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St Alban’s RC High School Choir
St Alban’s RC High School Choir was formed in 2007 and has since undertaken concert tours to Prague, Barcelona, Warsaw, Holland, New York and Normandy. Notable concert venues include the United Nations and Ground Zero in New York, Warsaw Cathedral and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The choir undertakes a busy annual programme of concerts in the locality but performed further afield at the last night of the school proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2010.
The choir performs a diverse repertoire of music ranging from Medieval to contemporary music. In 2008 the choir was awarded the Award of the Head of the Jury at the Warsaw International Choral Competition.
Members are aged between 13 and 18 years of age. Many members have traditionally gone on to pursue degrees in music after leaving school.
Paul Cook – Musical Biography
Paul was educated at Chetham's before winning an entrance scholarship at seventeen to study singing at the RNCM with Nick Powell. Whilst at college Paul worked as tenor lay clerk at Manchester Cathedral and as session singer with the BBC for Radio 4's Daily Service.
Work followed at various opera houses at home and abroad most notably some forty productions with Scottish Opera over five years which included several broadcasts live from the Edinburgh Festival on Radio 3 and on BBC 2. Paul worked extensively with various ensembles across the Uk and toured Europe with the Academy of St Martin-in-the Fields. He has performed in some of Europe's most prestigious concert venues including Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Theater an der Wien in Vienna. Paul worked as soloist with many choirs and choral societies. He retired from singing in his late twenties to pursue other musical goals.
He achieved a first class honours degree in music and education and eight diplomas in pipe organ, piano, singing, composition and music theory. Paul is currently Head of Music at St Alban's Roman Catholic High School and (during the last seven years) has led the Junior Choir on concert tours to Disneyland seven times and the Senior Choir on tours to Prague, Barcelona, Warsaw, Amsterdam, New York and Normandy. This summer the juniors will return to Disneyland and the seniors will return to Amsterdam.
In addition to his duties at St Alban's, Paul teaches singing at Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools, works for Gwent Music Support Service, is Director of Music at St Gabriel's Parish Church in Cwmbran, Musical Director of the Stagecoach Youth Choir of Wales and has a very large private teaching practice. Paul particularly enjoys his work with the Council for Music in Hospitals with whom he has performed with his wife the length and breadth of Wales from Caernafon to Cwmgwilli through sunshine and snowdrifts.
In 2010 Paul succeeded Martin Hodson MBE as Musical Director of the Coleg Gwent Chorale and conducted his inaugural concert with the choir and the Welsh Sinfonia in May 2011.
He has conducted the Stagecoach Youth Choir of Wales at concerts at Symphony Hall Birmingham, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales Millennium Centre and Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End.Success as a choral conductor came in 2008 when St Alban's Senior Choir won the Award of the Head of the Jury at the Warsaw International Choral Competition and the Stagecoach Youth Choir won the Stagecoach International Choral Festival at Symphony Hall.
Paul has composed some one hundred pieces of choral and organ music, many of which are performed regularly around the world in a variety of worship environments; visit www.darktreemusic.com
He is very happily married to Welsh soprano Jill Padfield. Paul and Jill celebrated the birth of their first child Matthew in April 2012.
As a private tutor Paul has enjoyed an outstanding record of exam success and currently has students studying at several of the UK's major conservatoires. Within the last twelve months several of his students have gained Grade 8 distinction in classical singing and music theatre, others have passed performance diplomas and gained places at music college as postgraduate and undergraduate students.
Paul is currently undergoing training at the Associated Board in London and future plans include a televised performance of Cats in the National Indoor Arena later this year.
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