Choirleaders leading workshops at Choirlab22
Jo works in Bath and nationally as a vocalist, Musical Director and workshop leader and is particularly keen to make singing accessible to all, regardless of skill or experience. Her busy workshops schedule is a testament to her flair for encouraging creativity in others as she travels the country working with adult singing groups, community choirs, schools and colleges, businesses and leisure-time learning institutions. She’s even taken to singing upon the high seas, working with world cruise passengers sailing round the Far East and the Caribbean! Closer to home, she founded and directs the Bath Community Gospel Choir and the Vivid gospel trio, teaches Singing for Actors at Bath Spa University and creates original music with Young Carers through Bath Philharmonia’s Education programme & Outreach. Jo enjoys her role as President of the Priston Music Festival and working as a workshop leader for The Ambassador Theatre Group in London’s West End.
Clara teaches songs from around the world in a range of styles, with a preference for pieces
that tell a story or carry meaning, particularly around themes of nature, community and unity.
Her teaching style is clear, fun and lighthearted. She is able to guide a large group of singers
of mixed ability in song in a way that is satisfying and meaningful for all. Clara's expressive
voice and excellent musicality helps make learning songs with her an enjoyable experience.
Clara studied music at Bath Spa University specialising in jazz voice and performs with a
number of groups in Bath and Wiltshire including Cantamus Chamber Choir, Rolling
Harmony, GBH Big Band, as a classical soloist, and with her own jazz trio. As a performer,
she is known for her clear and expressive tone, often likened to Ella Fitzgerald.
Clara leads Clarity Choirs in Bath and Trowbridge, and runs Sing with Clarity singing
workshops. "I believe that singing brings people together; it breaks down all barriers and
connects us with the thing we all have in common: a voice. I find great joy in singing with
I have sung in choirs since I was seven - Ely Cathedral, King's College Cambridge - and was one of the original King's Singers. I founded Bath Camerata, taught singing at Wells Cathedral School for 25 years and have conducted the Bath Bach Choir for 32 years. Choral music is my passion: singing in a choir can be the ultimate bonding of like minds, always physically stimulating and artistically rewarding.
Tim graduated with a BA Hons in Music from Oxford Brookes University and gained his Post-Graduate degree at Bath Spa University. He is an experienced musical director, choral conductor and performer, with the ability to cross between classical, gospel, musical theatre and other popular styles. He is choral director of Vocal Works Gospel Choir - with whom he has performed in over 800 gigs and has recorded several albums. He has performed with artists including Take That, The Heavy, Reef, Susan Boyle and Kerry Ellis, and on masterclasses with Hadley Fraser, Oliver Thompsett, Kerry Ellis, Rosie Ashe, Julie Atherton, Rosalie Craig and Mary Hammond.
Tim's musical theatre credits include the national tour of The Brownings (with Anton Rogers), Into The Woods, Seussical and Hot Mikado (The Tobacco Factory), A Little Night Music, The Witches of Eastwick and Hair (Academy Theatre), Starting Here Starting Now (Wickham Theatre).
Jess is a singer, choir leader, arranger, and vocal performance coach based in South-West England.
Since graduating from Sir Paul McCartney’s prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2011, Jess has worked as a professional singer and performer across the UK & abroad. In 2016, she moved back to her native South-West with her husband, also a musician, and quickly established herself as a leading voice on the Bristol choral scene, conducting and arranging for much-loved Bristol choirs including Gasworks, Riff Raff and Bristol Voices as well as co-founding the hugely-popular Bristol Show Choir & Bath Show Choir.
Jess LOVES choirs. She loves the magic of hearing harmonies come together, the joy of belting out your favourite song, but most importantly, Jess has seen first hand how choirs can strengthen bonds of friendship & community and the incredible positive impact they have on mental health.
A varied career in education and performing has led trumpeter and conductor Mike to work with a
plethora of incredible musicians including world leaders in jazz and baroque music. As such he has
developed a conducting style formed from stylistic integrity with clarity and passion and fed by a
broad and eclectic experience.
