On 14th March 2020 the Nottingham Bach Choir will be running its second Masterclass for young singers, supported by a legacy from Liz Chant, a former member of the Choir.

First time around, in March 2017, we were fortunate to have Marcus Farnsworth to act as the class leader – see image. Next year the class will be led by the renowned baritone Roderick Williams to whom we’re very grateful, as he has managed to fit us in between “La Bohème” with English National Opera in London the previous night and working with The Halle in Manchester in the following days.

Liz Chant was very supportive of the musical ambitions of young people hence the idea behind this masterclass. As Roddy says “A masterclass is not a singing lesson. It is an opportunity for a student to work with a professional singer in an informal atmosphere considering the approach to a song, with a focus on conveying their interpretation of the text through performance, in front of a sympathetic audience”.  Learning the technicalities of singing rests with their teachers!

In 2017 the class comprised six singers, aged from 16 to 19 years old, with repertoire ranging from a song from “West Side Story” to a “Messiah” aria, from Schumann to Schubert and Finzi to Michael Head. Marcus was an enthusiastic and informative leader and took time out both during the interval and after the class to speak with the participants about their singing and musical aspirations, which was clearly appreciated.

So, where are they now?

Of the six, I know only of the musical progress of three of the Class of 2017:

Jacob Fowler was hailed by The Post earlier in October as “Nottingham’s next big stage star” with a burgeoning career in both the world of musicals and as a budding popstar, with two single releases already to his name. He is starting his second year studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Jessica Lawley is currently starting her second year at The Royal College of Music and will be representing the college at the Junior Kathleen Ferrier Competition in October.

Former NBC member, Ben Watkins, is also starting his second year at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he is reading History. He is an academical clerk in the Choir there and also a member of Scola Cantorum, Oxford’s renowned chamber choir.

In March 2020 we will be running the class for five new young singers including the winners of the Nottingham Young Musician vocal class and the Leicesterfest U19 singing class. Roddy is absolutely brilliant so it should be a great event. So, please either apply (if you’re the right age!) or just come along to support the singers.

Chris Watkins


Nottingham Bach Choir

The Secretary,
108 Blake Road,
West Bridgford
Nottingham. NG2 5JZ

Registered Charity No: 508139