We are thrilled to announce that Gemma Marshall has been appointed as the choir’s new Principal Accompanist, following a thorough selection process. The choir were pleasantly surprised by the number of highly qualified accompanists expressing an interest in the role and it is a great reflection on Gemma’s capabilities that she was successful in securing the post.
An accompanist requires many more skills than those required to be a great pianist. The relationship between musical director and accompanist is critical to the performance levels of the choir, as is the ability to spot where additional help is required by individual singing parts during practices and performances. The constant stopping and starting at various points during rehearsals and the bond with all members of the choir require that special combination of skills which Gemma has in abundance.
Gemma has been playing the piano for as long as she can remember and began developing her skills as accompanist with West Bromwich Operatic Society prior to attending university. She trained in Music Theatre at Bretton Hall, University of Leeds, during which time she took on the role of Assistant Musical Director for many of the musical theatre society’s productions, accompanying for rehearsals and playing in the orchestra pit band for performances.
Upon graduation, Gemma moved to London to pursue a career in arts administration and continued to work as a freelance accompanist and orchestra pit player with Songtime Theatre Arts. In 2009, she returned to the Midlands to study towards a PGCE Secondary Music and taught in several secondary and primary schools across the region.
Gemma decided to return to her roots in arts administration in 2014 and now works for Nottinghamshire based music charity Music for Everyone. She is also the organist at St Andrew’s with Castle Gate United Reformed Church in Nottingham.
Gemma will be joining us for performances later in the year.