve just started studying for my Secondary Music PGCE at Homerton College.