The St Mary Magdalene Choral Foundation began in September 2017. For information on applying and the role that Choral Scholars have at St Mary Magdalene, please click here.
Soprano Choral Scholar – Grace Watkins
Grace Watkins is a soprano from Nuneaton. She has just graduated from Leeds College of Music. Under the tuition of Tim Ochala-Greenough, Grace had a full and exciting three years at the college. In her first year she was chosen to represent the college in the Leeds Lieder festival, singing in a masterclass and a recital. Later on that year, she was a principal role in a short research and development project with the Geraldine Connor Foundation. Grace went on to play Susanna in the Leeds University Opera Society’s production of The Marriage of Figaro. Earlier this year, Grace sang Exsultate Jubilate with Leeds Camerata and performed the role of First Witch inDido and Aeneas with the Ilkley and Otley Choral Society. In the summer of 2019 Grace performed the role of Seacole in Stanford’s operatic version of Much Ado About Nothing with the Northern Opera Group. Grace regularly performs in recitals and events with pianist Digory Price, last September they performed in aid of The Saramek Trust and raised £2300. Grace is due to sing Euridice in La descente d’orphée aux enfers with The Verismo Voices later this year.
In her spare time Grace enjoys dreaming of her dog who lives at home with her parents, pretending to be able to do yoga, running and eating cheese.
Counter-Tenor Choral Scholar – Joshua Elmore
Joshua Elmore, countertenor, is a native of Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A. He studied at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education and at the University of Leeds where he received a master’s degree in vocal performance. At Leeds University, he took singing lessons from professional countertenor James Laing.
Elmore’s choral engagements have allowed him to hold several choral scholarships and to be a part of university top choirs such as the USM Southern Chorale and the Leeds Minister choir. He has performed in the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe, and the UK where he presented several recitals, premiered pieces, and has been the soloist in numerous works.
Elmore’s passion lies with opera and will continue to explore operatic career opportunities. A few of his opera involvements include Betto in Gianni Schicchi (Southern Opera and Musical Theater Company), Chorus of I Pagliacci (Southern Opera and Musical Theater Company; Mobile Opera), Chorus of L’Elisir d’Amore (Leeds University Union Opera Society), Ruth/Zorah in Ruddigore (Leeds University Union Opera Society), and was a soloist in an opera gala performance at the University of Leeds.
In his spare time, Elmore enjoys going to the gym, eating, and laughing over a pint (not simultaneously or in that particular order).
Tenor Choral Scholar – Robert Richmond
Robert began his musical career at an early age, appearing as Ko-Ko’s assistant in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “the Mikado” at the age of six. He soon began a rather scattered musical career as a violinist, pianist, and organist, with a hefty dose of the theatre to round out his creative portfolio.
Robert’s choral career began in earnest while in education at the Manchester Grammar School, whose choir gave him a grounding in varied choral repertoire. During this time he was also an organist at St Paul’s Church, Scouthead, and Holy Trinity Church, Dobcross.
Dividing his time at Durham University between singing with the University College (Castle) Chapel Choir, an Archaeology degree followed by a Masters in Human Palaeoecology, and directing and starring in shows with the Durham University Light Opera Group, Robert was eventually forced to graduate in 2010.
Since then, in London, Robert has been the principal tenor with Grosvenor Light Opera Group with roles including Frederick in Pirates of Penzance, Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore (both by Gilbert and Sullivan), and Box in Cox and Box (Sullivan and F.C. Burnand). Still a keen thespian, Robert’s other recent credits include Tamino in Mozart’s Magic Flute, and Billy Bigelow in Carousel, both at the Rhoda McGaw theatre, Woking.
Having moved to Richmond in 2012 Robert was welcomed warmly by the choir at St Mary’s, and so is delighted to be taking up the post of choral scholar.
Bass Choral Scholar – Robert Harvey Wood
Robert’s choral career began at Highgate School chapel where he sang with their elite choir, Chorale, winning the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year in 2014. He went on to gain the Chloe and Helen Morton choral scholarship at Somerville College, University of Oxford, where he read Mathematics. Choral tours include Rome (Highgate Chorale) and India (Somerville College Choir).
Robert is currently singing with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain with whom he has performed extensively, including ‘Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall’, The New Music Biennial (Southbank Centre), The Proms (Royal Albert Hall) and at the Snape Maltings Proms. He has recently made recordings of Handel’s Messiah at Abbey Road Studios and a selection of pieces with the RAF Central Band to be released at Christmas (2019). He will be touring with NYCGB in the Summer (2020) to Australia and New Zealand. Robert is also an experienced soloist and has given recitals in Oxford and Sherborne, with a particular focus on English song. He performed as a soloist on tour in India at The Times Literary Festival at the Mehboob Studios in Mumbai, singing Ireland’s Sea Fever. In his spare time, Robert is a keen tennis player and enjoys cooking up a storm in the kitchen!