Musical Team

Musical Director

SIÂN HATTON  B.Sc (Hons), L.T.C.L., A.L.C.M

Born into a very musical family in Tredegar, Gwent, Siân began her musical studies at the age of seven and by the time she left school had gained a distinction in Grade 8 singing and piano.

She studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under Margaret Tann-Williams and Patrick Piggot. Her distinguished musical career has taken her all over Britain and abroad as a solo artiste.

Despite her accomplished musical background, Siân has chosen nursing as her full time career and works as a Nurse Practitioner in Primary Care. Siân is married to  baritone chorister David Gould.

In her thirty year leadership of the Choir, Siân has taken us to many venues in the U.K. and overseas including Germany, Holland, Canada, California and Austria.  She has led us on two P & O cruise ships to the Mediterranean and later to the Canary Islands, Portugal and Spain.  In 2013 she also led us on a tour to Cornwall and last year to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and Stirling.

As a conductor, soprano soloist, compère and highly talented musician, Siân is invaluable to our choir and has been the prime instrument to our success over the past 30 years.

 


Assistant Musical Director

SHIRLEY ANNE JAMES

From the age of 11, Welsh speaking Shirley Anne thoroughly enjoyed taking charge of School choirs in both concerts and Eisteddfodau whilst in Ysgol Pantycelyn, Llandovery.

While studying music at the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education she organised many variety shows before beginning a teaching career in Chatham, Kent. She returned home after three years to take up a teaching post in Talley, Carmarthenshire.  Whilst there she was proud to have been conductor of the Llandovery Male Voice Choir for six years.

Shirley Anne later conducted the South Glamorgan Junior Schools Choir from 1990 -1993 and has also assisted Brecon Male Voice Choir on occasions.  Since her early twenties she has led many traditional and modern singing festivals.  Last year, she accepted the challenge of conducting the Gymanfa Ganu for the Monmouthshire Festival.

Shirley Anne was appointed Assistant Musical Director of the Choir in 2002 and in common with Siân, Stephen and John, she is an essential and valued member of our unique and talented musical team.  With her humorous anecdotes, stories from school and her very own musical style, she is a firm favourite of the choristers. The mother of two children she lives in Cardiff and has recently retired from teaching after 37 years. 

Accompanists

STEPHEN BERRY B.Ed (Hons), A.T.C.L.

Born in Newport, Stephen started playing the piano at four years of age. He later learned to play the organ and at the age of 14 became organist of Llanwern Church. At 17 he formed and conducted his own orchestra and subsequently became Musical Director of a Gilbert & Sullivan Society and conductor of Newport Concert Orchestra. He is now an Organist in the Parish of Maindee, Newport, and at Langstone Vale Crematorium. He previously taught in both primary and secondary sectors and still has a private music teaching practice.

Since retirement in December 2013 he has also become Musical Director of the Newport U3A Choir, arranging and composing songs for their performance. He is a keen historian;, local, railway and family history being his specialities.

Stephen is an Associate of Trinity College, London and holds a Bachelor of Education (Honours) Degree, specialising in Music in Education. Stephen joined the choir in 2007 and thoroughly enjoys working with Music Team members and choristers. He arranges many of our pieces, particularly those of a more traditional style, in his own unique way.  He is always keen, and with great effect, to add a church organ to our renditions when appropriate.

JOHN NICHOLSON

John joined the choir in 2001 as a second tenor but after a couple of years, he stood in a few times accompanying practices and played some of the pieces in concerts. From there he grew to be one of the Choir’s full-time accompanists.

Originally from Tenterden in Kent, John learned the piano and church organ as a schoolboy and as well as accompanying the choir he is also the organist at the parish church in Magor.  Trained as an engineer, he had a long career with Rolls-Royce, moving from the Midlands to work in Bristol and regularly commuting to Norway!  In the Midlands he ran a successful dance band appearing alongside such names as Syd Lawrence, Joe Loss and Roy Castle. Before moving to Caldicot, John also performed with a Folk Trio producing two albums. He can now sometimes be seen playing electronic keyboards as part of a duo to raise money for the choir and other charities.

Now in retirement John is able to spend more time with his family and enjoy his wide range of hobbies.

2 thoughts on “Musical Team”

  1. What a thrill to tour your lovely country, roam Caerphilly Castle, marvel at some of the rooms at Cardiff Castle, walk the streets of Cardiff in the wind and rain following our wonderful “get together” at the pub following our concert. Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed hearing you sing, much less, how great it was to join you in “As long as I have Music.” I shall treasure those moments till my dying day. Thank you so very much. Roy Rogers, baritone, American Tapestry Choir and Manassas Chorale. Would love to hear from any or all of you.

  2. The Musical Team are to be congratulated on their versatility, expertise and professionalism at the Simonsbath concert where there wasn’t a piano – only a church organ. Worst nightmare scenario. To be able to adapt and change the programme within a few minutes was amazing. They really deserve our fullest support. Well done to the choristers who turned in an excellent performance as well, in crowded, hot conditions. It’s not easy to sing to organ accompaniment. The standing ovation was well deserved.

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