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Our Musical Team (Page under review)

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Matthew Thomas

Musical Director

Matthew has always had an interest in music and began having piano lessons almost 20 years ago. He began playing the cornet at the age of 10 and joined the Blackburn & Darwen Junior Band soon after, successfully progressing into the Senior Band, where he has been an active member for 10 years.

He studied Computer Science at the University of York and whilst there became heavily involved in a plethora of musical activities, joining the Chamber Choir, University Choir, Opera Society, Concert Band and Concert Orchestra. He also conducted the University Brass Band for a year. His personal highlight from this time was singing in a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to a packed out nave in York Minster!

After leaving York, Matthew chose to pursue a career in music and became a freelance musician in his home town of Blackburn. He joined the Blackburn Cathedral Music Outreach team in 2013 and also took up a conducting scholarship at Blackburn Music Society for a year. He has taught piano and keyboard in schools, received an ABRSM Diploma in Musical Performance on the piano and became the chorus pianist for Victoria Wood's musical 'That Day We Sang' at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

On top of conducting the Rossendale Male Voice Choir from August 2015 he is also the conductor of Rossendale Ladies Choir and a community choir in Manchester, accompanies the ABCD Cambiata NW Boys Choir, sings bass in Blackburn Cathedral Choir and Blackburn Music Society and leads singing workshops in local primary schools.

Michael J Farnworth

Accompanist

Michael joined the Rossendale Male Voice Choir in 1968 at the youthful age of sixteen, singing second tenor.

Steeped in the 80 year history of the choir, he is the great nephew of the founder conductor, Fred Tomlinson. His grand-father, Frank, was a founder member and his father, also Frank, was a member for over 60 years and the Choir’s President. Michael made his debut as the Choir’s accompanist in 1969 at the Massed Bands Concert at Belle Vue in Manchester. To many, this may have seemed like a baptism of fire, but Michael was more than capable of the responsibility.

For more than 45 years, choir members have benefitted from Michael’s skill and dedication, and he has had the pleasure of accompanying the choir on everything from a Steinway in the Bridgewater Hall, to rather less grandiose pianos in venues from Germany to Killarney. Rarely, if ever, phased by a complex new piece, an accompanist of this standard is of great, if “unsung”, value.

Michael provides the RMVC with a stable core, and his work, alongside our musical director, has over the years, helped to shape the choir.

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