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Patrick Larley – Music Director

Patrick LarleyPatrick, a freelance composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player, has been Music Director of the Montgomeryshire County Music Festival since January 2008. He is also Music Director of Ludlow Choral Society, founder/director of a professional vocal ensemble, Chudleigh's Company, and formerly Music Director of Birmingham Festival Choral Society – a post which he relinquished in 2016 after eleven very successful years.

Patrick has performed with choral societies around the UK, notably as Evangelist in the Bach Passions and in works of the Baroque, and has been a member of two professional choirs – Wells Cathedral Choir and the BBC Northern Singers. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, he has given recitals in many of the country's cathedrals and major churches, and his concerts, at the organ, piano and harpsichord, often include a variety of styles of improvisation – including jazz.

Patrick's compositions encompass a variety of styles including choral, orchestral, instrumental, theatre and advertising. His choral works have been recorded on CD, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performed widely throughout the UK, across Europe and in America. His Memento Mori score for the award winning Aerial Theatre company Ockham's Razor has received performances throughout the UK and Europe and more recently in the Sydney Arts Festival, and he composed music for the first in-house production of Macbeth at Shrewbury's Theatre Severn in April 2017.

Recent choral commissions include The Gentle Earth of Wales (2011), a cantata based on traditional Welsh melodies, The Birmingham Spirituals (2014), commissioned by BFCS and inspired by the words and melodies of African / American spirituals, and The Tree of Peace (2016) – a joint commission for St. Paul's Church, Chichester and Paul-Gehardt Kirche, Berlin.

Patrick's first String Quartet, Iona Sound, was premiered at the Gateway Arts Centre, Shrewsbury in February 2016 and performed again in Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull and Iona Abbey in June 2017, and his Clarinet Trio, Sweet Rememberings, was performed by Hollie Whittles (clarinet) and Anne Tupling (violin) and Patrick (piano) on 22nd February 2018 in the Gateway. A Girl for the Blue was the UK winner in the Ortus International New Music Competition, receiving a performance in New York on June 27th 2015 by Khorikos, the outstanding NYC young chamber choir.

Away from the music platform, Patrick has a keen interest in sport and outdoor pursuits and enjoys discovering Scottish Islands in his campervan. A former faster bowler and rugby union winger, he now continues his sporting and leisure activities in a sea-kayak and on a bicycle – though not at the same time.

For further information, see www.patricklarley.com.  

Stella Gratrix: Llanidloes Choral Society

Stella has been involved in Choral singing from schooldays, being a composer, arranger and folk singer before moving to Llanidloes in 1997, shortly afterwards joining Llanwnog Mixed Voice Choir with whom she is now deputy conductor as well as an alto.

When the previous conductor of Llanidloes Choral Society resigned in 2003, Stella was invited to become conductor, and now rehearses Llanidloes, as well as singing alto in the County Festival.

Stella is also the conductor of the Wesley Singers based at Longbridge Street Methodist Church in Llanidloes, with whom Stella has brought her musical experience to bear in winning Eisteddfodau. The Wesley Singers have produced a double CD of 24 hymns to accompany a hymn book published in September 2009, and sang on the Glanfa Stage at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Oct 2nd 2010.

Stella has also given great support to the committee in the organisation of the Festival.

Beryl Jones: Welshpool Choral Society

Beryl graduated from UCW Aberystwyth with a B.Mus degree in 1961 and, after completing a PGCE course in London, was appointed Head of Music at Welshpool High School. After leaving to raise her family she did not return to full-time teaching but has been involved in private coaching and local music-making ever since.

In November last year Beryl celebrated 40 years as conductor of Welshpool Choral Society – an anniversary also shared by the choir’s accompanist, Margaret Benbow. During the past 40 years, in addition to their involvement in the Festival, Welshpool Choral have given annual Christmas Concerts and Beryl is very grateful to the choir for the opportunity during this time to perform a number of her own original compositions.