My musical journey - Heather Howard

  • Posted on: 11 September 2019
  • By: huw

My musical journey in words and pictures – Heather Howard, alto

My musical life began when I was living in Kingsley, in Cheshire, singing in St John’s Church parish choir. I was brought up in a very musical family and was encouraged to learn to read music from a young age. I must have been about eight in this 1984 photo.

I passed my grade 5 theory in 1994, grade 5 flute in 1992, and grade 3 piano with merit in 1990. M mum was also keen for Samuel, my son, to learn music early too. Samuel continues to enjoy playing his flute and has recently passed grade 4 with merit. Here he is playing with my dad.

At the Queen’s School in Chester, I was involved in productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and The Mikado. When we moved to Oxfordshire in the sixth form, I sang in the chapel choir at The School of St Helen and St Katharine. While being marked out of ten from the boys from Radley College (as if they’re never seen girls before!) we joined them and sang many evensongs in Radley College Chapel. One of the highlights was singing in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The photograph shows me at a school re-union with a couple of my chapel choir friends.

I went away to university in Sheffield and sadly didn’t get involved in any musical activities. I guess I was too busy being a student and having fun! In Birmingham where I was studying for my MA, I played my flute again in the university wind band.

My working life started in London and a friend asked me to go along to sing with her in Barts Choir under the baton of Ivor Setterfield who still conducts the choir today. During my time with Barts, a huge choir of over 300 people, I sang in the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. Concerts included Verdi’s Requiem, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and the wonderful Handel’s Messiah. I was also a part of two Songs of Praise recordings which were great fun.

After marrying in 2004 we moved away from London to start a family and found ourselves in Royston, Hertfordshire. Samuel and I sang with the church choir for a while and during my time in the choir, Adrian Jacobs celebrated 50 years of being a church organist and I was asked to make a cake.

I happily found Royston Choral Society and have been a member ever since and was chairman for eight years. I have also loved being a part of Richard Prince’s Priory Singers, Choir 18 (conducted by David Border) and Reed Choir. I have been lucky enough to sing in many lovely cathedrals including Norwich, Bury, Southwark and Ely.

Two highlights of my musical life have to be my trip to New York with members of Royston Choral Society to sing in Carnegie Hall with Karl Jenkins conducting us - a world premiere of his fascinating work The Peacemakers and my second highlight is my trip to Vienna in December 2018 with Run By Singers to sing Mozart’s Requiem at midnight in The Karlskirche.

Oh, and I’ve met John Rutter (rather starstruck!) P