The Choir

The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir is a Registered Charity (No 1123716) and Private Company Limited by Guarantee. Its Governance, Objects, Administration and Membership requirements are detailed in the Memorandum And Articles of YPC Ltd.

The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir was founded in 1953 and is now established as one of the premier choirs in the North of England. It is based in Wakefield and currently has over 100 members.

The Choir usually gives five concerts a year with the main venue being Wakefield Cathedral. Other venues have included the town halls of Leeds, Huddersfield and Dewsbury and The Venue at Leeds College of Music.

In recent years the choir has appeared on BBC Radio and Television, Classic FM and has made two commercial CD recordings. There have been four foreign tours, and regular performances with top class orchestras and internationally known artists.

Under the dynamic leadership of its conductor, Dr. Andrew Padmore, the choir continues to enhance its reputation and widen its repertoire to include early music, classical, jazz and contemporary music which continues to build audiences.


Dr Andrew Padmore

Dr Andrew Padmore joined the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir as musical director in 1989. He is a popular conductor with choirs and orchestras internationally and is a leading figure in the choral world. He is currently the resident conductor and artistic director of both the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir and the Harrogate Choral Society, but has worked with diverse forces ranging from small chamber choirs at the BBC to the largest symphony orchestras and choirs such as the well known Huddersfield Choral Society. His work is highly praised by audiences and by performers alike, as well as by the critics for the dynamism of his approach and for both the flair and sensitivity displayed in his performances.

He is much in demand as a guest conductor for the major choral repertoire throughout the U.K. and abroad, and all result in subsequent invitations to undertake further engagements. Choirs find his approach dynamic and inspirational and professional soloists comment on his intuitive support. Soloists in recent concerts include Dame Emma Kirkby, Patricia Rozario, Mark Padmore, Sir Willard White, Alfie Boe, Alison Balsom (Trumpet), Nicola Benedetti (Violin) & Emma Johnson (Clarinet).  Andrew is also invited to direct choral and orchestral workshops in schools, colleges and universities in the U.K. and as far a-field as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Andrew’s versatility is well known. He is as comfortable conducting summer outdoor performances of “Last Night of the Proms” type concerts attracting audiences of thousands, as he is 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 communication with both performers and audiences make his concerts memorable. Under his leadership he brought the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir and the Harrogate Choral Society together to become Yorkshire Voices. The first concert as Yorkshire Voices was Verdi Requiem at Leeds Town Hall in June 2008, the second was Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man and David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus in 2009 and the third performance was Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in 2016.

Andrew Padmore studied conducting under Sir Adrian Boult and was Cathedral Organist & Master of Choristers at Cork and Belfast Cathedrals, giving organ recitals in many of the British Cathedrals and major Concert Halls. He has also played both violin and trombone professionally. Since 1989 he has concentrated on choral and orchestral conducting, adjudicating for international choral festivals, tutoring and examining for the Royal Schools of Music, and delivering master classes worldwide.

Derek’s first steps in music were at the age of 7, when he began to learn to play the cornet in the Salvation Army. From the age of 8 he was a member of the Young People’s Band and the Singing Company (Junior Mixed Choir) at Castleford S.A. This was the time when both faith and a sound musical base was laid.

Through school years, and having moved onto Tenor Horn, he played with the Yorkshire Schools’ Brass Band, becoming principal solo horn.

His Secondary School education took him to the, then, Normanton Grammar School, where he benefited from some exceptional and devoted music teachers, as well as peripatetic tutors. He was a member of various music activities, including the school band and choir as well as the school orchestra, having been introduced to the French Horn at school.

Derek remained in the Salvation Army until his late 20’s. From the age of 16 he was both a member of The S.A. Senior Band, becoming its Tenor Horn Soloist, and a member of the Bass Section in the S.A. Songsters (Senior Church Choir) at Castleford.

Having spent much time immersed in Brass Banding, it is this latter involvement that made him appreciate choral music more and more.

In 1980, Derek and his wife, Judith, made the move from the Salvation Army to the Anglican Parish Church in Normanton, where they still worship. Soon after, Derek was asked to take responsibility for the musical worship of the church, becoming its Director of Music, a post (non paid) he held until stepping down in the mid 1990’s.

Choir Chairman:

Derek Howell

Normanton’s musical tradition is eclectic and more contemporary than traditional, but Derek’s wide music appreciation allowed a ‘best of the old and best of the new’ approach. He also taught himself the guitar and electric bass during this time, and transferred his brass skills back to the trumpet and flugelhorn.  Although not leading anymore, Derek, and Judith, are still part of the music ministry.

Derek is a Public Finance Accountant by profession and worked for Leeds City Council in various financial capacities for 40 years before retiring a little early in 2008, concluding his career as Principal Project Manager responsible for leading the Council’s Education Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Team.

He joined the YPC in 2004, sings 2nd Bass and has served on the Choir Committee since 2005, being elected Vice Chairman in 2006. He was elected chairman of the Choir in 2012.

When he is not singing or about YPC business, Derek enjoys researching Family History (in fact anything to do with history), reading fiction, the theatre (musical and dramatic), good music of all types, most sport, playing golf occasionally, and most importantly being a grandpa. He also keeps his hand in with a bit of figures work and is treasurer at Normanton Parish Church.

As mentioned he is married to Judith, who is a retired Primary Headteacher. They have two daughters, Emma and Leah, who are both teachers, and three wonderful grandchildren Ivy, Jonas and Amos.


Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore is a freelance musician, holding the posts of Assistant Music Director with both Harrogate Choral Society and Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir.


Born in Leicester, Tom started his musical career early, beginning to play the piano at the age of four. He was a treble in Leicester Cathedral Choir, and was inspired to start organ lessons with the Cathedral Assistant Organist, Geoffrey Carter.

After Tom had completed his schooling in Leicester, he moved to Huddersfield to take a Bachelor of Music degree at the University. He majored in organ studies, studying under Keith Jarvis, and taking part in master classes given by Dame Gillian Weir, David Titterington, and Peter Hurford.

During his time in West Yorkshire, Tom broadcast on radio and television, and was successively organ Scholar at Huddersfield Parish Church and Bradford Cathedral, playing the organ for the Royal Maundy Thursday service, in March 1997.

Following graduation in September 1998, Tom was appointed Assistant Organist at Peterborough Cathedral, and eventually returned to Huddersfield University to study for his Master of Arts in Music, graduating in September 1999.


In September 2002, Tom assumed the appointment of Assistant Director of Music at Wakefield Cathedral and Director of the girl choristers of the Cathedral Choir, and held the post of Director of Music from 2010-2020.


The Most Reverend & Right Honourable Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York


Rt. Rev’d & Rt. Hon. Lord Hope of Thornes. KCVO 

Jonathan Bielby M.A., B.Mus., F.R.C.O.

David Angus B.Mus.

Honorary Members:

Gareth Green

Keith Swallow

Derek Howell

John Whelan

Alison Elcock

Antony Osborne

Wendy Nutton

Jenny Stephenson

Website Manager

Diane Heath


Karen Cousins

Janette Fraser

Diane Heath

Bryan Hutton

Anne Oldham

Pat Rosser

Ordinary Committee Members:
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