Author Archives: emmatrounson

Rugby World Cup in Leicester

Emma will be conducting her choir Fosse Singers who have been selected to sing the National Anthems of teams participating in the Rugby World Cup at all three matches taking place in Leicester, on the pitch at the King Power Stadium. Click here to see the article in the Leicester Mercury for more details!

The choir have been working hard to learn the national anthems of Argentina, Namibia, Canada, Tonga and Romania. The first match is on Sunday 4th October and will be shown live on ITV – kick off is 2.30pm, so tune in at 2.20 so as not to miss us!

The Postgrad conducting course at RWCMD has a new director!

The 2 year course I took at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Postgrad Choral Conducting, has a new director – Peter Hanke – a brilliant Danish Choral Conductor who I encountered a year ago at the ABCD convention. His workshop was so inspiring and helped us to think deeply about the singers as real people and the music in terms of emotions. He gave us tips on encouraging and open gestures.

Peter’s appointment made me reflect a bit on my training with Neil Ferris, Simon Halsey, Sarah Tenant-Flowers and Adrian Partington, and what it has led me to since I completed the course just over 3 years ago. I idly clicked on the link to the choral conducting page and to my surprise I saw… me! I’d forgotten about the promotional video we had been a part of 3 and a half years ago and apparently the best ‘still’ for the video they could find was of me in full flow conducting a choir and orchestra of RWCMD students – see it here! What a wonderful experience those two years were, full of highs and lows. But one of the very best elements of the course was my peers – we congratulated each other on triumphant rehearsals and performances and picked each other up after some disastrous masterclasses and dismal presentations! Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried, but whatever happened we were always supporting each other… “you can do it!” And whatever happened I always felt how lucky I was to have this opportunity; exhilarating, draining, fast-paced, demanding, stimulating opportunity to be a conductor. I was fortunate to land a great Cathedral job straight after graduating and in my home town. I met my husband at RWCMD and made other friends for life. I have used my contacts gained through RWCMD to commission an alumni composer – The King in the Car Park by Benjamin F Vaughan.

RWCMD has come a long way and isn’t given the credit it deserves. The music industry, like a lot of industries are London-based, but which musician can really afford to live in London? A few snooty choirs in the South East rejected mine and my colleagues’ job applications because we didn’t go to a London conservatoire. But who wants to work with a choir like that? I would rather work with a choir who want me for my skills not one which only employs people because they’ve been to Royal Academy of Music or Royal College or Guildhall. The great thing about RWCMD was that I didn’t have to do a piano audition, instead we did a singing audition. I think its much more important that Choral Conductors can hold a tune (which is not to say that you can’t be one if you can’t) than to be able to do what your rehearsal pianist does anyway. This course gets you out from behind the piano and puts you directly in touch with the singers. I think Peter Hanke will be the perfect fit to follow in the footsteps of the brilliant Neil Ferris who inspired me and gave me the confidence to live my dream.

I would recommend anyone wanting to take Choral Conducting seriously to do this course – and if they want to have a chat about it then ask me!

Good luck Peter!

The King in the Car Park

The King in the Car Park is a brand new ‘cantata’ commissioned this year, written by Benjamin Vaughan and Philip Gross, for performance by children’s choirs.

 

Leicester and Leicestershire schools who are part of the Leicester Cathedral’s schools’ singing programme DioSing!, in collaboration with the Richard lll Project, have been working on this new musical version of the story of King Richard lll for the last few months.

 

Premiere performance: Tuesday 30th June 2015 at 2pm-3pm at Leicester Cathedral

 

Second performance: Wednesday 1st July 2015 at 5.30pm-6.30pm at All Saints with Holy Trinity Parish Church, Loughborough
Entry is free of charge for both performances.

