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Home » Lunchtime Recitals – 2017

Lunchtime Recitals – 2017

First Thursday of every month (except August) 13:00 – 13:30

We have a wonderful variety of musicians and singers performing recitals during 2017. We hope you will call in and enjoy the performances each month.

January 5th Nicholas Johnson,
St. Alphege Church
February 2nd Hall Green Choral Society Conducted by Clive Jones
March 2nd Marie Curie Choir Conducted by Stephen Perrins
April 6th Revd. Ian Howarth,
Chair of Birmingham Methodist District
May 4th Two’s Harmony,
Graham Lowe & Jean Hamilton
Piano duets
June 1st Stephen Perrins,
Former Director of music at Solihull School
July 6th Linda Bates Songs from the shows
August Summer Break
September 5th Freya Brylka-Mee Harp
October 7th Stephen Perrins,
Former Director of music at Solihull School
November 2nd Birmingham Conservatoire Harpists Showcase
December 7th Graham Lowe Organ, Christmas favourites


Nicholas Johnson

January 5th

organpipesNicholas Johnson studied at Trinity College of Music and gained his London University BMus degree together with diplomas from the Royal College of Organists and Trinity College of Music, also winning the WF Langmaid prize for organ performance. During 1996 he was organ scholar of Peterborough Cathedral. From 1997 to 2001 he was the Director of Music at the Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich, London. Whilst at Greenwich he recorded the first CD of the newly restored Samuel Green organ, reviewed to critical acclaim, together with a 1662 Eucharist featuring the chapel choir.

From 2001 Nicholas was Director of Music at St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton, where he maintained the choral tradition with a fine boys’ and men’s choir, as well as a separate girls’ choir. He recorded the choir’s first two CDs for many years, and directed cathedral and foreign tours. Nicholas held the post of Director of Music at The Oratory, Birmingham, for eight years prior to coming to St Alphege. He teaches piano and organ at Warwick School and is an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He also writes for Organist’s Review.

Hall Green Choral Society

February 2nd

hall-green-choral-socFounded in 1983, Hall Green Choral Society is a friendly mixed voice choir of about 30 members, based at the Church of the Ascension, Hall Green, Birmingham.

A wide range of music is performed from sacred and secular choral works by the great composers to spirituals, carols, Christmas music, folk and part songs, classic jazz songs, songs from the shows and musicals and pop song arrangements. Recent concerts have included Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, John Rutter’s The Twelve Days of Christmas, Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air (The Snowman), Messiah Parts 2 & 3, Paul Carr’s Requiem, a Last Night of the Summer Proms sequence and a medley of Broadway Blockbuster Songs.

The Musical Director is Clive Jones; he is also Director of Music and Organist at the Church of the Ascension, Hall Green and Visiting Choral Director of the Curdworth Choir, North Warwickshire.

Daffodil Community Choir, Marie Curie Hospice

March 2nd

daffodil-choirThe hospice Daffodil Community choir began in May 2013. In line with the Hospice’s aims of reaching out to the local community, the Choir really is a community affair, offering a weekly time for people to come together and sing. The choir is open to anyone and combines a mix of people who are bereaved, patients, family members, hospice volunteers and staff together with people from the local community.

The idea of creating a choir was the brainchild of Jane Murray, Adult Bereavement Support Co-ordinator. The choir is conducted by Stephen Perrins who for 23 years was Director of Music at Solihull School before his retirement in 2015. With approaching retirement from school life, Stephen was recruited by Jane following a conversation with Stephen’s wife Sarah, who herself volunteers as a member of the Bereavement Support Team. With a choir training diploma, vast musical experience and boundless enthusiasm, Stephen aims to bring music alive, even to those who would claim that they cannot sing!

In the early days there were 8-12 singers each week, as the word spread that singing is fun, friends and relatives of those dozen founding singers came along and now the choir regularly sees 60 members singing together on a Tuesday evening!

The choir performs regularly in the hospice for patients, families and the community and has since been invited to sing at several events in the Solihull Borough.

Revd. Ian Howarth; baritone


April 6th

ianIan read music at Cambridge University, where he specialised in singing, learning with Nigel Wickens and singing in the University Chamber Choir. After a short spell teaching music, he entered the Methodist ministry and is now Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District. He has continued singing, both as a soloist with local choral societies, and doing occasional recitals. He currently sings in the CBSO chorus, and studies with Julian Pike at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Malaysian pianist Bernard Tan has accompanied singers in various countries in Asia and was awarded the Best Accompanist Prize in the Winter Journey Opera and Song Workshop in Thailand. Bernard has performed in masterclasses by Iain Burnside, Roderick Williams and Anna Tilbrook. He is currently pursuing Master of Music in Piano Accompaniment at Birmingham Conservatoire, and was the winner of John Ireland Prize and first runner-up of Delia Hall Accompanist Prize. Bernard is also a singer, conductor and bassoonist.

