My grandmother on my father's side is to blame for my love of music. Mercy Tapster was her name and quite an independant woman she was.....Mercy played piano for the silent movies in Canterbury back in the 1920s and, aged four or five, standing next to her as she told the stories and played with her eyes closed, straight from the heart and you could tell. My mum’s dad also is also responsible for me catching the music bug. He played piano and ran a small dance band in Herefordshire, also in the ‘20s. I have a photo of them on stage at New Year’s Eve party, 1922. No music stands – all off by heart!
It’s no surprise then that I have played piano since the age of five, and adore film music and big band music. (My Uncle Tony played Tenor Sax in Victor Sylvester's band) It was much more fun to play piano for a musical – all the songs and links, even improvise when there was a glitch on stage and they need 30 seconds to fill – music can really bring a show to life.
Enter 1974 stage left. I passed the audition to join the cast for the very first full-length production
of ’Joseph’, fresh from the pen of Lloyd-Webber and Rice: a 6-week run, two shows a day and rubbing shoulders with the young Jeremy Irons, Alan Rickman and Ben Cross. The amazing cocktail of great songs, stage lights and a powerful band made sure that music would somehow be central in my life.
2017 Director of Music/Performing Arts at All Hallows School, Somerset.... very busy!
2017 Director of Music for Cirencester Abbey900 celebrations
Commission to write choral work using Medieval Cirencester manuscripts
2016 Commission to write song for cancer charity 'Hope for Tomorrow'
2015-16 Performances of WW1 commissions music in Cheltenham and Stroud
2015 Commission to write music for Nailsworth Church's 300th anniversary
2014 Commissions to write music for the Great War commemorations
2014 Pianist for 'An Evening of Spirituals' with Tenor Robert Short in Nantwich.
2014 Accompanist for The Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts - 1st place for pupils!
2013 Pianist for The Thames Head Singers and The Stroud Light Music Choir
2011 Directed band to play ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ on the top of the Malvern Hills!
2010 Commission to write choral piece for unveiling of Last Supper painting
2009 Directed choirs at the Arnhem Memorial Service (Down Ampney Church)
2007 Directed school concerts at the Elgar Birthplace
2006-2012 Director, composer/arranger, singer - Copious Notes
2006-2012 Chairman of the Judges - South West Rotary Young Musician Final
2000-2010 Musical director for many school musicals (Guys and Dolls, Bugsy Malone, Oliver)
2002-2005 Composed and directed Evensongs at Worcester and Bristol Cathedrals
2000-2012 Organist and Pianist, Director from 2008 (Stroud Baptist Church)
2000-2010 Adjudicator of Music Competitions in many Senior schools
1999-2010 Regular accompanist at Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts
1996 Directed music tour to twin the ‘Water Towns’ of Malvern and Evian
Orchestral arranger for Ernest Read Christmas concerts (Festival Hall)
1994 Director/Conductor - The Downs Community Choir (95 SATB)
Arranged Verdi’s Requiem for 2 grand pianos and percussion (Malvern)
Founded and directed The Downs Performing Arts Summer School
1993 Co-conductor Worcester Male Voice Choir. Conducted 400 Welshmen in Worcester
Trained a group of Russian orphans for Richard Stilgoe’s musical premiere ‘Brilliant
the Dinosaur’ (Symphony Hall)
1992 Worked with Richard Stilgoe at his music course for the severely disabled (Keswick)
1992 Founder / Director - Worcestershire Youth Pop Festival
1991 Accompanist – Malvern Suzuki Strings
Accompanist for soloists at the Malvern Festival
1989 Performing Arts liaison with five Leicestershire schools to create piece for the
1988 Created and produced music theatre piece fusing Bhangra and Hip Hop (Phoenix
1986 Pianist for London Schools Choir Competition (Royal Festival Hall)
1985-9 Dancer/singer with New English Orchestra – concerts in London and Salzburg
1985 Wrote musical about life of Scott Joplin (‘Great Scott – It’s Joplin!)
Performed Hans Werner Henze world premiere of ‘Minotaur’ (Huddersfield
Contemporary Music Festival)
1984 Produced ‘Aladdin’ with a cast of 140 – an entire church congregation (Birmingham)
1983 The Soldier in Stravinsky’s ‘Soldier’s Tale’ (Birmingham)
1982-5 Piano studies with Joseph Weingarten at the Birmingham Conservatoire
Music, Drama & Dance degree at Birmingham (Nigel Fortune, John Joubert)
1979-81 Musical director/pianist for several musicals (Sweeny Todd, O What a Lovely War)
1977 Started as official music exam accompanist (ABRSM &Trinity)
1974 Six-week opening run of the very first ‘Joseph’ working alongside Jeremy Irons,
Alan Rickman & Ben Cross (Leicester Haymarket)
1969 Won a medal (Piano solo) at the Cheltenham Music Festival
1968 Started Piano lessons