Hallé Children’s Choir Director
Shirley Court was appointed as Director of the Hallé Children’s Choir in September 2008. Shirley is nationally known for her ability to motivate and inspire young singers of all ages and capabilities. In September 2006 she was awarded with an Honorary Degree of DMus for her work as a conductor of Youth Choirs and Music in Schools from the University of Leicester.
Whilst working in Leicestershire as Vocal and Choral Specialist her award winning girls’ choir, The Chanterelles, won the Llangollen International Eisteddfod Youth Choir section and were runners up in the Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year Competition 2000. In February 2009 the Chanterelles re-formed as a ladies Choir and returned to the Eisteddfod in July 2010 and won the Ladies category. The choir is now made up of 50 young ladies who will perform three or four times a year in concerts up and down the country.
Shirley has conducted the Massed Choir of 600 voices at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Music for Youth’s School Prom on three occasions. She still teaches in schools and runs Singing days for children and young people of all ages.
Shirley was the conductor of both the Senior Girls and Junior CBSO Youth Choruses from 1995 until July 2009. In this role she has worked alongside many world famous conductors preparing the Youth Chorus for many prestigious events.
She also acts as a consultant on many National Singing initiatives and delivers INSET courses for teachers. Shirley is delighted to be the Programme Leader for the Hallé Leading School Choirs Course for all teachers who run school choirs.
She is also the co-author of the best-selling Boosey & Hawkes Singing Sherlock Books for Key Stage 1 and 2. She is currently working on the fifth book in the series.
Hallé Children’s Choir Assistant Director
Michelle Robinson has a career which encompasses a wide range of roles, including choral conductor, performer, vocal animateur and music project manager. Her passion lies in empowering people of all ages to find their voice and use it to sing well. She works with children, young people and adults of all ages, creating fun and accessible ways for everyone to enjoy singing.
Michelle began singing in choirs from a young age before going on to vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. Upon graduating, Michelle created and ran the RNCM’s Community Outreach Department for the next ten years. However, she then decided to develop her career in a different direction and became a performer and choral conductor.
Currently Michelle holds the post of Assistant Director of the Hallé Children’s Choir, working with the Children’s Choir Director, Shirley Court. Alongside her other roles, Michelle also directs large scale projects on behalf of the Hallé. She currently has artistic responsibility for the Hallé’s Corporate Choir programme and is helping to develop and run a new choral outreach project in collaboration with European Orchestras.
Additionally, Michelle directs several choirs (including the award-winning ladies choir, the Smithy Belles), runs vocal workshops in schools and across the corporate sector, acts as a visiting vocal specialist to choirs throughout the UK and, when her schedule allows, performs as a vocal soloist. Michelle speaks publicly about the benefits of choral singing, especially to businesses, and how it can enhance the workplace.