Christopher was appointed Director of Music at St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich in 2015. In this time the choir has appeared on BBC 1’s Songs of Praise and BBC Radio Suffolk and has premiered works by John Brunning and Ben Parry. In addition to the six services a week, the choir tours regularly and gives frequent concert performances. Recent programmes include Handel Messiah, Vivaldi Gloria and Britten Ceremony of Carols.
Christopher has conducted much of the mainstream church and choral repertoire, including Handel Dixit Dominus, Judas Maccabaeus, Bach Christmas Oratorio, St John Passion, Monteverdi 1610 Vespers, Brahms German Requiem and Britten St Nicolas.
In addition to his post at St Mary-le-Tower, Christopher enjoys a varied musical career as a freelance bass, having sung with some of the UK’s leading ensembles such as the Marian Consort and the Dunedin Consort. He has led RSCM workshops for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, is a singing teacher at Felsted School, and a published composer with Novello.
Christopher began his musical education at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire before holding choral scholarships at Tewkesbury Abbey and New College, Oxford. As an undergraduate he was conductor of the Oxford New Orchestra and Musical Director of New Chamber Opera. After university, Christopher gained a place on the prestigious Monteverdi Choir Apprenticeship Scheme and subsequently sang with the choir for 7 years.
Organist and Assistant Director of Music: William Baldry BMus
Initially a chorister, and later organ scholar at St Mary-le-Tower, William held a gap-year organ scholarship at Rochester Cathedral and King’s School, Rochester before studying for a degree in music at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he also held an organ scholarship. Here he accompanied the Choir of Royal Holloway in college services and in many English Cathedrals, as well as, annually, on BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong. He also accompanied the choir on tours to the United States of America and Belgium, playing for concerts and services at St Thomas, Fifth Avenue, NY, Washington National Cathedral, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, Antwerp and Brugge Cathedrals. He accompanied the choir on a recording of the choral music of the Swedish composer, Bo Hansson, for Hyperion Records. Besides the Choir of Royal Holloway, William directed and accompanied the Founder’s choir and also played timpani in the college’s Symphony Orchestra.
Before returning to St Mary-le-Tower, William was the Organist in Residence at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, and Organ Scholar at Tewkesbury Abbey. At the school he accompanied the Chapel and Chamber choirs and played for the regular chapel services. He accompanied the Chamber Choir on their recent CD, ‘A New Heaven’. He also worked with the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, training choristers, rehearsing, accompanying, and directing the choir.
As well as his work at the Tower, William pursues a busy freelance career including the role of Accompanist to Stowmarket Chorale.
Singing Teacher: Katie Smith
After reading Music at Royal Holloway College (London University), she took part in the Mayer-Lissmann Opera Workshop and masterclasses with leading performers such as Malcom Martineau, Paul Hamburger & Laura Sarti. She then studied with Rae Woodland over a period of 25 years, whilst gaining a breadth of experience in concert and oratorio work all over the UK.
Since moving to East Anglia, Katie has taught singing privately and in schools, besides giving weekly lessons to the Choristers of Norwich Cathedral and taking part in their outreach programme.
She has successfully prepared numerous pupils for choral scholarships at Oxbridge and other leading universities & cathedrals, as well as for conservatoire entry.
Senior Music Scholar: Matthew Heyburn
Choir Assistants: Lis Rollinson and Taylor London
Lis and Taylor are the glue that holds the whole thing together. They act as choir librarians, look after the choristers, provide much-needed refreshment between services and act as pastoral support for the whole choir.