He is Music Director of Cantamus Chamber Choir performing varied standard and non-standard
repertoire including several of Haydn’s masses, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonelle, Kodaly, Ola Gjielo’s
Sunrise Mass, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, the UK premiere of Nils Lindberg Christmas Cantata with
GBH Big Band, also performing Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions with English Touring Opera
and the Old Street Band. He has tackled fabulous repertoire with the male choir Men with Horns
including Schubert, Bruckner and notably Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody.
As Musical Director of the WMC Chorus based at the Wiltshire Music Centre he has worked with
English Touring Opera training the chorus for a staged performance of Weill’s The Silver Lake in 2019
and for the the Bach Passions, also working with Gwilym Simcock on a new commission for jazz
nonet and choir. Most recently he has trained the chorus, working alongside Tenebrae and Voces8
for performances at the WMC. Community productions of African Sanctus and Britten’s Noyes
Fludde have helped develop his passion for bringing professionals, amateurs and young musicians
together to make high quality performances. He has conducted Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert with
three choirs, big band and jazz vocalist Tina May and in 2018 instigated and conducted only the
second performance of Soulful Messiah – A Celebration with Black Voices and Town Hall Gospel
Choir from Birmingham and newly formed Soul Celebration Community Choir. Such was the success
of the project it is planned to take this extraordinary work to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.
As a jazz educator he leads the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and Wiltshire Jazz Academy, one of
NYJO’s regional hubs and is MD of GBH Big Band working with Claire Martin, Georgina Jackson, Jason
Rebello, Dennis Rollins, Gwilym Simcock, Jason Yarde, Scott Stroman and many of the country’s
finest jazz musicians.
A truly collaborative musician always looking for new musical opportunities, he’s not all about one
kind of music!
Jessa Liversidge is a singer and singing leader based in North Yorkshire, delighted to be taking part in this year's Choirlab after a succesful debut at the Virtual Choirlab in 2021.
As a singer, she has delighted audiences with her one-woman shows, with a versatile range from emotional pop, musical theatre, and folk ballads to rip-roaring comedy and vintage classics. In the past two years, Jessa has become the "fieldsinger", broadcasting a live outdoor sing every Saturday, whatever the weather, keeping people connected and entertained through challenging times.
Jessa helps people find confidence and joy in singing, put their cares and worries to one side, and lift their spirits in song, working with all abilities from professional singers to those who claim they "can't sing". Her encouraging leading style makes her popular with her regular choirs, which range from her inclusive, dementia-friendly "Singing For All with Jessa CIC" groups and uplifting "Community Singers" choirs to the emotional York Military Wives Choir and the adorable Wigginton Singstars. Through her unstoppable work online during 2020-2021, Jessa was awarded a "Hambleton Heroes" award for her services to the keeping the community together, and was nominated in two categories in the Music Teacher Awards 2021, inspired by her zoom choirs and live YouTube singing sessions for York Music Hub as well as her consistent output of online singing sessions and performances through lockdowns.
As a choir leader, Jessa has performed at venues such as York Minster, Leeds Town Hall, Castle Howard, and York Barbican as well as numerous community theatres, church halls, and rainy Summer fairs! An engaging and energetic leader, Jessa brings her wide and varied experience, musical skills and training to her singing leading, helping people develop their own vocal technique positively and safely, but with a sense of fun and an emphasis on enjoyment. Her creativity and enthusiasm is infectious, and her use of live looping and original songs makes her sessions unique and inspiring.
Ben Sawyer is a conductor, countertenor and educator based in Gloucestershire. He is
much in demand for his affable, engaging and meticulous approach, and for his ability to
get the best out of singers.
As a conductor, he has a busy schedule conducting a number of choirs on a regular basis.
He has been director of award-winning chamber choir, The Oriel Singers since February
2015, having led Tyndale Choral Society since 2013, and until recently, Hanley Voices. In
January 2019 he founded Gloucestershire Boys’ Choir, working to bring confidence to
boys through a love of singing. He has been co-director of Gloucestershire Youth Choir
since September 2012.
Ben loves ambitious projects, and in June 2018, he directed a major collaborative
performance of Jonathan Dove’s ‘For an Unknown Soldier’ in Tewkesbury Abbey. He was
Assistant Conductor for Cheltenham Festival’s production of Benjamin Britten’s community
opera, ‘Noye’s Fludde’ in July 2013, and in July 2019, he conducted ‘The Burning Boy’, a
community opera by Stephen McNeff as part of the Three Choirs Festival that year. He
leads popular ‘Come and Sing’ days, workshops and masterclasses, including for the
National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and at the UK Choir Festival, and is complimented
for his good-humoured, informative and engaging sessions. In 2017, Ben was a judge on
the Sky One talent show, ‘Sing: Ultimate A Cappella’.
