Workshop Information

A Workshop and Concert on the performance of some of our most well-loved Opera Choruses.
This workshop will focus on singing and performing mixed voice arrangements of;

  • “The Easter Hymn” from Cavalleria Rusticana - Mascagni
  • “The Victory March “ from Aida - Verdi
  • “Speed Your Journey” from Nabucco - Verdi
  • “The Anvil Chorus” from – Il Trovatore - Verdi
  • “Brindisi” from La Traviata - Verdi

Workshop leader: Thom Meredith
Thom is well known in Huddersfield as conductor of the celebrated Colne Valley male Voice Choir and across the country for his enjoyable and informative singing workshops.
Accompanist: Christopher Pulleyn
Concert Orchestra: Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra
We will also be joined by two Opera Soloists who will be joining us in some of the choruses as well as singing arias and duets in our concert. They will be giving you an insight into what is happening in the operas we are singings excerpts from and into their chosen items.                                                                         

Our soloists are:
Sarah Ogden - soprano and David Heathcote – tenor
The choruses we have chosen are exciting to sing, but not inaccessible. Most will be sung in English and some contain unison passages. They can all be easily accessed to listened to on

Thom Meredith our workshop leader and conductor

Thom began his involvement with music at an early age, singing with Leeds Youth Opera Group and then Leeds Youth Chorale.  As a treble he sang many solo roles including the Shepherd Boy in Tosca (Opera North) and the boy soprano in George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children (Ballet Rambert).  He studied singing with Jean Allister and then Arthur Reckless at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  Thom graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford where he was awarded an Exhibition as conductor of the Chapel Choir (1985 - 1987). Following a PGCE qualification from the University of Leeds he taught music in schools including four years as Head of Music at Colne Valley High School, Huddersfield.

Thom’s career involvement with young musicians continued when he joined the staff of Kirklees Music School in 1999 as Assistant Principal.  He was appointed Principal in 2004 and has continued to champion the cause of young people’s music-making over many years.  Thom formed and is Musical Director of the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra whose performances have included Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto (with John Lill), Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue, Karl Jenkins The Armed Man - a mass for peace, Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet, Shostakovich Festival Overture and Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1.  In 2012 KYSO was selected to perform in the Schools Prom series in the Royal Albert Hall.

As Musical Director of Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, a post he has held since 1989, Thom has enabled the choir to achieve musical standards which have taken them to unrivalled levels of success.  They have twice won Llangollen International Eisteddfod.  In May 2007, they won the International Male Voice Choir competition at the Male Voice Choral Festival in Cornwall and returned this year to once again lift the trophy as well as winning the title of best overall UK choir at the festival.  The Colne Valley men are doing their bit to encourage male voice singers of the future and have created Colne Valley Boys a choir for young men of school age which is also proving to be a great success.

In addition to his passion for conducting, Thom has also established a reputation as a fine baritone soloist.  Performances have taken him the length and breadth of the country performing various works from well-known choral works to new compositions.  Recent performances include Bach St Matthew Passion, Carl Orff Carmina Burana, Stainer Crucifixion, Brahms A German Requiem, Handel Messiah, Vaughan Williams Sacta Civitas, Five Mystical Songs and Dona Nobis Pacem, the Requiems of Faure and Durufle and Handel Saul.  In 2009, he released his first CD Let Beauty Awake (available on iTunes) which features English Song Cycles by Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Finzi.

He also leads choral workshops for singers of all ages, teaches singing and arranges music for male, female, boys and mixed choirs, and orchestra.

With his wife, Lynn Hudson, Thom is a director of Harrogate Festival Choral Course, which stages a major choral work each year.  Recent performances of Belshazzar’s Feast, Sancta Civitas, The Creation and Elijah drawing excellent reviews.  Lynn also conducts the Halifax Young Singers and the community choir, CSI Halifax.

