Stephen Bell - Adjudicator for Primary & Secondary Classes on Friday 10th June 2022.
Stephen’s early musical training was as a chorister under Harry Grindle and subsequently tenor in St Anne's Cathedral Choir, Belfast. Singing, playing the piano and joining Laganvale Brass Band on Eb Bass and then on Timpani marked out Stephens diverse early musical training.
After a (short!) period as a trainee Insurance Underwriter Stephen went on to study music at Southampton University and subsequently at The University of Surrey conducting both University Symphony Orchestras and Symphonic Wind Bands. As the musical director for the Southampton University Light Operatic Society Stephen began what has become a lifelong passion for musicals.
Stephen has directed numerous performances of Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas and has enjoyed success with many societies in Milton Keynes - most notably directing “The Merry Widow” in 2001 and the sell-out “Guys and Dolls” with Company MK in 2002. Stephen was the musical director for the Wolverton Gilbert and Sullivan Society for 4 years. Stephen has also directed many choirs and was asked to direct the Northampton Chamber Choir in 2001, culminating in a performance of Mozart Requiem in St Giles Church with the Guildhall Orchestra: an Orchestra which Stephen formed and directed in 1997 for the Brahms centenary.
Notable successes with the Guildhall Orchestra were the performances of Walton’s Viola Concerto with Martin Outram, Dvorak's ‘Cello concerto with Michal Kaznowski, Bruchs violin concerto with Jan Kaznowski and performances of the Brahms Symphonies. Stephen also directed the Guildhall Orchestra for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the internationally recognised pianist Nicholas Austin with whom Stephen has collaborated on many occasions.
Stephen was appointed as the Musical Director of the Northampton Concert Band in 2005 and has enjoyed considerable success with the band in the NCBF festival finals, winning numerous Gold awards and more recently a coveted Platinum award. Stephen was appointed Musical Director of the St Cecilia Singers of Rushden (2007-2012) :a tenure culminating in a memorable performance of Brahms German Requiem with David Wilson-Johnson as the solo Baritone in November 2012.
After a period conducting the Abingdon Concert Band (2010-2013) following the retirement of Philip Burditt, Stephen decided to scale music back a little in order to live a much “quieter” musical life. Stephen enjoyed working as the musical director of the Rushden Windmill Brass Band (2012-2014) the Northampton Male Voice Choir (2011-current) Market Harborough Orchestra (2012-current) and has enjoyed adjudicating at the Wellingborough and Milton Keynes Festival.
Stephen is Managing Director of Red Kite Training, and he living in Oundle with his partner Sarah and enjoys running Marathons when he can find the time to train. Both of his daughters (Rebecca & Hannah) are professional Violinists.
Stephen Bell says 'I am extremely excited to be involved in the inaugural North Northamptonshire Music Festival and I am looking forward hugely to working with The President Joshua Daniel & his team at NNMF.
Primary & Secondary School Categories
Friday 10th June 2022
Irene Grant-Jones - Adjudicator for Adult Choral Sections on Saturday 11th June 2022.
Irene Grant-Jones won the soprano prize at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod whilst a school pupil in North Wales. Studies continued at the Royal Academy of Music under Flora Nielsen where she won the Parepa Rose Prize.
Irene's work covers opera, oratorio, solo recitals and musical theatre. She has been a soloist at the Bedford Proms in the Park. Her performances of Strauss 'Four Last Songs' in her own translation have been received to much acclaim.
Irene is currently writing a book on voice production and teaching, and enjoys leading vocal and choral workshops where her master classes have been hugely successful.
Irene has QTS status, a degree in Drama, Dance and English Cultural Studies and is an adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals. Irene wrote the text for 'The Human Race', an oratorio by Time Grant-Jones, her husband.
Adult Choral Sections on Saturday 11th June 2022