Aside from conducting, Ben sings countertenor. He is a member of the international award
winning male voice a cappella group, The Songmen. With The Songmen, he has toured
America, China, much of Europe and the UK. He is the group’s composer-in-residence
and has had a number of his compositions and arrangements played on national radio.
Ben is an experienced consort and cathedral singer: he has been a lay clerk at
Birmingham and Gloucester Cathedrals and sings with Tewkesbury Abbey Schola
Cantorum, as well as being in demand as a countertenor soloist. Every summer, he enjoys
singing in the Edington Festival of Music in the Liturgy.
As an educator, Ben is vocal tutor to the choristers of Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum
at Dean Close Preparatory School, including Cassian Pichler-Roca, BBC Young Chorister
of the Year 2019. He teaches singing at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, including
singers that have gained Choral Scholarships to King’s College, Cambridge and Merton
College, Oxford. Ben is in demand as a private singing tutor and directs 'Close Harmony'
at Dean Close School.
Ben is grateful to Cheltenham Arts Council for awarding him the ‘Joyner Cup’ in February
2019 for his contribution to the cultural life of Cheltenham.
Ben lives in Tewkesbury with his wife Catherine, his teenage stepson, and seven-year-old
Sophie, who is generally happy to sing along whenever Daddy practises.
Photo Credit: Eoin Schmidt-Martin
I’m Kari and I run a 120 song community choir in Nottingham as well as an online choir for ICU staff, another for NHS Blood and Transplant and a small choir in my friend’s hair salon! I create 4 part arrangements of pop songs which appeal to all of my singers and teach everything by ear.
Known online as The Creative Choir Leader, Beth has nearly 3 decades experience in choir leading and secondary music education. She has a B.Mus (education) from Queensland University, Australia and ATCL in piano.
She is the MD for the Bristol Military Wives Choir, supporting women affected by their links to the military. She is the founder and MD for The Great Day Choir, a multi choir network helping women across the Bath and Bristol area find fun, friendship and purpose through singing.
During the pandemic, Beth set up The Creative Choir Leader, an online blog, membership and forum supporting over 1000 choir leaders from around the world. Guests in Beth’s membership have included renowned world choral leaders including Roger Emerson, Bob Chilcott and Deke Sharon.
Beth loves to empower people through the power of singing in harmony together as a choir.
Abigail graduated from the University of Plymouth gaining a BEd Mus (Hons). She is an Estill Master Trainer, a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and has an MA in Education focusing on vocal pedagogy and health. Abigail is the vocal lead in the Performing Arts department at University Centre Weston where her primary focus is on singing pedagogy, song interpretation and Musical Theatre history and repertoire (solo and ensemble). As a self-confessed voice anorak with a passion for the human voice and its development, Abigail is fascinated by vocal research and vocal scientific developments and regularly attends summits and symposiums in both the UK, Europe and Australia. Abigail is committed to instilling confidence in her students, with vocal health being at the heart of all she does.
Natalie Veal BMus PGCE Music MISM. : Music Director of four choirs across Bristol : Writes dynamic arrangements of pop music : Singer/Pianist : proud mother : giggles too much. Natalie's love of music and singing started from a young age and her passion still continues to only grow. Natalie read music at the University of Cardiff, with a focus on accompanying, performing and conducting. She then moved to beautiful Bristol to complete a PGCE in Secondary Music at Bristol University which led to ten years as Assistant Director of Music at an independent school. Natalie's passions in music are firmly routed in the choral scene. Since becoming a freelance choral director 7 years ago, Natalie's greatest achievement is the community spirit that has grown around her choirs making beautiful music together. 'I'm completely dedicated to making choirs the best they can be and creating a truly special experience for everyone. The joy of creativity, the friendships that come with collective music making, the uplifting feeling of singing together to create one voice, the excitement, the terror and the energy that surrounds live performance is what it's all about for me'.