 

The King in the Car Park comprises 9 movements in a variety of musical styles as diverse as jazz, musical theatre, folk and more! It tells the story of Richard III’s life, death in battle and recent rediscovery, culminating in the finale ‘Coming Home’ representing Richard III coming to his final resting place ‘in the heart of England’. The music has been written by up-and-coming Welsh composer Benjamin Vaughan who studied composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the libretto by Creative Writing professor Philip Gross. The piece will be performed for the first time by 300 primary school children from schools across Leicester and Leicestershire who have been working with DioSing! Choral Directors all year. They will sing alongside Leicester Cathedral choristers, Loughborough Children’s Choir, a counter tenor soloist, and a live band including piano, flute, clarinet, double bass, a variety of medieval instruments and the organ of Leicester Cathedral.

 

Both performances will be conducted by Choral Director Emma Trounson. Please contact Emma via the contact form for more information.

King in Car Park

Leicestershire choral conductor returns to inspire new generation of singers

An article on Emma featured on the Leicestershire County Council Chairman’s blog, original can be found by clicking here.

Following on from my recent updates about the future of choral music in the area, I thought I’d share with you this news about Emma Goddard, a professional choral conductor, voice teacher and soprano soloist from Leicestershire. After being introduced to the world of choral music through Leicestershire Arts in Education, she now works with Leicester Cathedral to develop singing in schools and church choirs.

Emma graduated with a BA(hons) in Music and French in 2010 from the University of Bristol where she conducted the University Chamber Choir. She then attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, graduating in 2012 with an MA in Choral Conducting, having studied under Simon Halsey, Neil Ferris, Adrian Partington and Sarah Tenant-Flowers.

Emma has returned to Leicestershire to work with young choirs.

She recently returned to Leicester and has taken on the role of Leicester Cathedral Choral Director based in the Loughborough area working with 10 primary schools on the Diosing! programme and directing Loughborough Children’s Choir (loughchoir.co.uk). She is also currently Musical Director of Redland Green Community Chorus, Bristol, and is involved in numerous other choral projects. She had this to say about her experiences:

“Music has always been a huge part of my life, which is why so much of my childhood was spent involved in rehearsals and concerts for Leicestershire Arts in Education ensembles. I started learning violin with the service at the age of 6, and a few years later soon joined the Junior Strings, and began working my way up through the orchestras over the years. I was encouraged to try the viola when I was 13, and as it suited me better I never looked back!

“In my final year of sixth form I was lead viola in the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra and the Senior Strings, which was the highest rank for a viola player in the arts service. I also took part in a national chamber music competition with the Leicestershire Arts in Education string quartet which was a fantastic opportunity. I loved going on tour with the orchestras because it strengthened the ensemble and we began to really play for each other. I even sang a solo with the LSSO on tour to the Loire Valley when I was 17, which was a great honour.

“Choral singing is a major passion of mine, sparked as a young child when taking part in the Leicestershire Arts massed primary school choirs projects. I knew I wanted to be a part of the buzz of people singing together more long term, but I didn’t know quite how I would achieve it at the time. I joined the Leicestershire Arts in Education Youth Choir when I was 12 and was a committed member until I left to go to University.

“I was given solos and even a conducting opportunity or two as I explored my skills as a choral leader, encouraged by Sophie Pascall. I came back a few times to work with the Junior Choir and help out at the same massed choir events which gave me a stronger sense that I definitely wanted to work in children’s singing.

“I had a dream and a passion and have always worked towards that. The staff at the Arts in Education service always encouraged me and gave me great opportunities. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without them and without the whole system. I only hope I can be just as inspiring to the children and adults I work with now.”

For more information about the Leicester-Shire Schools Music Service, visit:www.leics.gov.uk/lsms or email lsms@leics.gov.uk

The Singing Lady

An article Emma wrote for her local parish magazine ‘The Lantern’ (Kirby Muxloe):

‘The Singing Lady’

Why is Mrs Trounson always so happy?”

Because she sings all the time!”

You can read all the psychological and scientific evidence you want to prove singing makes you happy, but apparently I conclude the debate. At least in the minds of a group of 9-11 year-olds in a rural North Leicestershire primary school. Singing = happiness, case closed.

