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History of Notes

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Ahead of a Living Landscapes concert in Aldersbrook this month, The Woodford Singers’ musical director Kath Savage offers some insight into her own musical journey

I trained in music at Dartington College of Arts, studying singing and flute, launching my solo career with several performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, subsequently singing for several years with The Cornel Music Group, and also with the BBC Northern Singers. After further freelance work in the National Tour and West End production of Cabaret, I met my husband, a West End musical director. 

I also worked for the Council for Music in Hospitals giving concerts for long-stay patients in hospices, hospitals and prisons, bringing music to those not able to venture out, and to some who had lost their connection with the art for whatever reason. I became increasingly interested both in the physiology of the voice itself and the psychology of singing. 

Singing has always been a huge part of my and my family’s life. Believing I could sing anything, I took on everything that was offered, so my voice deteriorated with overwork; I lost confidence and indeed the very essence of my being. As I now know, many performers suffer such burnout and I am eternally grateful to two mentors who helped pick me up and put me back on track.   

This, plus marriage, changed my direction from performing to teaching, leading several school music departments. For 12 years, I was the singing coordinator at Performers College, one of the UK’s major stage schools, and later taught at Bird College. It has been a privilege to nurture developing voices, guide young professionals and rehabilitate ‘shot’ voices, which continues to be most rewarding in my own private practice.  

In 2011, I came into contact with a small number of women eager to sing, but who sought guidance to develop into a musically tight and high-quality choir. This small group soon became the nucleus of The Woodford Singers, now numbering 30 committed members, who I am proud to lead and work with on Wednesday evenings.

The choir started with a handful of singers and some shaky performances in small venues. We now perform to sell-out audiences across Essex and North East London, and we’re looking forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2026. Next year will see our second performing tour, this time to the Isle of Wight. Another important development is the patronage of Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, who will soon be travelling to the UK to watch ‘her’ choir perform. But readers won’t have to travel quite so far; we’ll be performing in Aldersbrook this month.


The Woodford Singers will perform at St Gabriel’s Church, Aldersbrook on 19 May from 5pm (tickets: £10; under-12s: £5). To book tickets, visit wnstd.com/ws19may

For more information on The Woodford Singers, visit woodfordsingers.co.uk