The Verdi Orchestra
The Verdi Orchestra comprises talented, professional freelance musicians who are much in demand in and around London and the South East. The players meet and perform regularly in numerous orchestras and ensembles including Surrey Brass, Godalming Operatic Society, Surrey Mozart Players to name but a few
Ngoma Drum & Dance
Ngoma Drum & Dance is a group of multi-talented musicians and dancers from different cultrual backgrounds, led by Ugandan dancer and musician Seby Ntege. Seby’s musical appearances include teaching and playing at different festival and drum conventions around the country. He put together a 21-man band, Embaire International, to play a giant 21 key xylophone for Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey and took part in Motherland, a dance production that toured the UK to commemorate the 200th anniversay of the abolition of the slave trade. He has curated countless music workshops and appeared on BBC Radio 3 in a show that came live from WOMAD.
Since its inception, Ngoma has been involved in a number of collaborative projects and has run school and community workshops both in London and around the country. Perfect entertainment for any occasion, the group also undertakes many private and corporate functions.
Katherine Dienes, MA, BMus, FRCO, Hon. ARSCM, Hon. GCM was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral in January 2008 following six years as Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick. She was the first-ever female member to be elected to the Cathedral Organists’ Association, and on her appointment to Guildford, became the first ever woman to hold such a post in the Church of England.
She is active as a composer, and one of her compositions was performed in the presence of the Queen in Auckland, New Zealand in 1990. Treble Clef Music Press publishes much of her treble voice repertoire in the United States. Other choral compositions, such as her setting of ‘Jesu dulcis memoria’, have been performed widely both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Recent commissions have included a Christmas carol ‘Nativity’ commissioned by ‘Choros’, a work for violoncello and piano for the Warwick Festival 2003, and a baptismal anthem for SATB entitled ‘Malachy’ for Bryan Sharpe. On 7 May 2006, ‘Hannah’s Song’, a major work for women’s chorus and chamber orchestra, was premiered in Washington DC. Future projects include three unaccompanied choral works for “Anon” – a New Zealand chamber choir. Her composition ‘Ave verum’, performed recently in Exeter College, Oxford by the New Zealand Graduate Choir, was described by one reviewer as follows: “But most moving of all was an Ave Verum Corpus from Katherine Dienes, now music director at St Mary’s, Warwick.”
Katherine has won several awards for her organ playing, including the prestigious New Zealand Gillian Weir Waitangi Scholarship. Katherine came to England in 1991 to take up the post of Organ Scholar at Winchester Cathedral and Assistant Organist at Winchester College. She is a sometime guest tutor for the Royal College of Organists and is regularly asked to be a guest workshop leader for the Royal School of Church Music both in the UK and the USA. During the past sixteen years, Katherine has given several organ recitals in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, U.S.A., Bermuda, the Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. She has performed as organ soloist with both the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle.
Katherine is married to Patrick Williams, Librarian to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Katherine and Patrick have a daughter, Hannah.
Stephen King studied at Trinity College of Music, under Gladys Puttick, and then at Sussex University, where he was organ scholar under John Birch. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of eighteen, and holds the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Having actively been involved in the musical life of Brentwood for many years – notably with Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society, the Aurelian Ensemble, and the Stondon Singers – he became organist of Brentwood Cathedral in 1992. He has taken a full part in the Cathedral’s musical programme, as organist, pianist and conductor, and accompanied the Cathedral Choir on its visits to Notre Dame, Paris, and to St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. He has a keen interest in works for organ with solo instruments, and has taken part in many performances of such works. He also enjoys off-the-beaten-track repertoire, and for some years regularly appeared at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John’s Smith Square, as organist with the Collegium Musicum of London in rarely performed music, notably in the Herbert Howells centenary concert given on the exact anniversary day of 17th October 1992.
In 2007 he directed a concert of John Gardner’s music, in the composer’s presence, at Brentwood Cathedral. Earlier that year, as part of the composer’s 90th birthday celebrations, he was honoured to participate in the official birthday concert. His new CD recording of John Gardner’s music for organ and brass has just been issued. Stephen King also regularly participates in musical activities in Southend-on-Sea, and is a founding trustee of the Suthend Boys’ Choir and Southend Girls’ Choir Trust. He undertook some accompanying for the choirs’ recent visits to Australia, and America, in venues ranging from the Sydney Opera House to St John’s Cathedral, Los Angeles.
The Surrey Chamber Players
The Surrey Chamber Players comprise experienced freelance musicians and teachers drawn from Surrey and surrounding counties. The players combine busy professional playing and teaching careers and perform regularly together in various concerts in the area. Several players belond to the Surrey Mozart Players, widely regarded as one of the top non-professional orchestras in the country. Members of the Surrey Chamber Players also enjoy meeting together to perform string quartets and other chamber works.
He has toured extensively throughout Senegal, Guinea, Mali and The Gambia, leading, training and soloing with a great many musicians. He has played with Les Ballets Africains, Farita, Bougarabou, African Ballet and many more.
His knowledge of West African music is extensive and his expertise widely respected.
Recently retired from the world of employment, Chris Gardner lives in Alton and divides his time between the frivolous business of making music and the serious business of building a model railway. He conducts the Cantique Chamber Choir, and is currently conducting: Alton Concert Orchestra (for their 2013 Christmas Concert), and Alton Operatic and Dramatic Society (for their production of Orpheus in the Underworld) in spring 2014.
He writes music and his compositions include: The Battle of Alton (a musical re-creation of the 1643 Battle of Alton (in which two choirs take the parts of Roundheads and Royalists), and Fiesta Telefonica (which was premiered at Alton’s “Last Night of the Proms” in 2013, with the Town Mayor as soloist on a Nokia mobile phone).