With a grandfather who taught as a peripatetic on stringed instruments in Northampton and a father who was a boy chorister that met and married a fellow choir member at university, it was perhaps inevitable that I would become involved in music. After elder siblings began learning violin and flute it was the French Horn that I found in the school cupboard and as there were no other Horn players in the school I was almost immediately drafted into the school's band. That was at the age of 9, over 35 years ago and I have been freelancing around the UK since Graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music for over 20 years. Amongst other things this has seen me appear on Coronation Street (the 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee special, when the Street’s residents had a village fete and civil war re-enactment there was a brass quintet playing in the background, blink and you miss it!) and as a soloist in Britten’s Serenade, Mozart’s 4th Concerto and Schumann’s Konzertstuck (on 5 occasions around Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester), as well as travelling to the USA, China, Ireland and many regions of the UK. Alongside the playing, I currently do a small amount of teaching, having been tutor for Wakefield Grammar Schools Foundation, St Francis Xavier in Liverpool and Bury Music service over the last 15 years or so, I currently impart pearls of brass playing wisdom at Bury Grammar School. In 2009 I started to branch out into conducting with a 2 year involvement with the Manchester Universities Gilbert and Sullivan Society (AMD Pirates of Penzance 2010, MD Yeomen of the Guard 2011). This led, in 2011 to becoming the Musical Director for Rochdale Phoenix Opera Society (Iolanthe 2011, La Traviata 2012, HMS Pinafore 2013, La Vie Parisienne 2014, The Gondoliers 2015, Carmen 2016, Patience 2017, Pirates of Penzance 2018, The Mikado 2019), the ladies choir 'More Than Melody' (since 2013) and the Oldham Community Choir (since2017) and assisting with the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir (since 2015) who in November 2018 made the appointment as MD. In my spare time, family favourite haunts of the Talyllyn valley in Snowdonia and the Lake District (where many childhood family visits to grandparents had taken place) are areas I enjoys getting to for fresh air and relaxation. The Peak District and Yorkshire Dales and moors, similar places are also enjoyed and when possible watching cricket and rugby union. I avidly support my ‘local’ rugby team, Northampton Saints alongside, my adopted Sale Sharks and both my county and national cricket teams, having recently attempted to re-don the whites with mixed results!
Mrs Cath Hilton
My musical education started with piano lessons from 1963 and I was encouraged by the organist at the Congregational church in the village where I lived and where I still attend today. Playing hymns for Sunday School developed into some organ playing and, since the tradition in the church was for the congregation to sing in four part harmony, I was soon singing the alto part alongside my Grandmother.
I attended Canon Slade Grammar School in Bolton where I continued my musical education to A level standard and took up the flute. In 1974 I started a 3 year teacher training course with main subject music at Bretton Hall College of Education in West Yorkshire and began a teaching career in 1977. Most of my career involved teaching music in high schools in addition to being a Head of Year. I retired in 2012.
I have had a lifelong interest in amateur operatics and have acted as accompanist to many different societies and musical groups including Radcliffe Male Voice Choir for whom I am now Musical Director.