Choir singing in Royal Hall - click for larger view
HCS logo

Who's Who

President Brian Kay
Vice President Jeffrey Wynn Davies
Patron Terry Bramall
Chairman Peter Thompson

Music Director - Dr Andrew Padmore

HCS Music Director

Dr Andrew Padmore took up the post of Music Director for Harrogate Choral Society in September 2005 in addition to his work as resident Conductor and Artistic Director of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir. Based in Leeds, he is a popular conductor with choirs and orchestras internationally and is regarded as a leading figure in the choral world.

Andrew's work with diverse forces has ranged from small chamber choirs at the BBC to the largest symphony orchestras and choirs, including the famous Huddersfield Choral Society. These activities have earned him huge respect from audiences and performers alike whilst critics frequently refer to the dynamism of his approach and sensitivity and flair in performance. As a result, invitations to direct choral and orchestral workshops have come from the Far East, Africa and Europe as well as from a variety of educational establishments in the UK.

The demand for Andrew as a guest conductor for the major choral repertoire with societies throughout the UK and abroad has steadily increased through both new and return invitations. Choirs enjoy his dynamic and inspirational approach which often raises them to new levels of performance. Professional soloists frequently comment on his intuitive support. In recent concerts these have included Emma Kirkby, Patricia Rozario, Mark Padmore, Sir Willard White and Michael George.

In the orchestral sphere Andrew has enjoyed conducting summer outdoor performances of "Last Night of the Proms"-type concerts to huge audiences. However, he is equally at home conducting the more serious repertoire in the concert hall. His ability to get the best out of an orchestra and choir on minimal rehearsal is legendary and his interactions with audiences have made concerts memorable.

As a teenager, Andrew counted himself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to study conducting under Sir Adrian Boult. Early on he played both trombone and violin professionally then, alongside the acquisition of an impressive list of academic qualifications and performance diplomas, he moved through positions as Director of Music in an old established grammar school to Director of Music at cathedrals in Cork and Belfast. These latter offered him the opportunity to give organ recitals in many British cathedrals and concert halls. In 1989 he left full time cathedral music to concentrate on choral and orchestral conducting, lecturing and work as a master-class clinician.

Additional activities include adjudicating international choral festivals and directing residential choral courses. A Faculty Member at "Directors’ College" for the British Association of Barbershop Singers, Andrew also examines for the Royal Schools of Music which involves him in mentoring on the professional teaching qualification course and acting as specialist examiner for their choral singing syllabus and for diplomas. Recognition of his achievements include honorary doctorates and diplomas and in 2002 he was elected as Warden for the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

Deputy Music Director - Marilynne Davies

HCS Deputy Music Director

From her early experiences of performing in Welsh Eisteddfodau Marilynne has developed a lifelong passion and enthusiasm for all aspects of performance. Having studied piano, voice and cello at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, she took a Masters Degree in Education. The combination of these two strands consolidated her interest in music performance and music education and the interface between the two. Her appointment as Head of the School of Performance at the College of Ripon and York St. John enabled her to maintain and develop these interests nationally and internationally as well as building collaborative partnerships in performance between the other creative and performing arts within the School which included music, dance, drama, theatre, film and television.

She was a founder member of Polyphonia - a network of European Conservatoires - and has lectured and conducted workshops in Sweden, Portugal, France, Lithuania, Norway, Holland and Austria. Marilynne is particularly interested in the practice of performance and led a European research project in that field, the results of which have been disseminated across the conservatoires. In addition she has been external examiner at the universities of Edinburgh, Durham, Wolverhampton, Southampton, Huddersfield, University College Chichester, and an external assessor of performance at graduate and postgraduate levels. As a past Warden of the Incorporated Society of Musicians she has represented the Society in collaboration with the University of Reading developing courses for music teachers and performers.

As a conductor she has trained and conducted orchestras and choirs on a regular basis, some of whom have performed on BBC and ITV. The largest ensemble was a choir of 1100 school children and the smallest a chamber choir of 40 voices with whom she toured abroad on many occasions. Currently she is Deputy Music Director of the 170 voice Harrogate Choral Society, she also founded the 60 voice Harrogate Polyphonic Choir and a small vocal ensemble Beati Cantores. She is regularly involved in workshops for teachers, conductors, singers and dancers. She also conducts training sessions for the National Association of Choirs, Male Voice and Upper Voice Choirs, and continues to work with choirs such as the Lindley School Choir who were winners of the BBC Songs of Praise Choir of the Year in 2008. For the past eight years she has been involved in long term, sustainable vocal and instrumental projects in South Cumbria, Northumberland and the Ripon and Leeds Diocese. These projects, aimed at the primary age phase, are designed to encourage and firmly establish music in schools as well as giving all children the experience of performing together in a large group of usually about 400! Her own performing experience has included singing with professional orchestras and choirs, solo recitals and solo parts in opera. She now has a practice as a voice consultant.

Accompanist - Beryl Pankhurst

HCS Accompanist

Beryl Pankhurst was born and educated in Liverpool. After a brief career in banking she took up a place at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where she studied piano, organ, singing and accompaniment. Having obtained the GRSM Diploma with Recital Endorsement, ARMCM with Distinction, and the Pinson prize for Bach playing, she moved to Harrogate to a teaching post and has lived here ever since.

Although Beryl has performed as a soloist on many occasions, her main passion is in accompanying. She has been the official accompanist for Harrogate Choral Society for more than forty years, during which time she has taken part in many of their performances, including Carmina Burana, Rio Grande, Petite Messe Solonelle, Messiah, African Sanctus and The Armed Man. She is currently the accompanist for Knaresborough Choral Society, and plays for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Her extensive career includes playing for many distinguished soloists and she works regularly with members of Opera North. She is much in demand for festival and examination accompanying and for leider recitals etc, and enjoys being repetiteur for an annual choral summer course. Her musical taste is very varied and she is equally at home playing light music, and also giving duet recitals with a regular partner.


Chairman Peter Thompson
Treasurer Gill Walsh
Secretary Ruth Pridmore
Deputy Chairman and with responsibility for Artistic Ambition Amy Wall
with responsibility for Sponsorship and Fundraising Nick Brown
with responsiblity for Music Co-ordination Marilynne Davies
with responsibility for Publicity & Marketing Pete Willmott
with responsibility for Membership Matters, including Social and Pastoral Paul Jackson
with responsibility for Concert Management vacant