OUR MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Mr John Palmer (formerly of The Royal Harmonics chorus, Windsor) took over the role of Musical Director in February 2016.
John, affectionately known as JP, started his musical journey as a 5 year old OCD piano player. He played a bit of church organ, a lot of jazz, a fair bit of blues and accompanied dance lessons and examinations as well as playing in some ‘very pleasant’ pubs and clubs in his home county of Essex. He also taught guitar on residential courses for Essex Education Department…but was actually teaching himself at the same time as the students.
In 1993 he found Barbershop in the form of Saffron Sound Barbershop Harmony Club in Saffron Walden, Essex and was instantly hooked on a cappella. JP’s an honorary Life member of the Cambridge Chord Company where he was part of the ground breaking team that went on to 4 consecutive British Barbershop titles. He has also sang Baritone with the BABS Champion Quartets Cambridge Blues in 1997 and The Works in 2005. Since then he sang lead with The Serious Chord Squad from Windsor taking their (unique?) brand of humour to the finals stage on 2 occasions.
Windsor has played a large part in JP’s musical life over the last 8 years, joining as MD in 2008 and competing annually since then, never leaving the top 5 in the country and gaining a bronze and 2 silver medals along the way.
Before Windsor John was MD of the LABBS Chorus in Havant for 6 years including one meteoric first contest cycle when the chorus went from 29th to 7th in the country in 6 months between Convention and Prelims going on to win most improved chorus…surprise!
JP has also been a BABS Music Judge since 1998 taking on the roles of Category Director of the Music Category and then later Chairman of the Guild of Judges. He has recently started his second tenure as Music Category Director. He also adjudicates Choral Festivals and other music festivals on a regular basis. Serving as performance coach on the Faculty of BABS Harmony College for 18 years and, having run too many ‘learn to sing’ courses to mention, JP has gained a fairly wide experience in education. However, as every day is a school day, he also likes to gain further experience from as many other coaches as possible and has travelled to the US to Harmony University and Directors College.
When JP was asked how he felt about his appointment as Musical Director for Spinnaker Chorus he said: “I must be absolutely bananas. It is actually a dream come true and brilliantly close to my home but to follow in the fabulous Jenny Savory’s footsteps is a challenge not to be taken lightly. Suffice to say I have fastened my seat belt and advise them to do the same.”