The core aims of the choir
To make music and music-making as accessible to as many young people as possible, regardless of previous experience.
To encourage self-confidence and personal development through singing and learning together with like-minded peers.
To foster group support and team spirit through performance and competition at a high level.
To promote a sense of belonging and friendship between choir members.
To help develop a sense of achievement and pride, whether winning or losing.
To provide choral training of the highest standard, including solo tuition and small group classes as appropriate.
To enable each choir member to achieve his or her musical potential, dependent upon their enthusiasm and their readiness to develop their own skills.
To ensure that choir members are able to enjoy a range of activities outside their choral duties. These might include residential workshops, master-classes and various leisure activities during the Llangollen week.
To ensure a fair balance between choral training and discipline and the need for young people to let their hair down and have fun.
The Music Team
Music Director: Simon Earl
Music Consultant and Tutor: Mary Denniss
Accompanist, Main Choir: Lisa Timbs
Director of Training Choir: Helen Wright
Accompanist, Training Choir: Susan Ivemey
Music Librarian: John Warden
Music Director of the Highcliffe Youth Choir, Simon Earl
Simon’s career in Cathedral music has gained him an enviable reputation as a choir accompanist, director and organist. He is Director of Music at Christchurch Priory and, since the start of 2016, the Music Director of the Highcliffe Choirs.
Born and educated in Surrey, Simon’s first cathedral position was through an Organ Scholarship to Southwell Minster where he was accompanist to both the Girls’ Choir and the Minster Chorale. Simon went on to take a degree in Music at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he was an organ scholar, studying under David Sanger.
Simon performed regularly with the university orchestra and chorus, sometimes at The Sage in Gateshead. Simon was also Organ Scholar at Newcastle Cathedral, working with the choirs in their weekly round of services and accompanying them on concert tours.
Simon took on the extra responsibility of directing the lay clerks and choral scholars in the interregnum between Directors of Music. In his final year at the university, Simon became Director of Music at All Saints Church in Gosforth and Organ Scholar at St John’s College in Durham, performing in Cathedrals around the country and playing organ in two live BBC radio broadcasts. After a period as Sub-Organist at Guildford Cathedral, Simon took up his post as Assistant Director of Music at Wakefield Cathedral in January 2011.
In addition to his role as principal accompanist for the cathedral choirs, Simon regularly directed and trained the choristers and lay-clerks, invaluable experience which he now brings to the Priory and HYC. Whilst at Wakefield, Simon’s performances were featured on television and radio as well as in several CD recordings, including for the Priory label’s prestigious ‘Psalms of David’ series. Simon has performed with many large ensembles including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Northern Sinfonia and the Newcastle Bach Choir. He has worked under the baton of several notable conductors including the eminent choral conductor, Simon Halsey.
Simon is an associate of The Royal College of Organists and a much sought-after teacher, accompanist and conductor. In his free time, such as it is, Simon enjoys sailing his dinghy Windaloo and he has a passion for Indian food!
Founder and Life President: Mary Denniss
Chair: Sheila Leete
Secretary: Ann Guest
Treasurer: Robin Wilson
Music Librarian: John Warden
Publicity and Promotion: Laura McLean-Wade and Peter Leete
Digital consultant: Kate Dingley
Simon Earl and Choir representative(s) attend committee meetings by invitation.