About the Choir
Registered Charity Number 1177305
Leeds Vocal Movement (LVM) is an un-auditioned SATB choir based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Founded by former musical director Charles Rhodes, our choir aims to bridge the gap between youth choirs and choral societies and we provide musical opportunities for young adults between the ages of 18 and 35.
We are fun, educational and social choir and we aim to perfect and perform music spanning a range of genres, including contemporary, classical, jazz, sacred and traditional music on an international level. In addition, our Musical Director Caitlin Mayall uses the Kodály method to help our members develop their ability to pitch, sight-read and improve tuning.
Leeds Vocal Movement is a registered charity. This provides exciting opportunities for our members and potential members, and more information on those opportunities can be found in our charity blog entry.
Our reason for providing a space for young adults to continue their vocal training is two-fold: Firstly, scientific evidence suggests that the adult voice develops from 12-13 years of age until it settles at around 30 years of age. We feel it is important to provide for this age gap, and therefore aim to continue preparing young adult singers after they leave youth choirs at 18, as well as training those without that experience.
Secondly, many choral societies have, in recent years, seen a drop in applications from younger adult singers. We believe this may partly be due to a lack of formal music education in younger singers, as the arts funding available to schools and arts organisations has declined in the last decade. Also, most of our members – even those with previous choir experience – tend not to be confident music readers, which prevents them from auditioning to join choral societies. We aim to provide an educational choral experience, much like many youth choirs do, by teaching technical vocal training, choral skills and sight-reading skills to our choir members.
Our long term vision is to equip our members with all of the training necessary to be able to sing confidently in a choir, and continue on to a choral society or auditioned choir if they so choose. We will never turn away current members once they reach 35, but we hope that they will have the skills to go on to experience even more exhilarating and high quality music making with some of Yorkshire’s many long-standing, established choral organisations.
This choir also gives an ideal opportunity for individuals within this age range to find a community of peers to sing with, as our treasurer Sally has mentioned in her blog entry. Whether you’d like to further your vocal training or start it, LVM would love to have you join us.
Please note, due to the recent pandemic and limited rehearsal space we are unable to accept applications for new members and have closed our waiting list.
If you have any questions about our aims or age range, please feel free to contact us via email.
We are also available for hire and can perform repertoire suitable for Christmas events and weddings, as well corporate and private functions. If you’d like us to sing at your special event or collaborate with you, please send us an email.
Meet the team
Musical Director: Caitlin Mayall
Caitlin is a conductor, singer and teacher based in West Yorkshire. She gained her degree in Music and Spanish at the University of Leeds, where she specialised in vocal performance and teaching, and was awarded First Class Hons. With a background as a classically trained soprano, she also has a keen interest in gospel, jazz, world music, early music and musicals.
After directing the Leeds University Chorus whilst at university, in 2015 Caitlin was awarded a Sing for Pleasure Young Conducting Scholarship. Since then, she has conducted the Darlington Youth Choir, Durham County Youth Choir, Barnsley Youth Choir, Left Bank Choir, Penistone Children’s Choir and members of the National Youth Choir GB Chamber Choir. Caitlin became director of Leeds Vocal Movement in 2017 and has recently become part of the Hallé’s choral outreach team. She is a co-director and founder of new semi-professional octect, North8, established in 2018.
As musical director of LVM Caitlin hopes to develop the choir’s musicianship, inspire musical excellence through singing quality choral music and encourage collaborations with other local choirs. She is interested in choral education, having worked as a vocal teacher and singing strategist for Durham and Barnsley Music Services. She received a competitive Cecilia Vajda Memorial Scholarship from the British Kodály Academy in 2018 and uses the Kodály Method with LVM to enhance rehearsals.
Piano Accompanist: Sylvia Jen
Sylvia is currently doing a PhD in Music Psychology at the University of Leeds, but began her musical adventure as a pianist. She received distinction for her MMus in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and also for her MSc in Performance Science from the Royal College of Music. Sylvia has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist, and also teaches piano.
