Sunday 24 November 2019   Holy Trinity Church, Knaresborough


Soloists and players for 2019



Alexis Cooling (soprano) Performance, singing, dancing and music have been the focus for the majority of my life. I have learned and benefitted from the team spirit, sacrifice, dedication and discipline required to be a success. My 10 year commitment to the Wakefield Cathedral Choir has given me the opportunity to partake in concerts, CD recordings and live radio and TV broadcasts, often as a soloist, both at home and abroad. I was a BBC Young Chorister of the Year finalist in 2011.

I have trained in classical voice since the age of 12 and have learned the importance of interpretation and characterisation while studying a wide repertoire such as Handel, Haydn and Bach oratorio, English and international art songs, the musicals of Sondheim and Webber and arias by Mozart, Strauss and Puccini. I graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire last year.


Claire Filer (mezzo) was born in New Zealand where she began a career that has involved studying and performing in the US, the UK and Europe. Claire holds an MA (Distinction) from her studies with Dennis O’Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice, an MMus from The Boston Conservatory and a BMus(Hons – 1st class) from The University of Auckland.

Oratorio engagements include Handel Messiah and Jephtha, Mozart Requiem, Beethoven 9th Symphony, Bach Magnificat and St John Passion, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Duruflé Requiem, Haydn Missa Sancti Nicolai, Missa Cellensis in Honorem, Mass in Time of War and Lord Nelson Mass, Saint-Saëns Messe de Requiem and Oratorio de Noël, Jenkins The Armed Man, Dvořák Stabat Mater, Vaughan Williams Mass in G Minor, and Vivaldi Gloria.


Alexander Grainger (tenor) is a Yorkshire based promising young tenor. He studies with Paul Nilon and has recently graduated from the RNCM with Postgraduate Diploma in performance.

Whilst studying at the RNCM he played the role of Ferrando (Cosi Fan Tutte) Mozart, Camile (Merry Widow) Lehar, Snout (A Midsummer night’s dream) Britten, also roles such as Tamino (Magic Flute) Mozart with Leeds Youth Opera also the role of Ernest (A Grand Duke) Gilbert and Sullivan with the Manchester University G&S society. Alexander has also sung with the Manx Opera festival as Gastone (La Traviata) and covered several roles at the Buxton Opera Festival, Aufido (Lucio Silla) Mozart, The Mayor (Albert Herring) Britten, and Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor) Donizetti. Recently, he  gave his debut performance of Alfredo with the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, and has worked with opera companies including Opera North, Clonter Opera, Opera Devon and Glyndebourne.

Alexander is also highly sought after on the concert platform. He has appeared as a soloist in many concert halls and cathedrals across Britain singing works including, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Pettie Messe Solennelle, Rossini Stabart Mater, Haydn Paukenmesse, Hayden Theresienmesse, Mozart Credo, Mozart Mass in C. He has sung as a soloist on BBC Radio 4 (Mozart Missa Breivs).


He was a founding member of the RNCM chamber choir, a member of The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and started his singing Career with the Beverley Minster Choir as Chorister.


Alexander Studies were kindly funded by the Andrew Lloyd Weber foundation, and he is a Concordia Foundation Artist.




Miles Taylor (baritone)

Yorkshire-born Miles Taylor began singing in the choir of Leeds Minster and his
association with Opera North began when he was 11 years old, performing as a
boy treble in Janacek’s Jenůfa and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. More recently he has
sung as a chorister in their critically acclaimed 2016 production of
Götterdammerung, culminating in a BBC live-streamed concert at the Southbank
Centre, in a concert tour of Puccini’s Turandot, 2017, and in Verdi’s Un Ballo in
Maschera as part of their 2018 mainstage season.

As a soloist Miles has performed a range of oratorio work with the Yorkshire
Philharmonic Choir, Harrogate Choral Society, Wolverhampton Choral Society
and Swaledale Festival including: Bach Mass in B minor, Duruflé Requiem, Fauré
Requiem, Handel Messiah, Haydn Creation, Jenkins The Armed Man, Mendelssohn
Elijah and Stainer Crucifixion. Miles has also performed the bass Solo in Bach
Magnificat for LCoM Choral Society and Mozart Requiem at York Minister. On the
concert platform, Miles has been invited to present solo recitals in Ripon and
Wakefield cathedrals and has performed in concert for a variety of local charities
including: Cancer Support, Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ Community Chest Appeal,
the Sailors’ Families’ Society and the Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association.
Since achieving success in competitive music festivals across Huddersfield,
Harrogate, York and Bingley, Miles has attended Oxenfoord International
Summer School run by Malcolm Martineau. Having also completed a BMus, BA
(Classical Music) and LTCL (Singing) he is currently studying for his Master’s
Degree at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he has sung lead roles in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and Britten's The Beggar's Opera.




Adrian Selway organ became an organist and choirmaster in his early teens, studying under Gwilym Isaac, Sub Organist at Canterbury Cathedral. He went on to study organ with Eric Chadwick and also piano, cello and choir training at The Royal Manchester College of Music. Graduating with ‘Special Merit in Performance’ and having gained his Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists he continued his education at Newton Park College in Bath and was appointed Assistant Director of Music at The Royal Masonic Boys School in Bushey. Further teaching appointments included Head of music at Ripon Grammar School and Director of Music at The Royal Merchant Navy School, Bearwood College in Wokingham. Adrian has toured widely as a recitalist and was Organ Tutor at Harrogate Ladies College for many years touring with the Director of Music and the Chapel Choir, playing in many of our cathedrals and also to Paris, playing at Notre Dame, St Eustace, La Madeleine and Chartres Cathedral. Adrian maintains his great interest in choir training and is currently Organist and Choirmaster at St Paul’s United Reformed Church in Harrogate and also teaches organ and piano at Ashville College. In his spare time, Adrian produces miniature watercolour paintings and builds dolls houses and miniature harpsichords.


Beryl Pankhurst harpsichord was born and educated in Liverpool and studied piano, organ and accompaniment at the Royal Manchester College of Music from which she graduated with distinction, also winning the Pinson prize for Bach playing.  Although she has performed as soloist on many occasions, her main passion is in accompanying. She was the official accompanist for the Harrogate Choral Society for over 30 years.


Fiona Mayo cello was born in Johannesburg, and enjoyed a delightful barefoot childhood surrounded by unusual pets. She demanded 'cello lessons at 9 and has played ever since. After spending 20 years in Norfolk, working in hospitals and schools, she came to Harrogate where she teaches and plays. Her interests include her garden, chameleons, border collies, champagne and repairing 'cellos.


Nick Garrett trumpet is MD of the Knaresborough Silver Band and has been soloist in many local brass bands over 20 years. He made his Nidderdale Messiah debut three years ago.

Ben Fearnley trumpet is 14, attends St Aidan’s and plays in the Tewit Youth Band. His teacher, Richard Marshall, is principal cornet in the Black Dyke Mills Band and Ben has been described as “possibly the most talented trumpet player in Yorkshire”. He comes from a family of brass players and this afternoon’s performance could be viewed as “the start of his solo career”.

Jack Littlewood timpani is 14 years old and attends Harrogate Grammar School. He has been learning to play percussion for about 9 years and passed his Rockschool grade 8 exam two years ago. He plays drums in Harrogate Youth Jazz Orchestra at Harrogate Music Centre and has performed in the percussion section of Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. He has successfully taken part in the Harrogate music festival for six years and reached the Young Musicians’ final two years ago. Jack also plays trombone in the senior Tewit Youth Band. He likes playing football, skiing and travelling to different countries.