Organist and Choirmaster
Q : Do you have a specific role within the church?
A : Organist and Choirmaster
Q : What is your profession?
A : Director of Music at The Grange School, Hartford
Q : Family / Pets?
A : I live with my wife, Jane, and three cats: Hattie, Lily and Daisy. I have two grown-up sons, Thomas and Benedict. Thomas teaches in an independent preparatory school in London and is getting married in December to Rosanna, a housemistress and Modern Languages teacher at King’s School, Canterbury. Benedict works for Price Waterhouse Cooper as a management consultant and lives in London with Lydia, an Oxford music graduate who works for a specialist firm auctioning valuable stringed instruments.
Q : Birthplace / where did you grow up?
A : I grew up in Rowley Regis, near Birmingham, and went to King Edward’s School in Birmingham. I then won an organ scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where I gained a degree in Music.
Q : Hobbies?
A : Hobbies include reading (both English and French), History, cookery and foreign travel. I am a passionate Francophile and have visited most areas of France. Within music, as well as my professional occupation with the organ, the piano, singing and choir-training, I have been playing the ‘cello for the last three years and am about to take Grade 6. I have many musical enthusiasms, including the music of J S Bach, French Romantic organ music, and more recently German composers such as Richard Strauss and Wagner, a recent passion.
Q : Favourite place?
A : North Oxford on a sunny Autumn morning when the leaves are turning golden.
Q : What motivates you on a Monday morning?
A : The thought of Friday evening! But seriously, while the ever-increasing bureaucracy associated with teaching can be frustrating, it is the enthusiasm and commitment of each new generation of pupils which outweighs this. I am very lucky to work in a school with such outstanding pupils who achieve so much in and out of the classroom, and with enthusiastic and dedicated colleagues. It is very rewarding to see pupils continuing with Music in higher education, both at university and conservatoire level.
Q : What do you consider your key strengths?
A : A sense of humour, not taking things too seriously, and an ability to motivate at least some children through music.
Q : What's been your biggest personal achievement?
A : Establishing an award-winning school choir.
Q : What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
A : Three things: put petrol in my diesel car; walked home from school and then remembered that I’d driven there in the morning; tried to use my LA Fitness card instead of my Oyster Card on the London Underground.
Q : What would be a perfect day for you?
A : I don’t know but it would have to include a train ride, a visit to a huge second hand bookshop, a great restaurant meal and a visit to an orchestral concert.
Q : What personal ambitions have you still to achieve?
A : Grade 8 ‘cello.
Q : Is there some thing or situation that you always try to avoid?
A : Going into a room full of unfamiliar people. Flying.