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Discover our dedicated team.

Nicole, Dan and Harriet head up our team of talented and inspirational music and pastoral staff, who are all committed to ensuring that our young choristers get the most out of their time with us.

Meet Our Management Team

Chief Executive

Nicole O’Donnell

Nicole joined NCCGB as Chief Executive in October 2019, having worked in both the commercial and charitable sectors during her career.

Nicole joined NCCGB as Chief Executive in October 2019, having worked in both the commercial and charitable sectors during her career. Nicole spent many years working as a Project Manager before switching to the charity sector. She joined NCCGB directly from the Oxfordshire Playing Fields Association where she was instrumental in helping to improve community facilities for young people across the county.
Nicole accepted the opportunity to join NCCGB as she particularly liked the ethos and aims of the choir. She is committed to enabling our young people to develop and extend their experiences. Nicole is fully behind the holistic approach of NCCGB. Equal importance is placed on excellent quality music teaching, allowing young singers to develop their singing under the tutelage of experienced and inspirational teachers, and on high quality pastoral care. This enables our choristers to have opportunities to develop socially, and make friends for life, whilst also having fun. Nicole puts this at the heart of her work for NCCGB.
Nicole is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day management of NCCGB, working closely with the Board of Trustees and the staff management team.
Musical Director & Senior Choir Conductor

Dan Ludford-Thomas

Dan enjoys a busy schedule as a conductor, chorus master and singing teacher in London.

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.
In London, Dan has conducted many large-scale performances for massed choirs and orchestra, including Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, Bach’s B Minor Mass and Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor at the Southbank Centre, Verdi’s Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Fairfield Halls, Croydon and Carmina Burana at Cadogan Hall. He has conducted numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the London Mozart Players, His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Forest Philharmonic and The London Orchestra da Camera.

In 2012 Dan worked as a choirmaster on BBC2’s The Choir: Sing While You Work, subsequently becoming 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 the second series of the programme, this time with Citibank Choir with whom he has continued as Musical Director; highlights include performing at the Hammersmith Apollo and a series of concerts in New York. In 2015 Dan also worked behind the scenes as choirmaster for The Choir: Gareth Malone’s Great Choir Reunion.

At the 2013 BBC Proms, Dan was the chorus master for the Choir of the Age of Enlightenment, preparing them to sing Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, before returning in 2015 for Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Triumphlied, both conducted by Marin Alsop. In 2018, Dan returned to assist Marin, preparing the same choir and orchestra for two more performances of Brahms’ Requiem, the second of which took place at the Royal Festival Hall and was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Dan enjoyed a return to his role as chorus master for the Choir and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the 2022 BBC Proms, preparing the choir for their performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass conducted by John Butt.

Dan is in demand as a singing teacher and is the Head of Vocal Studies at Dulwich College. For over a decade he has taught and given master classes on the Rodolfus Foundation Choral Courses (formerly Eton Choral Courses) and makes regular visits to the University of Durham, giving conducting and vocal master classes. He is the Musical Director of The Hackney Singers, and Musical Director of Lewisham Choral Society.

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

Head of Pastoral Care

Harriet Smith

Harriet has a long association with the National Children's Choir, going back over 20 years to when she joined the choir at age 11.

Harriet has a long association with the National Children’s Choir, going back over 20 years to when she joined the choir at age 11. Since then, she has sung with both the junior and senior choirs and been employed by NCCGB as a Pastoral Carer, Singing Teacher and Assistant Conductor, before taking up the post of Head of Pastoral Care and Designated Safeguarding Lead in 2020.
Outside of NCCGB, Harriet works as a Head of Year, Music Teacher and Designated Safeguarding Officer at a large secondary school in Lincoln. She very much enjoys the pastoral care side of her job and ensuring that all young people are given the support they need to achieve to the very best of their capabilities.
Harriet has a particular interest in mental health and is trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. She enjoys supporting the NCCGB members to ensure they enjoy all the courses and opportunities that are open to them.

Audition for the NCCGB

We meet twice a year for week-long residential choir courses, one during the Easter holidays and one during the summer holidays. We also run workshops in schools, and choir tours abroad.

Membership of NCCGB is by audition only. Auditions take place in the autumn.

We accept new choir members who would be at least 9 years old when they join their first Easter course. We expect choir members to attend every course, unless there is an unusual event, for example a family wedding.

New choir members must be available to attend the Easter course following their audition.


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