Since beginning her PhD, Sylvia has been yearning to be more involved in music-making. Joining the LVM as a piano accompanist has allowed her to fulfill this wish, and as a bonus become part of a dynamic new community.
Sylvia is a tea fanatic, and also loves cats, though she is allergic to them.
Choir Manager & Librarian: Rosa Stevens
Rosa has been a member of LVM for over four years, and the choir manager for the majority of her membership. Her managerial duties are centered around the administration and development of the choir, providing members with choir updates and performance opportunities.
Rosa is also the choir’s librarian, which caters to her academic background in music and love for organising anything she can get her hands on.
Rosa has been involved in performing arts societies and companies for eight years, and LVM has stood the test of time. She joined as a step away from the choral singing opportunities at university, finding that the choir matched her eclectic taste and social demographic. The particular appeal for her is that the choir consistently produces high quality performances with singers of all levels, which is only one of the unique selling points that keeps members enthused.
Treasurer: Sally Stephens
Sally has been a member of LVM since 2017. In her day-job she manages the administrative support and governance for a charity, and so the detail and spreadsheet fascination needed to be LVM treasurer are right up her street.
Sally is a trustee of Northern Opera Group, and has been involved with a wide range of performance and music groups both on-stage and off. Joining LVM has been a fantastic addition to a somewhat hectic calendar and rehearsals each week are a great way to relax – not to mention our socials in the pub afterwards!
Communications Officer: Francesca Russo
Francesca joined Leeds Vocal Movement in 2018 and became Communications Officer in 2020.
As a child, she sang as a chorister at Leeds Cathedral, and continued singing whist at University in choirs and in the Opera Society. Wanting to continue singing after graduation, LVM was the perfect fit to find new friends and continue with a much loved hobby!
Francesca works in arts administration, alongside being the Chair of the Leeds Network of the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK. In her spare time, she loves reading and talking about books, playing with her cat Lyra and learning Italian.
As Communications Officer, her role is to keep the choir informed and look after our social media accounts.
Fundraising Secretary: Thomas George
Thomas joined Leeds Vocal Movement as a bass in 2018 just after moving to Leeds, having sung in choirs continuously throughout school and university. In his final year of university he was Sponsorship Officer for the university choir, and is looking to use this experience to help secure additional funding for LVM through sponsorship, grants and fundraising events.
Publicity Secretary: Joanna O’Hea
Jo joined Leeds Vocal Movement in January 2017 as an alto and assumed the role of publicity secretary in February 2018. Originally from Belfast, she grew up surrounded by music; she played instruments from a young age and was a part of various clubs, orchestras and choirs throughout her school years and then at university where she also studied the subject academically. Having moved to Leeds in the summer of 2017 she was keen to join a music group so she could meet like-minded individuals and have fun making music and Leeds Vocal Movement fit the bill! She works as a freelance music teacher and enjoys volunteering in her spare time.
As publicity secretary, it is her job to keep the website up to date and to get the choirs name out there. You’ll usually find her in the alto section during rehearsals, nerding out over the sweet sweet harmonies and loving life!
Social Secretary: Flo Mather
Having spent her university days singing in a chapel choir every week, Flo knew that singing is the ultimate social glue and was keen to join a choir soon after moving to Leeds in 2018. Joining LVM has allowed Flo to stretch her musical horizons and – crucially – chat with new friends at the pub each week after rehearsal!
As Social Secretary, Flo is responsible for organising regular social events for the choir, from impromptu get-togethers, to Christmas meals, to taking in the best of Leeds’ cultural offerings. If you have any ideas for fun and inclusive social events, send them her way!
Committee Open Seat : Emma Hird
Emma joined Leeds Vocal Movement at the start of 2020 after moving to Leeds and looking to find lovely like minded people to sing with. She was thrilled to find a great bunch of people who have been incredibly friendly and welcoming!
Growing up, Emma belonged to a variety of choirs, musical theatre groups and orchestras. She carried this love of singing through to University where, seeing that there was no choir to join, started a new choir so she and others could continue to sing!
Emma works as an English teacher and is also a volunteer for GirlGuiding. In her spare time she loves hiking, camping and hanging out with the neighbours’ cat.