James Llewelyn Jones BMus (Hons), MMus
James’s passion for choral singing was enriched as a member of the National Youth Choirs of Wales and Great Britain; he was also a founder member of the National Chamber Choir. His musical education continued in Birmingham where he gained his BMus (Hons) and MMus degrees with distinction.
He has worked with some of the world’s leading children’s choirs in Chicago and Toronto, spent 11 years conducting the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and was involved in the formation of the National Children’s Training Choir GB as well as Dulce Corum (the National Girls’ Chamber Choir). He was also the conductor of Canzonetta Children’s Choirs of Manchester – formerly the internationally acclaimed Manchester Boys’ choir.
Since 2006, James has been the Musical Director of the Birmingham Canoldir Male Choir, and took on new challenges last year when he was appointed as the MD of The Rhos Male Voice Choir – it had been a childhood dream of his to lead one of the top Welsh choirs. Based in a small village Rhosllanerchrugog of around 9,000 inhabitants, Rhos has become widely acknowledged as one of the best of its kind in the country.
In September 2014, James was appointed Musical Director of the Midlands Hospitals’ Choir – loved by all singers, he has worked us hard to improve our performances and extend our repertoire. When he’s not conducting or singing himself, he teaches singing in various schools to both individuals and groups.
James was excited enough to be going to the Coldplay concert in Cardiff in July 2017, but then got an amazing request to sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (the national anthem of Wales) at the end of the concert. The following day, Coldplay asked him to do it all again alongside actor Rob Brydon. What an amazing, magical experience!
Melissa Morris BMus (Hons) LRSM, MMus
Melissa graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with a 1st class honours degree in 2005 and was awarded Distinction LRSM for piano performance the same year. Following an Erasmus Programme of study at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Weimar, Germany she was awarded the Weingarten Scholarship and spent a year studying at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In 2008 Melissa returned to complete her Masters, achieving Commendation, at Birmingham Conservatoire.
Throughout her studies, and thereafter, Melissa’s particular interests have been in playing 20th century piano repertoire and working in instrumental duos specialising in vocal, violin and clarinet repertoire.
During her time at the Conservatoire, Melissa was pianist for contemporary music ensemble Interrobang and collaborated on many contemporary projects including an interactive piece for piano that premiered at the CBSO centre with the Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre. More recently she has collaborated on a physical theatre piece under the direction of Daniel Piaszczyk, which premiered at the Arena Theatre Wolverhampton involving live solo improvisation for the duration of the piece.
In addition to performing, Melissa is active as a rehearsal pianist for various companies and choirs in the Midlands. Alongside freelance playing, Melissa has a thriving network of piano students both in schools and privately.
Melissa has a keen interest in the diversity of, and interrelation of the arts and has recently set up Room Art with her partner and photographer Marcin Sz. This is an Art Gallery and Music Venue within their home, in which they curate and install quarterly exhibitions and put on events such as concerts, discussion groups and workshop as a way of sharing fine arts and music within the community in an informal and approachable way.
Melissa has been accompanying the Midlands Hospitals’ Choir since 2009.