This is only one of ten schools which I visit for an hour a week as part of a chorister outreach programme called Diosing!. All in North Leicestershire (mostly in Loughborough) the primary schools are a mixture of C of E, Catholic and non-faith schools, with a varying ethos and ability when it comes to choral singing. My workshops include promoting healthy singing technique such as good posture, breathing, diction, dynamics (louds and softs) and overall sound quality as well as developing an understanding about a wide variety of musical genres, with lessons on music notation and the basics of sight reading. But most importantly my sessions encourage enjoyment through participation in musical activities. Possibly my favourite groups are the younger children, I am greeted by a sea of wide-eyed faces, they’re jiggling and twittering with excitement as if they’ve had too much coffee. I stand up at the front to begin the warm up and an expectant hush sweeps over the room. The children have apparently been pestering the teacher all week with questions like: “how many days until the singing lady’s coming in again” and the week has finally rolled by and its time for Diosing! again. Relaxed and upright posture established, breathing and vocal exercises accomplished, its on to the the fun warm up songs and rounds. This is when their genuine love of singing shines through and when you realise that every child is singing with all the power their little bodies can muster – each face is ablaze with sheer, unbridled joy. Hanging on every word they concentrate hard to heed my advice and each attempt improves in quality. Their efforts are rewarded with sought-after coloured star stickers and at the end of the session I announce the ‘Superstar Singer’. This is the pupil who has tried the hardest or has improved the most during the lesson – the prize is (drumroll please) a ‘Mrs Trounson’s Superstar Singer’ gold sticker!!! I often come away with amusing anecdotes and quotes such as “if a man with a high voice is a ‘Tenor’, is a man with a low voice called a ‘Fiver’?” and “Are quavers (a type of note value) named after the crisps?”. It is really heartening when children ask if they can carry on singing for the rest of the day or “I wish we could rewind and do the singing lesson all over again!” Often, I can still hear the melodies from the lesson echoing down the corridor as they disappear back to their classrooms.

This forms only part of my role as a Choral Director at Leicester Cathedral. I also direct the Loughborough Children’s Choir, which I founded in September. The members are a mixture of children taking part in Diosing! and other children from around Loughborough who love singing. They meet for an hour a week at All Saint’s with Holy Trinity Parish Church and their repertoire spans a variety of genres, from church music to pop, gospel and showtunes. Again the children are encouraged to follow musical notation and exercise good vocal technique. They perform in concerts, services and events and they were particularly excited to have sang at mine and Mark’s wedding in April. Considering its short life-span the choir has become a close-knit community, with older members taking care of the younger members, indeed, quite a few of the members are actually siblings.

The other part of my role is at Leicester Cathedral itself. Once or twice a week I help train the choristers and conduct or sing evensong. I often work with the Junior Girls Choir, but also with the Boy Trebles, Young Songmen and Senior Girls. I also give one-to-one or small group coaching sessions with choristers either on vocal technique or to prepare them for solos. Its an exciting time for us at Cathedral as we are preparing for the reinterment of Richard III in which the choir will play an important part next year. Media interest is already beginning to surround the choir, and an influx of new young choristers following auditions has meant its all hands on deck to train them up ready to ‘sing for the King’.

I was extremely proud to see that one of our congregation was successful in these highly competitive auditions and that Sofia Tansey has joined the ranks of the Junior Girls. I’m happy to report that she is settling in and making a good impression with her attentive attitude and lovely singing voice. St. Bart’s congregation should all be very proud!

Other than working for the Diocese, I am also currently the conductor of three adult choirs: Fosse Singers (Leicester-based community choir) www.fossesingers.co.uk, St Cecilia Singers (Chamber Choir based in Rushden, Northamptonshire) and Redland Green Community Chorus, Bristol. I studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and graduated in June 2012 with an MA in Choral Conducting, having read Music and French at Bristol University. I am also a professional soprano and singing teacher. I am privileged to be able to see the amazing power of music touch people’s lives and every day brings new and exciting challenges. That’s why I love being ‘The Singing Lady’!

Emma Trounson – May 2013