Choir People

Jim Watson – Musical Director and Conductor

Jim WatsonJim was a teacher of Mathematics but singing has been a major part of his life since joining a church choir at the age of six. He progressed down through the voice ranges ending with the tenors – probably the most sought after voice! After many years on the “back row” he found a teacher and began to take singing more seriously, eventually achieving an A.R.C.M. in Singing Performance. He has won many awards at music festivals and has taken lead rôles in oratorio, operatic events and in concerts. He has a wide experience of choral singing from small groups to large choirs, including the BBC. Northern Singers and under the direction of a great variety of conductors.

Jim has been a choral conductor for over twenty years and has led The Condate Singers for the last six years. He works hard with the choir to pass on the nuances in singing that he has spent so long learning and practising for solo performance. His great satisfaction comes from achieving a good performance, but even more so from seeing the pleasure, enjoyment and excitement in the faces of his singers. This is the fundamental objective of the choir.

Jim still sings regularly with a choir and is frequently called upon to assist with other groups having ‘tenor problems’.

Jim is married to Rosemary, his constant support, they have three sons and six grandchildren.

Janet Scott – Secretary

Janet Scott Janet hails from Ross on Wye in rural Herefordshire. She trained as a teacher in Manchester where she met her future husband, Graham. Most of her working life has been spent in Mid – Cheshire schools but she is now busily retired. Her love of singing began at school where everything stopped for choir practice after school on Fridays. She studied music at college as one of her subsidiary subjects but has taught geography and mathematics for most of her teaching career. When she moved to Cheshire in 1968, she joined the Northwich & District Festival Choir, led by Cyril Dawes. She remained with the Festival Choir until its demise in 2001. Still wanting to sing on a Thursday evening she joined with other like minded singers to found the Condate Singers. She has been the choir secretary since its inception. Janet and Graham have two children and four grandsons.

Mike McNeal – Treasurer

Mike McNeal

I have always enjoyed choral singing and can’t remember a time which I wasn’t a member of a choir. I started singing at school followed by ten years as a chorister at my church choir in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent. I carried on singing at Chester College and was part of the choir that came second in its class at the Llangollen Eisteddfod. During this time I was a member of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society performing in the chorus of HMS Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance and the role of Dick Dauntless in Ruddigore. While living in Sandbach, I sang with the Belmont Choir and the Winsford Operatic Society and on moving to Cuddington joined the Northwich Festival Choir where I remained for many years until it was disbanded. I then became a member of the Condate Singers when they formed in 2002 and am currently the treasurer of the choir.

Janet Atherton – Chairman

I have enjoyed singing all my life. I started studying music seriously while a pupil at Northwich Grammar School for Girls where I played the violin and piano and sang solos in the choir. After training to be a primary school teacher in Derbyshire my first teaching appointment was in Poynton. I joined the Northwich & District Festival Choir and began having singing lessons with Yvonne Coates. I have been a soprano soloist with the Festival Choir singing oratorios (Messiah) and lighter pieces in miscellaneous concerts. Later I taught at Ashley, near Tatton Park, and continued my singing lessons with Caroline McGuigan from the Royal Northern college of Music. In 2002 the Festival Choir sadly folded so I got together as many people as possible who still wanted to sing. The result was that we formed the Condate Singers, a very happy group of people who sing because they love it! I gave up teaching when my daughter was born and I am proud to say that at 14 she has become a member of the choir too. I hope that the choir move forward together for many years to come.