Stephen Bell, Musical Director
Stephen’s early influences were as a chorister at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast where he was inspired by the late Harry Grindle. Later Stephen directed the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Band and the Light Operatic Society. Stephen has enjoyed considerable success directing musicals and shows most notably directing the sell-out “Guys and Dolls” with Company MK in 2002. Stephen was the musical director for the Wolverton Gilbert and Sullivan Society for 4 years from 1998.
Living in Oundle, Stephen has directed the Northampton Chamber Choir, The Northampton Guildhall Orchestra, The St Cecilia Singers of Rushden, the Rushden Windmill Brass Band and currently the Northampton Concert Band, The Market Harborough Orchestra and the Northampton Male Voice choir.
Stephen is self-employed as a Training and Management consultant.
Andy Poole, Principal Accompanist
Andy studied music at Goldsmiths College in London and spent many years teaching music in Secondary Schools. During that time school concerts and musical productions were a particular favourite. Later on Andy worked in IT, and taught adult students Maths and English, whilst pursuing music as a hobby. He spent many years as accompanist for “Opus One” where he met Andrew Howes. He joined the Male Voice Choir in 2006 and thoroughly enjoys accompanying them. He also enjoys singing in the Northampton Bach Choir.
Andrew Howes, Associate Musical Director
Andrew has been singing all of his life, firstly at school, then in church before joining The Cantare Singers in 1985, where he still plays a major part, becoming their Musical Director in 2010. He has sung with many other local choirs including Opus One and A La Carte, a six piece singing group who perform regularly at the annual Gilbert and Sullivan International Festival in Buxton.
Andrew brings a life time experience along with a vast knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for choral music.
Paul Darnell, Associate Musical Director
Paul learned to read music at a very early age (7) and has been singing ever since. He has sung in many local groups, choirs and societies and has taken leading roles in many musicals, operettas and plays around Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. A late second career as a Police Officer meant that stage performance was put on hold for10 years but since retiring from the Police he is back on stage with the Northampton G&S Group, Wellingborough Arts Barn Society, sings occasionally with the Wellingborough Singers and Earls Barton Music and, of course, is heavily involved with the Northampton Male Voice Choir.
Sue Rayment, Associate Accompanist
Sue grew up in a musical family and started piano lessons at the age of 5 and viola lessons at 11.
After obtaining a grade 2 distinction on the viola her mother persuaded her to play one more year before changing to the oboe, which she wanted to play in the school wind band.
She achieved grade 8 distinctions in both piano and oboe, but when a career choice was needed Sue decided she would rather become a nurse and keep music as a hobby (she managed to combine both by playing oboe in the St Thomas’ Hospital orchestra).Sue has played the piano at Westminster Chapel, London and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Northampton where she has coordinated the music for several years.
Lisa Burns, Vocal Coach
Lisa is a pianist, singer and teacher, born in the USA, but living in the Northampton area since 1993. At university in the USA she studied French and Teaching, as well as her musical studies, qualifying with a BA, BSc, and Diploma in Music,and sang with the Pennsylvania Camerata Singers. In the UK she has sung with the Milton Keynes Chorale (1997-2006), the Open University Choir (2001-present) and Northampton Festival Opera, as well as with Opera Herts and Northampton G&S as soloist and chorister. She studies with international soprano Alison Roddy and is the vocal coach for the Northampton Male Voice Choir. As well as her own work as accompanist and singer, she teaches piano, music theory and singing.