The Andover Museum Loft Singers
As musical director of this small and informal choir, so named because it rehearses weekly in the loft of the Andover Iron Age Museum, Paul has been able to explore and arrange local and Southern English traditional songs and get the music back from whence it came. The Singers are a lovely and enthusiastic bunch, drawn from all ages and walks of life, and they perform regularly for concerts, seasonal celebrations and community events such as fairs, church services, wedding receptions, and recently the unveiling of Andover’s first blue plaque, commemorating Reg Presley of The Troggs.
The Andover Museum Loft Singers were founded by Roger Watson under the auspices of Traditional Arts Projects, better known as TAPS. Paul has worked on a number of education projects for TAPS, including orchestral arrangements of English tunes at the Oxfordshire County Music Service, songwriting at the Wiltshire Music Centre (with Mauricio Venegas and Musa Mboob), and the Hampshire Sing Out Weekend. He and Roger directed the Andover Museum Loft Singers together as part of commemoration of the Battle of Trafalgar and death of Nelson, and the recreation of the arrival of the stage coach which carried the news to Andover and towns throughout the South.
Paul was for many years a performer and workshop facilitator for Live Music Now! With Dr Faustus he was responsible for a number of large projects in special needs schools and adult mental health units in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Cornwall.
Having well exceeded the age threshold for LMN!, Paul was put out to grass; having served on the South West Branch committee, he was frequently engaged for consultancy and training, for example a workshop on music in prisons for trainee Live Music Now! musicians at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a presentation for Live Music Now! South West at the Plymouth Pavilion in front of a large and formidable delegation of community leaders.
Work with Live Music Now! has led to a number of significant professional developments in Paul’s community work. Regular tours for Lost Chord with Benji Kirkpatrick and Tim van Eyken took him to a large circuit of homes and centres for dementia and Altzheimer’s patients in South Yorkshire, whilst ongoing work for Devon-based music charity SuperAct has included song-writing projects in prisons and Youth Offending Institutes, schemes for elderly persons, hospital visits, and cultural exchanges to France and Turkey.
An erstwhile visiting tutor on the Folk Degree course at the University of Newcastle, Paul has for many years worked with the National Youth Folklore Troupe of England (NYFTE), variously as Performance Consultant and Guest Tutor. Run by Dave Leverton and a band of dedicated leaders, NYFTE specialises in English dance, song and instrumental music, and provides training and performance opportunities for school-age children, who come from all over the country.
Peripatetic singing, instrumental, ensemble and theory teaching includes an 11-year stint at St Edward’s School, Oxford, and shorter tenures at King’s College School, Cambridge, The Abbey School, Reading, and The Dragon School, Oxford.
Paul has facilitated workshops for the English Folk Dance and Song Society, The National Youth Orchestra, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Southbank Centre, Folk South West, Halsway Manor, and at countless festivals.
He has been known to do a modicum of private tuition at home – voice, oboe, violin, piano, theory, and extra help with GCSEs and A Levels.