Robert says that learning to sing properly is one of the hardest things he has ever tried to do. His musical life started at school with trumpet and piano, playing the trumpet with the Staffordshire County Youth Orchestra from 1972 to 1976. He started singing in 2004 when he joined Philomusica, taking lessons with Linda Parsons and, since 2012, with David Crown. He now makes regular appearnces as a solist with the choir. Since 2011 Robert hs also been musical director of Musyck Annon, an a capella choirbased in Evesham, which performs regularly in many local venues, often dressed in 16th century costume. Robert lives in Braodway, Worcestershire, with his wife Helen. His professional time is spent training actuaries with a small education company based in Abingdon.
David originates from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and has performed in many venues in and around the Three Counties including Gloucester Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey, Cheltenham Town Hall and Pershore Abbey. He has a large repertoire ranging from the Bach Passions to Vaughan Williams although his particular love is the music of Sir Edward Elgar. He began his vocal studies with David Backhouse, whilst still at school, and continued with Barry Faber at the Cheltenham Music Centre. He is currently studying with John Mitchinson and Linda Parsons and has been fortunate enough to take part in a number of Masterclasses, one with the famous British soprano, Rae Woodland, Sarah Walker and Roderick Williams. His repertoire includes Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony and The Five Mystical Songs, Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's The Creation, the parts of Judas and Jesus in Elgar's The Apostles & Peter in Elgar's The Kingdom and many other works. As well as singing with Philomusica David is a member of the quartet, The Songbards.
James has been playing the piano from a very early age but only took up singing when he joined the Bath Spa University Choir as part of his first year BA course. He was then invited to become the choir’s rehearsal accompanist, remaining in that role for three years. He also accompanied the Chamber Choir and acted as répetiteur for several opera and music theatre productions. He found himself in great demand to accompany fellow students in their singing or instrumental recitals. At the same time he continued to develop as a solo pianist and had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with several distinguished pianists, including Steven Osborne.
During his studies at Bath Spa University James also had the chance to conduct the University Choir on several occasions, including performances of Zadok The Priest and some of Tippett’s Five Spirituals in concerts given in Bath Abbey.
James is the Accompanist for Churchdown Male Voice Choir. A recent highlight was a concert in Tewkesbury Abbey at which he accompanied 300 singers from ten choirs at the 2013 English Association of Male Voice Choirs concert. The choir has recently returned from a tour to North Wales where James accompanied both the choir and soloist Sue Black. Other soloists James has accompanied include Kate Bennett and Kathryn Skipp. He is regularly invited to play for other local choirs, including The Severnside Singers, and the Innsworth Military Wives Choir.
After obtaining the degrees of Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music Performance from Bath Spa University James returned home to Gloucester and he joined Philomusica in January 2012.
Derek has sung in choirs throughout his life. He went to Brentwood School, Essex where there was a strong musical tradition. He sang as a soloist in the chapel choir which had the honour of singing several services at St Paul's when the Cathedral choir was on tour; he has also sung at St Albans and Canterbury. The school choir also sang with the town choral society. While at London University he sang with the Royal College of Music mixed choir. He has been a member of several societies and joined Philomusica some eight years ago. His other musical interest is making and playing brass instruments. Recently he has taken a deeper interest in the valveless natural or "Baroque trumpet", The trumpet he plays is one he constructed himself from brass sheet using traditional methods. It is a replica of an instrument by Hanns Hainlein from 1632 - the original is in the Munchener Stadtmuseum. Derek also plays and sings with the Midlands Early Music Forum.