Graham Coatman – Musical Director
After 25 years as composer, musical director, choral trainer, teacher, accompanist and continuo player in Yorkshire, Graham Coatman has relocated to the South West, where he has taken up a post at Bath Spa University.
Director of Leeds Guild of Singers for some 17 years, he established a vibrant choir performing music from medieval to new commissions, whose last season included all 6 of Bach’s motets, appearances at European festivals, and an original historically informed performance of Handel’s Messiah described as “powerful and moving”. He has also directed community choirs, prison choirs, and, for instance, a Choral Spectacular for the 50th anniversary of Leeds Methodist Choir in Leeds Town Hall with over 250 performers, including massed choirs, brass band, soloists and instrumentalists.
An innovative composer, amongst recent works is Being Inbetween, a sound installation for an award winning photographic installation created by photographer and digital artist Carolyn Mendelsohn, currently touring UK and abroad. Graham is Director of HISS – the Historically Informed Summer School, which he founded in 2010 and which in 2017 will welcome participants from four continents. He is Director of 20,000 Voices, a small charity promoting singing through workshops and projects, which is currently undertaking a 2 year European choral training scheme, ADDUP, with Erasmus+ funding, working with partner organisations in France, Italy and Poland.
My love of singing started in my teenage years, when I sang with my school and church choirs. A busy career and family life meant that, apart from two brief periods with choirs in Nottinghamshire and Somerset, I did not rekindle that love until my mid-fifties.
I joined Mid Wessex Singers about ten years ago at about the same time I started singing with the choir at Somerset County Council, which is where I was working at the time. Upon retirement 5 years ago I became a member of a community choir so I now enjoy the challenges and the full range of music offered by the two choirs.
As well as singing I enjoy gardening, needle-craft, sailing round the Greek Islands and walking. My husband and I are gradually walking our way around the South West Coast Path, sampling locally made carrot cake along the way.
I started singing in my church choir aged 16 and sang in the Halle Choir under Sir John Barbirolli. I won a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music where I studied singing with Marjorie Thomas, later transferring to the Royal Academy, London. where I gained LRAM teaching and ARCM performing diplomas.
I was married for 20 years to a Royal Naval officer and lived in Key West, Florida, USA for two years, teaching music at St Mary Star of the Sea School and singing with various local choirs and doing solo work.
I also lived in Toronto, Canada for two years, singing with Toronto Orpheus Choir, The Tallis Scholars and solo performances including on CBC radio.
On returning to Somerset, I sang with Taunton Choral Society, Somerset Opera Group, Bridgwater Choral Society, Yeovil Choral Society performing soprano solos when required.
I am now Treasurer and Alto with Mid Wessex Singers and a member of Somerton Ukelele Band for fun!!
I’ve been in a choir since I was at school, so music is a great part of my life. As well as singing with the Mid Wessex, (just taken on the role of secretary), I sing with Take Note, a small ‘concert party’. I play the saxophone and with a group of friends formed a band (Cazzjazz) about 12 years ago. I enjoy walking, cycling, all sorts of handicrafts and going away in our campervan.
I joined the Mid Wessex Singers nearly three years ago when we moved to Somerton. Singing is very important to me and I have always belonged to a choir wherever we have lived. It is my relaxation, hobby and fun! I enjoy the variety of music we sing in Mid Wessex, and like the challenge of learning new pieces. I joined the committee just over a year ago and help to organise the singing in the community which we do twice a term.
I was an original member of the choir in 1999 for about four years and left
for personal reasons. I have now re-joined and am very much enjoying my time
there. I was many years ago in the Luton Girls’ Choir and over the years
have been in various amateur productions of musicals.
I have been a member of the Rotary Club for about 13 years and help with various community events particularly the Forget Me Not Café, a memory café in Langport which is run by the Rotary Club but was started by me because of my own personal experience of dealing with Alzheimer’s. I have been in business for many years, and to date run my own Lingerie and Bra Fitting Service.