Musica Youth Orchestra

Musical Director: Thom Meredith (Principal, Musica Kirklees)

Leader: Benedict Stubbs

Musica Youth Orchestra (MYO), under the umbrella of Musica Kirklees (previously Kirklees Music School), was founded in 2000.  Its aim is to provide high quality orchestral opportunities for students in the area who have reached advanced standards of performance.  The orchestra embraces a variety of genres and styles, from classical to contemporary, film and popular, engaging in project work with other arts organisations and complementary groups from puppet companies to silent movies.  At their recent performance for the screening of the Battle of the Somme film, the reviewer commented: “Everything had to be co-ordinated, so percussion instruments roared as the big guns on the screen were firing.  It was all executed perfectly, and that was clearly no fluke; it was just one example of how exceptionally talented these young musicians are.”

In July 2017 last year, MYO toured northern France, performing in exciting venues in the Loire region and then Honfluer. Over the past fifteen years similar tours have taken the players to Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Saltzburg and the South of France.  MYO has successfully participated in the National Festival of Music for Youth, appearing at the Royal Festival Hall, London, Birmingham Symphony Hall and notably in the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 and 2015 as part of the Schools’ Prom concert series.

Auditions for places in the orchestra are held in the Summer term every year, for further details please contact Gill McDowell via email: or phone: 01484 426426.

Christopher Pulleyn  our rehearsal accompanist

Christopher Pulleyn enjoys a busy and varied career as an accompanist, répétiteur, singer, and choral conductor. A graduate of York University, he now plays for a number of organisation around the North of England, providing piano accompaniment for a number of choirs and organisations, working with young talented instrumentalists at the start of their music career, to established West End Stars and Opera singers from around the world. He is an accompanist at Greenhead College 6th Form College, Leeds College of Music and Hull University, Assistant Musical Director of the Bradford Festival Choral Society, and a répétiteur with Opera North. He performs regularly in concerts and recitals both as an accompanist and a singer.


David Heathcote – Tenor

David Heathcote made his debut in the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the British première of Philip Glass’s opera Satyagraha:

“David Heathcote was the dignified and appealingly human Gandhi” Opera

He went on to perform with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre, London, and toured extensively with the Carl Rosa Opera Company in Britain, Ireland, America, and Canada.  David has performed operas by Puccini, Purcell and Rossini with companies around the UK and recently sang the role of Pyramus in Lampe’s Pyramus and Thisbe at the National Centre for Early Music.

David performed in a recital of operatic arias for the launch of the Scheggino Festival, Italy. His regular appearances as a soloist for choral societies include works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert and Rossini.  He recorded Alan Rawsthorne’s ‘Lament for a Sparrow’ with the Alan Cuckston Singers.


David was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Huddersfield for his research in chemistry and studied singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He founded Opus 1 Opera, a mid-scale touring opera company renowned for its 'refreshingly traditional' productions. Opus 1’s repertoire included La Bohème, Tosca and Il Trovatore, which enjoyed successful tours of the UK and Ireland.

Sarah Ogden, Soprano

Born near Huddersfield and beginning her studies on trumpet, Sarah read Music at the University of Birmingham after which she decided to concentrate on voice, quickly gaining a reputation throughout the North of England as an engaging performer.  In 2012, she completed a Masters in Solo Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music having been awarded the Dame Eva Turner Scholarship. She has a busy schedule as a concert and oratorio soloist and has performed in venues around the UK including Birmingham Symphony Hall, York Minster, Leeds and Huddersfield Town Halls and the Holywell Music Room (Oxford), making her Wigmore Hall début in 2012 singing Colin Matthews The Island.  Sarah has also had the privilege of working with conductors David Hill and Sir Mark Elder (1st Fairy in Mendelssohn's incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream) and has sung on many occasions with the world renowned Black Dyke Band.


Recent opera appearances include; The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart) and Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte (Mozart) and Hippolyta in Midsummer Night's Dream (Britten).  Sarah has toured with Steel Opera and also Young Opera Venture in performances of their "Opera Appetizers" programme and The Marriage of Figaro.  Oratorio works include; Haydn Creation and Theresienmesse, Mozart Mass in C Minor, Coronation Mass and Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Sollenelle, Brahms Requiem, Bach Mass in B Minor and Magnificat in D, Gounod St Cecilia Mass, Dvořák Stabat Mater, and Handel Messiah. 

After taking some time away from a busy singing schedule to have two children, Sarah is currently working for Opera North Education Department as a vocal leader on outreach projects. She is the Musical Director of Denby Dale Ladies Choir and is in demand to give vocal workshops for choirs.