Mark Edwards MMus
Director of Music and Conductor
Originally from Edinburgh, Mark trained as a percussionist before taking up conducting and receiving his MMus with Distinction. Mark is pleased to have studied and worked with many great conductors including: Sian Edwards, Pierre-André Valade, Philippe Bach, Rodolfo Saglimbeni and Christopher Gayford. With a keen interest in contemporary music, Mark has worked on new compositions with Royal Northern Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta and Streetwise Opera.
Recent highlights include performing at the Royal Albert Hall London and Symphony Hall Birmingham and live broadcasts for various BBC 3 broadcasts. Recent concerts have included Elgar – The Dream of Gerontius, Vaughan Williams – A Sea Symphony, and Verdi Requiem. Mark has been lucky enough to receive scholarships to participate in international conducting masterclasses including working with Sasha Mäkilä in Finland, Dr László Norbert Nemes at the Kodály Institute (Hungary) and Sian Edwards at Dartington International Festival. In June 2017 Mark won the National Brass Band Conducting Competition. As assistant conductor Mark has worked with Jonathan Bloxham for Northern Chords Festival Orchestra’s ‘Europe Day’ concerts in St John’s, Smith Square, London as well as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra concert. Next season includes projects with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern College of Music and Liverpool Mozart Orchestra.
He is currently director of music for Newcastle Sinfonietta, Felling Male Voice Choir, Hexham Orpheus Choir, Northern Praeclassica, workshop leader for Streetwise Opera, lecturer in conducting at Newcastle University and associate conductor for ‘Voices of Hope’ who recently won the BBC Choir of the Year Competition.
Deputy Director of Music
Warren is currently Director of Music and Organist for St Mary’s Parish Church, Ponteland; Assistant Director to the Hexham Male Voice Choir; Deputy Director of Music and Principle Accompanist for Felling Male Voice Choir; Director of Music for the chamber choir Jubilate; Accompanist for the Hexham Orpheus Choir; and a Teaching Assistant at a Hexham school. Warren inherited the title “Hexham’s answer to Gareth Malone” when he took on a choir made up of office workers, foster carers and children to compete in a National event in Cheltenham Town Hall. Recent events have included working with composers Bob Chilcott and Will Todd, both of which involved playing their Jazz Masses. In November 2013, Warren was the Choirmaster for the North-East’s BBC Children in Need choir – this involved 200 children performing ‘Sing’ by Gary Barlow live on BBC One. Other charitable events include directing a ‘Come & Sing Fauré’s Requiem’ in April 2014 at St Mary’s Ponteland, where 100+ singers took part to raise a large amount for the British Heart Foundation.
The opportunity to accompany the Brahms Alto Rhapsody in Hall One at the Sage, Gateshead was a memorable one, along with other collaborative performances at the prestigious venue.
Many of the choirs Warren has performed with have toured to other exciting venues, nationally and internationally. Performance highlights have been Antwerp, Berlin, Brugges, Dublin, Hannover, Milan, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Tallinn to name a few.
Colin joined FMVC in 1965 and was appointed Deputy Conductor in 1975. In 1983, he filled the MD’s role whilst a successor to Norman Williams was appointed. Chris Wiltshire took over in January 1984 and Colin was active as Deputy due to Chris’s worldwide commitments for adjudicating and examining. Chris left in 1996. Colin continued as Deputy acting as MD after the departure and a number of successors. Once Mark Edwards was appointed MD and Warren Smith his Deputy, Colin was asked to remain a part of the Music Team and for the last few years has been used whenever there has been a need both at rehearsal and performances. He is also conductor of the Sunderland Singers.
Julie recently rejoined the Felling MVC having previously been with them in 2009. She is currently Director of music at St. Nicholas Church Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland. She studied music with the late William Cowell, organist at Fulwell Methodist Church, Sunderland and has an affiliation with this church to this day. Julie also played keyboards for various acts on the North East club circuit from 1980 to 2000.