The Nantwich Singers

Musical Director

Alison Phillips

My parents and music teachers encouraged me from a young age. I had singing, piano and ‘cello lessons and loved being in the school choir and orchestra as well as enjoying chamber music. Until I left school, I was a junior at the Northern School of Music in Manchester on Saturdays. At the age of 17, I went to the Northern as a full time student and after 2 years was fortunate to attend the newly opened RNCM. After qualifying, I was a regular member of the BBC Northern Singers and the William Byrd Singers in Manchester, both under Stephen Wilkinson, recording and broadcasting live on radio and television and taking part in all the major British music festivals. This work also led to opportunities as an oratorio and concert soloist for choral societies throughout the north west of England.

It was at RNCM that Neil and I met and we married in 1974 after which I attended Crewe and Alsager College to obtain a PGCE. This led to my first post as a primary school teacher where I had 4 happy years as a class teacher with responsibility for music. A rest from teaching then followed when Neil and I were blessed with four daughters and I finally discovered what hard work was really like! After 10 years at home, I was fortunate to be able to continue my teaching career with posts at Wrenbury, Audlem and Bunbury schools. My final post was as Headteacher at Bunbury until my retirement in 2008.

6 years ago I was asked to start from scratch and lead a WI ladies’ choir. This grew from just a few members to nearly 30 members, who are not necessarily trained singers, but love singing together. We put on several concerts as well as taking part in local carol services and singing in the community. A year ago I was asked by the Rector of St. Mary's Nantwich to begin and direct a children’s choir, SING! @ St Mary’s. I am delighted that this group has grown to 20+ children aged 6 to 10 years and we are now offering the children the opportunity to take part in the RSCM singing awards as well as taking part in the church services.

Neil and I have been regular members of the Nantwich Singers for nearly 20 years. This has enabled us to perform a wide repertoire of choral music both in Nantwich and further afield. We have loved being in the group and feel privileged to have been able to continue our music- making under the direction of Tony Metcalfe into our retirement.  Six months ago, I was offered the opportunity to become their next conductor and was absolutely delighted to accept. Neil has encouraged me tremendously. I have recently been privileged to study conducting with Keith Orrell and Sue Hollingworth through the Association of British Choral Directors. This is not to say that I don’t sing anymore. I have kept up my studies and regularly have lessons with Caroline Crawshaw, who is a fantastic teacher, has a wealth of knowledge and has been an inspiration to me over several years.

Taking over the Nantwich Singers will be both a challenge and a joy. I shall really value everyone's continued support.


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