Rachel Smith –Yellow Choir Conductor
Rachel is currently the Head of Junior Music at The Maynard School, Exeter. Prior to this appointment in 2016, she was the Assistant Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral School, during which time she founded the Devon County Junior Choir in 2007 which was followed, in 2012, by the formation of Schola Exe, the County Senior Choir. She continues to conduct both choirs today.
Rachel has been the MD of the Chivenor Military Ladies (formerly Wives) Choir since September 2012. In that capacity she has conducted the choir around the country, including at the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, Downing Street and Buxton Opera House. The choir has also performed at the Menin Gate, Ypres, at various sites around Normandy and in Spain. Rachel has also been the MD for the Lympstone Military Wives Choir since 2013.
When Rachel is not musically busy, she enjoys running, cycling, patchworking and spending time with her family and 4 cats!
Suzzie Vango – Blue Choir Conductor
Passionate about the arts and education, Suzzie’s high-energy vocal workshops have gained her an international reputation as a vocal leader, working with singers of all ages around the world. In demand as a chorus master, director and voice coach, in addition to her work with NCCGB Suzzie also conducts Polymnia, Orchestra of the Swan Chamber Choir, Ex Cathedra Girls Academy and has been a guest conductor for Ex Cathedra Chamber Choir, Manchester Chamber Choir and the CBSO Children’s Chorus.
An established soprano, she has performed and recorded with some of the UK’s finest choirs including Tenebrae, Polyphony, Ex Cathedra and The Eric Whitacre Singers. Suzzie directs the critically acclaimed female a cappella quintet Papagena who have featured on BBC Radio 3 In Tune and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, with their debut album, The Darkest Midnight reaching #6 in the UK Classical Charts.
Suzzie is Head of Vocal Studies at Bromsgrove School, Schools Programme Leader for Music of Life Foundation working with children with disabilities, choir leader for Workplace Choir Company, vocal coach for Schumacher College, Dartington and a vocal tutor for Ex Cathedra Education, regularly contributing her own compositions to their set of music education resources, “SingMaker”. International highlights include trips to the UAE, America, Uganda, Singapore, China, and Thailand. (photo by Anna Berry)
Stuart Overington – Green Choir Conductor
A choral director and vocal leader, Stuart Overington is known for his energetic and engaging approach to training young voices. He took up the role of Green choir director in January 2019. He is also Director of the Hallé Youth Choirs in Manchester, Chetham’s School of Music Chamber Choir and the Royal Northern College of Music’s Symphony Chorus and Chamber Choir.
Stuart studied at the Royal Northern College of Music as both a singer and conductor. Whilst there, he performed in operas and concerts including roles in their production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse and as the lead character ‘Bobby’ in Sondheim’s Company. He has performed as soloist with the RNCM Big Band and Symphony Orchestra and appeared at festivals including the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and London Jazz Festival. As a freelance artist, he has worked for numerous creative organisations including the BBC, Manchester International Festival, Royal Exchange Theatre, Opera North and The Royal Opera House.
Stuart has also had a number of songs commissioned for school singing with many being published in the Boosey & Hawkes bestselling series Singing Sherlock.
Dan Ludford-Thomas – Senior / Tour Conductor and Musical Director
Dan enjoys a busy schedule as a conductor, chorus master and singing teacher in London. He directs a wide variety of choirs from professional ensembles, church choirs, chamber choirs and large symphonic choruses. He performs regularly in major concert venues across the country including Birmingham Symphony Hall and The Royal Albert Hall. In 2012 he conducted over 300 singers and the Forest Philharmonic in a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Festival Hall. In 2014 he conducted over 200 singers in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem in the Fairfield Halls, returning with the same forces to put on Mendelssohn’s Elijah in 2016. In 2017 he conducted over 300 Singers and the London Mozart Players in a performance of Bach’s B minor Mass at the Royal Festival Hall.
Dan was the Chorus Master for the Choir of the Enlightenment, preparing them to sing Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Marin Alsop at the 2013 BBC Proms. He returned as Chorus Master for Marin, preparing the Choir of the Enlightenment to perform Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Triumphlied at the 2015 BBC Proms. In 2018, Dan returned to assist Marin, preparing the Choir of the Enlightenment for 2 performances of Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the OAE, the second of which took place at the Royal Festival Hall and was subsequently broadcast on Radio 3.
In 2012 Dan worked as a choirmaster on BBC2’s The Choir: Sing While You Work and then became the Artistic Director of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir enjoying success as the co-producer and musical director for the Choir’s 2015 Christmas Number One Bridge Over You. He returned in 2013 to work on BBC2’s The Choir: Sing While You Work series 2 as choirmaster to Citibank Choir, with whom he has continued as the Musical Director; highlights include performing at the Hammersmith Apollo and a series of concerts in New York. In 2015 Dan worked behind the scenes as choirmaster for The Choir: Gareth Malone’s Great Choir Reunion.
Dan joined the NCCGB staff in 2012, since when he has conducted both the Senior Choir and the Tour Choirs. In September 2018, Dan was delighted to take up the post of Musical Director of the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain