Northampton Bach Choir
Former Choir Répétiteurs
Stephen Meakins
- 2014)

Stephen Meakins is one of the UK’s busiest young accompanists. A keen collaborator, he is in great demand as a chamber musician and has performed in major concert venues as both soloist and accompanist. Recent venues have included St Martin’s in the Fields, St George’s Bristol, Dartington Hall and Wigmore Hall.

Born in Northampton, his formative musical education began as Organ Scholar at All Saints’ Church, Northampton, where he accompanied many of the choir’s recordings. Subsequently, Stephen held the Scholarship at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia. Stephen then went to study at the Royal College of Music with Niel Immelman and Kathron Sturrock. Whilst at the RCM he was awarded the accompanist prize in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition for Young Singers and was also a prize winner in the the prestigious Schumann Competition. Stephen accompanies for the New Virtuosi Mastercourse and also at Bute House School for Girls.

David Cowen
(2002 - 2007)

David Cowen is both Organist and Director of Music at Leicester’s Dominican Priory and Associate Organist at Leicester Cathedral. He is also an Individual Music Teacher at Loughborough Endowed Schools Music School and works regularly with Leicestershire Chorale. David was an organ scholar at the University of Oxford and studied privately in Paris with Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin, specialising in improvisation. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and holds the Certificat d’aptitude d’Artiste Musicien of the Diocese of Paris.

John Byron
(1997 - 2001)

John Byron is active as a conductor, pianist, composer and teacher. His concerto repertoire is substantial, and he has performed with Milton Keynes City Orchestra and numerous local organisations. John has composed several large-scale works involving chorus, soloists and orchestra including Three English Lyrics (Milton Keynes Chorale and Milton Keynes City Orchestra).

Mark Pescott
(1995 - 1997)

Mark Pescott continues to live in Kettering and teach piano at Northampton School for Boys and Brooke Weston Academy in Corby. He is Assistant Director of Music at the church of Ss Peter and Paul, Kettering, and regularly works as repetiteur for the Royal Academy of Dance in London and the Birmingham Royal Ballet Company. In 2011 he was the organist for Earl Spencer's Wedding at Althorp House, and for the Duchess of Buccleuch & Queensberry's memorial service.

Jane Humfrey
(1971 - 1995)

Jane Humfrey (1937 - 2012) is remembered by the choir for her pianistic skills and musicianship as our accompanist. She was also well known locally as a music teacher and composer. Although Jane was a quiet, unassuming lady, never seeking the limelight, we were delighted to discover her hidden poetic talents at occasional choir social evenings when she could be guaranteed to “bring the house down”. This would usually take the form of one of her humorous monologues, appropriately worded to suit the occasion and gathered company, and always delivered with wry aplomb from memory. The choir dedicated their December 2013 concert to her memory, a concert which included three works by a composer she loved, Benjamin Britten.

David Wright
(1968 - 1971)

David Wright, who had been a bass in the choir for several years, stepped into the breach as rehearsal accompanist on the retirement of Charles Barker. For three years he worked with Michael Nicholas and remembers well accompanying carol concerts in Northampton’s Guildhall and pulling out stops of the organ in St Matthew’s Church for Gillian Weir’s performance of Poulenc’s Gloria and the Organ Concerto. David and his wife Susan, also an alto in the choir, moved to Edinburgh in 1971, both becoming members of the Edinburgh Bach Choir, where David was their rehearsal accompanist for a short while in the late 1980’s under John Grundy. David’s work as pastoral minister in Baptist churches, which began in Morningside, Edinburgh, subsequently took him in 1989 to Tonbridge, Kent (where together with Susan he joined Tonbridge Philharmonic Society) and in 1999 to Weston-super-Mare. After retirement in 2003 David and Susan were members of Bristol Choral Society for 13 years under the leadership of Adrian Partington.

Charles Barker
(1936 - 1968)

Charles Barker (1904 - 1986) was for many years, in addition to repetiteur for the Northampton Bach Choir, Assistant Organist at St Matthew's Church, and he is principally remembered as the organist in the first performance of Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb" (1943), under the direction of the composer, who was himself wearing choir robes.

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