Frideswide Voices: People

Helen Smee

Director

Director of Frideswide Voices, Helen SmeeHelen is a freelance conductor, workshop leader, pianist and organist and works regularly with a broad range of choirs across the UK. She completed her MA at the Royal Academy of Music in Choral Conducting, studying with Patrick Russill. Having graduated in July 2013 with the Alan Kirby Prize, she held the Junior Fellowship of the Joyful Company of Singers until 2014, conducting the group in venues across London including St John's Smith Square. In November 2016, she was awarded the Licentiate of the Royal Academy (LRAM), specialising in teaching choral conducting. Helen has held positions with Highbury Youth Choir, Buckland and Betchworth Choral Society, and Highbury Opera Theatre. She has been an Assistant Conductor with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and is Organist and Director of Music at St Mary Merton, SW19 where she trains the choir of boy and girl choristers. Helen is active as a freelance conductor, workshop leader, organist and accompanist across London and the south-east, and  is the Artistic Director of the Voices of London Festival, a week-long festival of choral music held at St James' Sussex Gardens. In 2018 she won the Members’ Award from Action for Children’s Arts in recognition of her outreach work with young people. 

She took up the post of Director of Frideswide Voices in September 2019.

 

Tanya Simpson

Administrator

Tanya was a co-founder of Frideswide Voices and continues as the FV Administrator since its adoption by Christ Church. Tanya also teaches music theory for FV choristers. Her other part-time work is as a teacher and IB Diploma Coordinator at Europa School UK. She is a soprano and would have loved to be a Cathedral Chorister in Canterbury where she grew up. Instead she had her introduction to Anglican church music at Cambridge and has since enjoyed singing with small choirs and ensembles in the UK and in Belgium.  

 

Tristan Weymes

Organ Scholar

Tristan is a second year Music student at Trinity College, Oxford, where he is also Organ Scholar. He started working with Frideswide Voices in September 2019, accompanying in rehearsals and services, as well as teaching the probationers choristers. At Trinity, he is President of the Trinity College Music Society, and leads the choir’s new Access-orientated Choral Scholarship scheme, which involves leading workshops with children who visit the college. He has worked with youth choirs for several years, both as a singer and as a staff member, regularly conducting the groups, which include the Highbury Youth Choirs and the Pimlico Musical Foundation. His work as a conductor and vocal leader has led him to conduct the Oxford University Chorus this year, set up his own vocal consort, as well as being Assistant Conductor of the Turl Street Arts Festival Orchestra, and the Oxford University String Ensemble. He has also been Musical Director of two Gilbert and Sullivan shows at Oxford, and will be Assistant Musical Director in an upcoming production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. He has previously been a member of the London Youth Chamber Choir, and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

Theory and Musicianship Co-ordinator, Sarah CoatsworthSarah Coatsworth

Theory and Musicianship Co-ordinator

Sarah Coatsworth is a musician, teacher and editor. After graduating from Cambridge University and completing a PGCE in Durham she spent eight years leading music departments in secondary schools in London and West Sussex before moving back to her home city of Oxford to raise a family. She now combines a busy private piano teaching practice with freelance editorial work.

As an alto specialising in early music, Sarah has made several recordings of sacred sixteenth-century choral polyphony for Hyperion with the Brabant Ensemble. She is also a viola and viol player, regularly playing chamber music with friends. In her spare time, she works for two Oxford charities that offer welcome and language support to refugees and asylum seekers; she also enjoys running and playing squash.

Sarah is a keen supporter of choral opportunities for girls, and has been involved with Frideswide Voices from the beginning, first as a volunteer and now teaching music theory to the choristers.

Helen Parker

Vocal tutor

Helen Parker studied with a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. She has worked as a soloist for conductors Richard Hickox and Sir Simon Rattle, with various orchestras and ensembles including  The City of London Sinfonia, Northern Sinfonia, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Academy of Ancient Music and groups such as The Tallis Scholars, The Gabrieli Consort, The English Concert and  The King’s Consort. Helen runs team building workshops and company singing ensembles in the corporate world and has been working with young voices for 18 years including currently teaching at New College School and Summer Fields Prep School. She is excited to be working with the girls at Frideswide Voices in this new period of their association at Christchurch.

 

Laura Ashby

Pre-Probationer tutor

text to come

Portrait of Theory tutor Dominique SimpsonDominique Simpson

Theory tutor

Dominique Simpson is a recent graduate from the University of Oxford. She read Music (BA) at The Queen’s College, 2015-2018, where she held a choral scholarship, and Musicology (MSt) at St Catherine’s College, 2018-2019. Her research interests include popular music studies, protest music, and identity studies. Dominique now works in Access and Outreach at St John’s College, and sings semi-professionally in Oxford. As a child, Dominique was a chorister at Leeds Cathedral between 2005-2015 where she sang with the Junior Choir, Girls’ Choir and Adults’ Choir.

Elspeth Piggott

Musicianship and singing tutor

Elspeth Piggott works both as a professional soprano and singing teacher. Since graduating with a BA in Music from the University of York in 2014 she has trained as a teacher with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain on their Fellowship Scheme, taught on both the NYCGB Girls’ Choir and Training Choir courses, and led music education workshops in primary schools around the country with various professional ensembles. She has been with Frideswide Voices since 2017, and adores working with the girls, who consistently surprise and amuse with their talent, diligence and boundless personality.

As a soprano, she works with many professional groups including I Fagiolini, Polyphony, The Marian Consort, Mogens Dahl Kammerkor and the Britten Sinfonia Voices. Recent highlights of her solo work include the role of Cupid in Da Gagliano’s renaissance opera La Dafne with the Brighton Early Music Festival, Handel’s Messiah at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Haydn’s Creation Mass at the Sheldonian Theatre, and MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross with the Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican.

Emily Coatsworth

Theory tutor and Chaperone

Emily is a year 13 student at the Cherwell School, and was a founder member of Frideswide Voices. Since leaving the choir, she has continued to be involved, both as a theory teacher and as a member of the Frideswide Consort. She now sings with many choirs in Oxford and London, and was a member of the National Youth Choir for 7 years. As a solo singer, she has performed various Bach cantatas and arias with orchestras. She played Flora in Britten’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’ and rehearsed chorus members for Oxford Opera Company’s productions of ‘Carmen’ and ‘Tosca’. Emily also studies violin with Louisa Fuller, co-leading the County Youth Orchestra in performances in the Royal Albert Hall and on tour in Spain. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano and accompanying her friends in recitals. This year she will be taking A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, English and Spanish, and is planning to study Spanish and Russian at university.

Amanda Drake-Brockman

Chaperone

Amanda retired from her role as Bursar at Wychwood School 7 years ago. A longstanding member of Woodstock Music Society, Amanda has also been a core member of the Garsington Community Opera Chorus. She has 5 grandchildren, loves to travel, learns Italian and enjoys allotment gardening but has still found time to support Frideswide Voices as the Treasurer of the Frideswide Voices’ Committee for several years prior to the choir’s adoption by Christ Church.  Amanda continues as a volunteer chaperone for the choir, mostly on Wednesdays when FV is singing services.