Musical Directors' Concerts

We are very fortunate to have the GBRT Choirs and Ensembles led by a very talented group of professional musicians who each have a vast amount of experience of playing and teaching in their fields.

Therefore, to showcase these highly talented individuals, we will be holding a 'MDs' & Friends' concert which will raise money for the continued work of GBRT and for a local charity that they are involved with. This will be a fantastic, and hugely varied, evening of superb music and one to add to your diary so you do not miss out.

Our Musical Directors

Christine Taylor:  Musical Director of GBRT Chamber Ensemble
Christine Taylor was brought up in Leicestershire and played with the county’s award winning LSSO before studying the clarinet in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Jack Brymer and Joy Farrell, while also taking part in several master classes with names such as Thea King, Tony Pay and Walter Boeykins.  After college, Christine enjoyed playing freelance in musical theatre and Southend Philharmonic for a number of years.

Now a self-employed clarinet/saxophone teacher in Leicestershire, she enjoys inspiring young musicians; auditioning youngsters, adjudicating for Brent’s ‘Young Musician of the Year’ and recently coaching one of her own pupils to become the Bardi Symphony Orchestra’s own ‘Young Musician of the Year’.
Alongside teaching, Christine has conducted various youth groups in the county including the Leicestershire Schools Music Service Training Orchestra, and she now works with a range of ensembles as a sectional coach which has included taking Leicestershire’s flagship youth orchestra to countries all across Europe, including France, Germany and the Czech Republic.  

In her spare time, Christine plays regularly with The Bardi Symphony Orchestra, the Helix, Knighton Chamber Orchestra and the Beaufort Wind Quintet, and has had the opportunity to perform as a soloist with works such as the Mozart, Copland and Finzi Clarinet Concertos.

Joanna Kirkwood, Musical Director of GBRT Youth Flute Choir and Adult Flute Choir
Born and raised in Leicestershire, Joanna began her studies on the Flute with Jenny Brooks and Leicestershire Arts in Education. Joanna continued at the Birmingham Conservatoire where she gained a First Class Honours degree and a commended Advanced PGDip Music (Professional Performance). She studied with Jonathan Rimmer, Judith Hall and Colin Lilley and received the Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Contribution. Joanna also won awards from the Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Prize, Woolfsen Trust and Tillet Trust Foundation alongside being awarded a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Joanna is in regular demand as a freelance orchestral player. She has most recently performed as Principal Flute with the London Concert Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera and the National Festival Orchestra. Joanna is a member of Trio Capriccio who perform nationally and have given a recital for a live BBC broadcast. She has also enjoyed touring the USA and Scandinavia. As a soloist, she has performed the Liebermann Flute Concerto and Mozart’s Concerto in G with orchestra.

Joanna’s portfolio of work also includes a demanding teaching schedule at the Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department, the Loughborough Endowed Schools, and Leicester Grammar school.

Tony Rifugiato: Musical Director of GBRT Sax Choir
Tony Rifugiato, who started his musical life as a cornet player, is a highly experienced Musical Director and musician whose work encompasses many musical styles. In 1983, at the age of 22, he set up Mel-Tone, a musical instrument retail business in Melton Mowbray, which ran successfully for 29 years. Mel-Tone was a centre of excellence for music, an important aspect of which was its Music School which over the years trained thousands of aspiring musicians, many of whom went on to be professional players. Tony is now concentrating on Musical Direction, performance and tuition.

His first foray into conducting was in 1991 when he set up his own orchestra in Melton Mowbray. From this he was approached by a local operatic society to act as their Musical Director which has led him to become a familiar name across the East Midlands, waving the baton for many of the leading groups in the region. His theatre credits range from Puccini operas to modern "jukebox" musicals such as Disco Inferno.  Known for his dynamic approach and attention to detail, he has extensive experience with musical productions, orchestras, brass bands, wind bands and jazz & swing bands.

Tracey Holderness:  Musical Director of GBRT Adult Vocal Choir & GBRT Youth Choir Juniors
Tracey is a singing teacher and vocal coach from Market Harborough.  After graduating from Sheffield University with a BMus, she gained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Musical Theatre from Arts Educational in London.

She has worked for eight years as a professional singer during which time Tracey has performed as a soloist with light operatic companies and performed in a wide variety of musical theatre productions, most notably in the Rocky Horror Show and Return to the Forbidden Planet, both in the UK and Europe.  Tracey teaches singing both privately and as a specialist teacher visiting several schools in the area. 

Tracey currently leads several choirs for children including Great Bowden C of E Primary Academy and GBRT’s Youth Choir Juniors.  She has also accumulated vast experience with amateur musical groups and companies including delivering technique workshops to adult choirs and leading Musical Theatre courses. She is the original conductor of the 70 strong GBRT Adult Vocal Choir and has toured with them to Barcelona, Bruges and Maastricht. 

John Dilleigh: Accompanist of GBRT Adult Vocal Choir
John has been accompanying for more than fifty years and has performed in several European countries and Sudan.  With a particular interest in vocal music he has worked with numerous vocal ensembles and has partnered with many wonderful vocal soloists.  He is proud to be the long standing accompanist for the GBRT Adult Vocal and Youth Vocal Choirs and so far has toured Spain, The Netherlands and Belgium with them. 

Debbie Smith: Musical Director of GBRT Youth Vocal Choir
Debbie Smith grew up in Suffolk and very soon became a successful vocalist and instrumental musician. In her teens she was tutored by a number of renowned experts, including the opera singer Rae Woodland. Having set her sights on a career in music she studied classical music at the Trinity Conservatoire in London, with voice as first study and piano as second. 

Since completing her studies Debbie has lived in the Market Harborough area and has been a successful tutor (with her own teaching business), musical director and performer. Over the last 3 decades she has successfully tutored students in a number of schools as part of the Leicestershire Arts in Education team, as a private tutor at home and at Robert Smyth and Welland Park Academies, at Woodcock Theatre Arts South Leicestershire Performing Arts Academy and has directed vocal workshops for all ages.

Debbie has a strong record as a musical director of choirs and continues to lead choirs in schools and in the community, including the GBRT choir and Valley Voice, the adult community choir based in the Welland Valley. Under Debbie?s leadership the Robert Smyth Academy choir has gained repeated success in competitions including Rotary Club Young Musician and Music for Youth. 

Debbie is able to engage with popular and theatrical genres in addition to classical material and has been a key member of the team involved in the production of many concerts, shows and international performance tours. In her own right Debbie has performed locally in a number of bands in various styles and enjoys performing as well as enabling others to perform. 

Michael Dando: Accompanist of GBRT Youth Vocal Choir
Mike has been playing the piano since the age of 7 and has been engaged as an accompanist / MD with a number of local groups and organisations. He is currently the accompanist for Valley Voice community choir on the Northamptonshire / Leicestershire border.

Tickets for the MDs’ & Friends Concerts cost just £5 each and are available by sending a cheque, payable to ‘GBRT’, to the Trust with the date of the concert, number of tickets required and your full postal address written on the reverse.  We will then send the tickets to you by return. 

Next Events
For details of the date, time and venue of the next Musical Directors’ Concert, please refer to the Events Calendar.