Hi, I'm Amy. Thanks for stopping by!
Music is my thing. Like, I seriously live and breathe it. As a kid, I'd make up harmonies to nursery rhymes while I walked to school; I played the piano ALL THE TIME; and I loved to sing. My first big gig was as Mary in our school play, when I got to sing a lullaby to Baby Jesus, surrounded by sheep, donkeys and probably an octopus or two.
In spite of this early rise to fame and glory, I can't say I ever got the performance bug. Truth be told, I get really nervous when I have to play or sing solos, and I'd rather not have all those eyes on me. I discovered quite some time ago that I much more enjoy waving my hands around with my back to the audience, making sure all eyes are on the group of people a few feet in front of me.
Conducting, it turns out, is my jam.
I’ve conducted choirs all over the world, from Germany to the USA, both professionally and on a voluntary basis through my church. (You can see a list of my most recent choral engagements at the end of this delightful ramble.) In 2015, I set up the UK Christadelphian Choir, with the aim of bringing more choral music to my church community here in the UK. More locally, I've had the privilege of being guest conductor with Beverley Community Choir for part of their summer season in both 2018 and 2019. I also directed a small local choir, Amici, for three years, and workshopped many of my own choral compositions with them.
I love bringing people together from all over the country - and all over the world - and teaching them new music, seeing the joy this sense of united purpose brings. I love how excited people get to be part of something bigger than they are as individuals. I love the creative process. I love preparing choirs for performances, and that sense of pride when they do an amazing job and bring joy to an appreciative audience.
I've been doing this for over a decade now and I can say with absolute certainty that the turning point in my own skill and expertise as a conductor was attending the Initial Course with the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD), back in 2013. Since then, I've attended a number of their masterclasses and two conventions, where I've been able to hone my skills, get lots of amazing tips and ideas, and source a lot of new repertoire.
These courses are not cheap, but they’re worth their weight in gold because, in order to bring the best out of my choirs and ensembles, I need people to bring the best out of me.
Events like the ABCD Choral Leaders’ Festival are fantastic because there are workshops focusing on every aspect of vocal and conducting technique, as well as repertoire reading sessions where we get to sing through stacks of new music, which we can then teach to our choirs. Having not been to one of these events for several years now, I’m running out of fresh ideas!
This summer, the festival costs £340, with the conducting course costing an additional £190. Add in fuel costs to Birmingham and that comes to £550.
Most of the choral leading I do, I do for free for the church community. I don't expect to gain financially from what I do, because I believe I should use my talents willingly and freely. So yes, I'm asking for your help in funding the festival and the conducting course because I know that they'll enable me to give back to a lot of people in a lot of ways... but this is also about career development, and I want to be transparent about that. Sometimes, though, the skills we hone whilst doing our job are the very skills we can put to good use elsewhere. I hope I can continue to live up to that!
Any additional funds will go towards two things:
- Attending the ABCD’s Advanced Conducting Course (called the ‘Progressive’ course), which culminates in the opportunity to take the DipABRSM qualification. (This will total around £1200.)
- Finishing off my solo album, “I See Stars” – something I’ve been working on for several years but which has been hindered by lack of upfront funds. (This will total around £1500.)
Leading choirs brings me so much joy, and learning new conducting and leadership skills is a way I can give back to the communities I am part of. Your pledge will help me to bring more music to more people over the coming years, and to do so with more skill and renewed energy. Plus, I hope you’ll agree I’ve come up with some pretty exciting rewards!
Thank you so much for your help and support!
Choirs and projects I’ve directed over the past 12 months
July: West Coast Bible School, Portland, OR, USA
November: UK Christadelphian Choir Autumn Weekend, Cardiff, UK
December: International Winter Bible School, Hessen, Germany
March: Cannock Youth Day, UK
April: 40th Annual EYCYG Music Camp, Yorkshire, UK
May: Swanwick Bible Weekend, Derbyshire, UK
May: Swanwick Family Bible School, Derbyshire, UK
May: Beverley Community Choir, UK