Biographies

Biographies

Nicholas Thorpe

Director of Music

Nicholas Thorpe first directed choirs as a pupil at Southwell Minster Grammar School in House Music Competitions. As a student at King Alfred’s College, Winchester he directed the student chamber choir for two years. On his return to Nottinghamshire he became accompanist to the Freda White Choir, Mansfield and when Freda retired conducted them for ten years. In 1987 he became director of the Newstead Abbey Singers and has conducted them in over 100 concerts in venues in the Midlands and abroad. He has trained choirs and singing groups as part of his teaching work for over thirty-five years and founded Southwell Junior Choral. He has conducted Notts Federation of Women’s Institute Choirs Christmas Celebration for the past eight years.

His involvement with choral music began as a Southwell Minster chorister, continuing as Lay Clerk before leaving school. He was a Choral Scholar in Winchester before returning to Southwell as a Lay Clerk. He has observed conductors from the piano stool as accompanist, and playing for ballet classes and singing lessons was also good experience.

Nick enjoys all kinds of music but particularly relishes the challenge of new or unusual pieces and promoting the work of local composers. He has been involved in commissioning and performing pieces by Alan Bullard, Peter Maxwell Davies, Kevin Malone and Robert Steadman and conducted the first performance in the East Midlands of Karl Jenkins – The Armed Man.

He joined the Association of British Choral Directors at its inception and is the Deputy Chair and Midland Region Chair. At its events and Conventions he has been able to learn from renowned choral directors from all over the world. 

Brian Robins

Assistant Conductor and Accompanist

Brian Robins joined Southwell Choral Society in 1995. At that time Peter Wood was both conductor and accompanist; when Brian offered to act as accompanist Peter immediately gave him the job! Early in 2000 he became Assistant conductor as well and he conducts the choir in the annual “Carols for Everyone” charity concert given by Southwell Lions.

Now retired, Brian worked as a music teacher in schools in England and later worked as Deputy Head at the Joseph Whitaker School in Nottinghamshire. Southwell Choral Society owes Brian a huge debt of gratitude for his time and hard work given so generously.

The Ensemble of Southwell

The Ensemble of Southwell draws principally on the musical talent within the county and particularly around Southwell. Many of them are talented young musicians looking for experience in a professional arena before going on to further their music studies. They are now the resident orchestra with Southwell Choral Society and have ably performed demanding works with the Society, premiere performances and worked with famous soloists, most notably Willard White.

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© Southwell Choral Society 2017