Two’s Harmony

May 4th

graham-and-jeanGraham Lowe and Jean Hamilton have been performing together as Two’s Harmony for over twenty years. They met at Shirley Methodist Church where they continue to present regular organ and piano concerts, as well as giving piano duet recitals whenever and wherever invited.

In addition to being organist and choirmaster at Shirley Methodist Church, Graham runs a thriving teaching practice. Jean is now retired, and has become an accompanist for the Solihull Contact Choir.

Piano duet playing – the art of two people sharing the same instrument – is unique, fascinating and intricate. Graham and Jean have developed this over the years and their repertoire now includes a wide range of musical styles and arrangements.

Stephen Perrins

June 1st & October 5th

stephen-perrinsStephen began his musical education as a chorister at Coventry Cathedral. He studied piano and organ while at school then went on to read music at Cambridge University as organ scholar of Peterhouse. Here he continued his organ studies with the renowned organist Dame Gillian Weir. While at university Stephen obtained both his ARCO and FRCO organ diplomas. After graduating, Stephen joined the music staff of The Howard School, Rainham, Kent and was also organist and accompanist for a number of churches and choral societies, including the Royal Dockyard Choral Society in Chatham.

Awarded the Royal College of Organists’ Choirmaster’s Diploma, Stephen returned to Coventry as Director of Music at King Henry VIII School and at the same time was also an assistant organist at the Cathedral, assistant director and organist to the Cathedral Chapter House Choir as well as working with the Cathedral’s choral society, the Saint Michael’s Singers. Stephen was also Musical Director of the Warwick and Kenilworth Choral Society during this period.

Following a move to Sussex as Director of Music at Ardingly College and Director of the Ardingly Choral Society Stephen returned to the Midlands as Director of Music at Solihull School, a post he held until his retirement this summer, now holding the grand title of Emeritus Director of Music!

Stephen has worked as accompanist to both the Solihull Chandos Choir and the Elmdon Choral Society. He is a freelance organist and accompanist and is a frequent organist at several local churches including Saint Mary’s, Lapworth and Saint Alphege, Solihull. Stephen has also been Musical Director for a number of music theatre societies including Knowle, Solihull Theatre Company and Saint Alphege Musical Production Society (STAMPS), with whom he has recently conducted Gershwin’s ‘Crazy For You’.

Stephen is delighted to be taking part in this series of recitals in the recently refurbished Methodist Church.

Linda Bates; Songs from the Shows

July 6th

lb-photoLinda’s love for singing developed while performing with SMASH as a child and teenager. After two years training in musical theatre and drama at Arts Educational School in Tring, Linda focused on choral music at university, singing with Trinity Hall chapel choir and King’s Voices, the mixed voice choir of King’s College Chapel.

Now, once again a member of SMASH and a contributor to church music, Linda shares her love of singing with others, running weekly sing and sign sessions at Solihull Children’s Special Needs Association playgroup, and leading SoLO choir for teenagers and adults with learning disabilities.

Freya Brylka-Mee

September 7th

freyaFreya is a national award-winning harpist, living and working in Leicestershire; she has gained a wealth of experience having performed in many prestigious venues and festivals in the UK and abroad.

Born in Leicester in 1998, Freya began to play the harp at the age of ten. Having completed her grade 8 with distinction, she is currently studying for her Diploma ABRSM under the guidance of her teacher, Rita Schindler.

Freya has won many prizes for her playing in festivals and competitions. She is a keen orchestral player and she is currently a member of the CBSO Youth Orchestra and previously was principal harpist with the award-winning Leicestershire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra.

Birmingham Conservatoire Harpist Showcase

November 2nd

harp-2It is an exciting time for Birmingham’s harpists as in 2015 we celebrated the arrival of a three-strong team of tutors: Catrin Finch, our International Chair, mentors the course and visits twice per term to give inspirational masterclasses, workshops and advice. Katherine Thomas is our esteemed orchestral harp coach and also leads a unique course in harp pedagogy, preparing students to teach lever and pedal harp when they finish their undergraduate course. Eleanor Turner gives a weekly lesson to all first study harpists and works with each student to devise a stylised course, ensuring a progressive range of techniques are mastered, core repertoire is conquered and that each student has the skills to pursue their personal passions and thrive in the early stage of their career.

Graham Lowe; Christmas favourites

December 7th

grahamGraham Lowe was born in Birmingham and educated at Kings Norton Grammar School and Bangor University. He started organ lessons at the age of 14 with Kenneth White at Oxford Road Baptist Church, Moseley and then with Andrew Goodwin at Bangor cathedral. He was appointed organist at Shirley Methodist Church in July 1977, a position he now combines with the post of choirmaster. Graham runs a piano teaching practice in Kings Heath and also does a lot of accompanying work for the Camp Hill schools. He has a duet partnership with Jean Hamilton called Two’s Harmony.