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The Choir

The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir (YPC) 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 around 100 members. Entry is by audition with vocal reassessments every three years.

The YPC usually gives four concerts each year, with its main performances taking place in Wakefield Cathedral. Other venues have included the town halls of Leeds, Huddersfield and Dewsbury and concert facilities such as ‘The Venue’ at Leeds Conservatoire.

The choir undertakes short recital tours in the UK, Ireland and the near continent.  On these trips it has performed in prestigious settings such as the Cathedrals of Bayeux, St.Giles’ Edinburgh, St. Anne’s Belfast, Durham and Tewksbury Abbey. The YPC has featured on BBC and other radio channels and appeared in BBC television programmes. It has also made commercial recordings.

Through its development the YPC has had five Musical Directors and each has contributed significantly to that development, but none more so than Dr Andrew Padmore BEM, who retired from that position in June 2023 after 34 years. Under his dynamic and expansive leadership, the YPC became known for its consistent high standard of performance across a range of choral music, from early music to modern and newly commissioned works, seeking to perform all works with orchestral or originally scored resources.

 

The current Musical Director of the YPC, Thom Meredith, has brought a wealth a musical experience to the position. Thom is a distinguished Baritone soloist with a wealth of experience singing professionally and, in his former full time employment as the Head of Musica Kirklees, has had major involvement with young musicians and has formed and directed choirs and orchestras in many prestigious performances. Thom’s appointment, building on all the excellent foundations of his predecessors, begins a new and exciting era for the YPC.

The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir is a Registered Charity (No 1123716) and a Private Company Limited by Guarantee (Reg. 6515248) Its Governance, Objects, Administration and Membership requirements are detailed in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of YPC Ltd and associated documents.

Conductor
Thom Meredith

Thom studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama while reading Music at Brasenose College, Oxford where he was awarded an Exhibition as conductor of the Chapel Choir (1985-87).

Following his graduation he gained a PGCE qualification from the University of Leeds and taught music in schools in North and West Yorkshire including seven years as Head of Music and then Head of Year at Colne Valley High School, Huddersfield.

His involvement with young musicians continued when he joined the staff of Kirklees Music School (now Musica Kirklees) in 1999 as Assistant Principal and appointed as Principal in 2004; a role he has cherished for twenty years. In 2000 Thom formed and conducted the Musica Youth Orchestra with many prestigious performances. He will be stepping down from this role in the summer in order to concentrate on his work as a freelance musician.

With his wife, Lynn Hudson, Thom is a director of Harrogate Festival Choral Course, which has staged many major choral works and choral courses over many years for singers across the UK and abroad.  

As the long-standing MD of the renowned Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, for many years Thom has led them to international competition wins as well as instigating innovative and successful programmes such as ‘Let All Men Sing’.

He has established a reputation as a fine baritone soloist and therefore also brings a wealth of experience of singing professionally to the position.

Thom is thrilled and excited to have been successful and the choir shares that excitement, as we stand on the threshold of a new era.

 

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Choir Chairman
Derek Howell

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.

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.  Derek and Judith are still part of the music team at All Saints’ Normanton.

​Derek trained and qualified as a Public Finance Accountant and worked for Leeds City Council in various financial and project management capacities for 40 years, before retiring, a little early, in 2008.

He joined the YPC in 2004, sings 2nd Bass and has served on the Choir Committee and later as a Director since 2005. He became Vice Chairman in 2006 and was elected Chairman of the Choir in 2012. He is also Chairman of Directors of YPC Ltd.

When he is not singing or about YPC business, Derek enjoys researching Family History (in fact, anything to do with history), reading, the theatre (musical and dramatic), good music of all types and most sport, although not participating much these days. Most importantly he loves being a grandpa. He keeps his hand in with a bit of figures work and is Treasurer of All Saints’ Church, Normanton. 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 four wonderful grandchildren, Ivy, Jonas, Amos and Eva.

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President

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

Vice-President

Dr Andrew Padmore BEM

Thomas Moore

Jonathan Bielby MBE

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

David Angus

Honorary Members

Gareth Green

Directors

Derek Howell

John Whelan

Alison Elcock

Antony Osborne

Wendy Nutton

Jenny Stephenson

Karen Cousins

Janette Fraser

Diane Heath

Bryan Hutton

Pat Rosser

Hannah Zelei-Good

Committee Members
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