Issy started singing in her local church choir at the age of 8 and has never looked back. On leaving school, she gained a choral scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge University, where she gained a BA and MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science as well as performing in a bridesmaid’s dress at the Minack Theatre with the university G&S Society. After completing an MMus in Early Music at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she performed, toured and recorded with consort groups including the Monteverdi Choir and The Cambridge Singers, under the direction of esteemed conductors Sir John Elliot Gardiner and John Rutter.
Alongside her consort work, Issy trained as a vocal animateur with Spitalfields Music and Wigmore Hall. Subsequently, she has developed a distinctive conducting career, working with community participants alongside professional musicians to produce high-quality artistic collaborations. She was the chorus leader for the RPS award-winning We Are Shadows (2011, John Barber, Spitalfields Music) and Musical Director for the BASCA award-winning Woodwose (2013, Kerry Andrew, Wigmore Hall). More recently, she assembled a chorus of all-comers for the London premiere of David Lang’s Crowd Out, a site-specific outdoors celebration of “1,000 whispering, shouting and singing voices” (2014, Spitalfields Music). She was shortlisted for the 2015 Arts Foundation Fellowship in choral conducting.
Currently Issy is working at the Royal Opera House on All Together Opera, working with elderly singers of all abilities. In addition, she has delivered vocal projects and training for Opera North, Britten Sinfonia and the Royal Academy of Music.
In the summer of 2008 Wigmore Hall asked Issy to set up and run a pilot-project community choir for the Harrow Road area with funding from the local councillors. This involved meeting community members, flyering estates and running taster sessions in the area. The project was a great success; there was demand to keep the choir running and so All Sing! Harrow Road Community Choir was born. Issy is delighted to have such a long-standing relationship with this special choir.
Joe Bunker is a freelance musical director and vocal coach based in London. He works as an accompanist, conductor and animateur with choirs of all ages and abilities, in the UK and beyond. Joe’s dynamic personality and diverse skills have sparked collaborations with amateur and professional artists in theatres, prisons, workplaces, schools and colleges in the UK and abroad for the past ten years.
Jonathan read music at the University of Cambridge, receiving a BA (Hons) and MPhil, before going to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. Since then, he has worked as an actor, singer and musical director for numerous productions in the West End, the UK and Europe. He is currently a musical director for the Royal Shakespeare Company and has worked on its recent productions of The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Oppenheimer, Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist. Jonathan also works regularly for the education departments of the Royal Opera, Wigmore Hall and English National Opera, providing workshops for children, students and families.
I do love singing, even though I avoided it for many years because my mother had such a beautiful voice, I was intimidated. Eventually I took some lessons and it was suggested I join the All Sing Choir to get experience of singing with other people. I arrived just before the break, and just as the committee was changing over and we were applying for charitable status. Before I quite knew what was happening I had agreed to chair the committee. Many of us use skills from our work in order to become a charity, and I have experience of chairing a charity, as well as running large organisations, which has been very helpful. The choir is now on an even keel, though fundraising is a constant issue.
One thing I really enjoy about the choir is the challenging repertoire and the opportunity to sing in different languages.
Information to follow
Simon was introduced to the choir three years ago by his wife, Pauline, who had joined about twelve months earlier. He had not had much previous singing experience but, after a small part in an amateur “Fiddler on the Roof”, was keen to sing more. Simon likes to think of himself as a “roadie” because he stores the choir’s keyboard and totes it about to concerts, but his official committee title is Venues and Logistics officer. Simon also put together our constitution and dealt with the choir’s successful application last year for charity status.
Pauline joined the choir on the recommendation of a friend and the assurance that no previous singing experence or auditions were required. She organises refreshments for rehearsals and performances and co-roadies with her husband Simon Malpas.
A friend kept suggesting I join the choir, but it wasn’t until I came to a performance that I saw how much fun it might be. In my first session we learned a short Congolese gospel song. I was amazed that inside half an hour we could sing it in three-part harmony! That was three years ago, since then I’ve joined the committee and with some other members, taken on the job of publicity and social media. I love the choir because we have a great mix of people and, in Issy, a charming and inspiring (and amusing) leader.
I’ve been singing with the choir since 2009 – I read about it in Westminster Reporter and immediately got in touch. A couple of years ago when Kate (our choir manager from Wigmore Hall) left, Issy sent out an urgent appeal for people to join the Choir Committee to help to do the jobs that Kate had been doing. I thought that doing the money side of things would not interfere with my enjoyment of the time I spend in choir, so I volunteered to be treasurer. When the choir decided to become a charity, I felt confident to put myself forward as a trustee as I’d worked as the head of a small charity, and I’d been both a school governor and a charity trustee before.
My job as treasurer involves banking the money we collect from members and any donations we get, and keeping track of all the money that comes in and goes out of our bank account. I also organise the payment of all our bills and keep in touch with the bookings manager at the Academy where we rehearse. With the rest of the Committee members, I help to support the activities of the choir, including looking for funding to supplement the subs that people pay to be a member.
http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk – Wigmore Hall started the choir in 2009 after an approach from the Ward Councillors for Harrow Road. The choir is now independent, but enjoys an ongoing positive relationship with the Hall and frequently perform there. The Hall puts on more than 400 concerts every year and is a nationally and internationally renowned venue for chamber music and song.
http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/learning – the Learning department of Wigmore Hall runs a variety of interactive music activities and projects for all ages
http://www.makingmusic.org.uk/ – Making Music is an organisation championing and supporting voluntary and community music making
http://owendavey.com/ – Owen Davey is a designer and illustrator based in Brighton; he is responsible for our brilliant logo!