Director of Music (with particular responsibility for the Boy Choristers and Lay Vicars) – Ben Lamb
Ben Lamb is joint Director of Music at Lichfield Cathedral – a post which he shares with his wife, Cathy. His love of choral music was kindled as a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral, and has been a key part of his life ever since. He has held organ scholarships at Truro and Salisbury Cathedrals and spent some years in the classroom, latterly as Head of Music at La Retraite Swan School in Salisbury. During this time, he founded Sarum Voices, with whom he had gone on to record 8 CDs.
Prior to his move to the Midlands, he was Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Peter’s Bournemouth, and sang as a regular deputy lay vicar with various Cathedral choirs. When Cathy was appointed Assistant Organist here, he took up the post of Director of Music Outreach at St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton, combining this with singing work, first at Birmingham, and then Lichfield Cathedrals. During his two years as Alto Lay Vicar at Lichfield Cathedral, he was also appointed Singing Teacher at Wrekin College, and took on the directorships of the Beaumaris Singers and the Midlands Chorale.
Alongside his work with the Cathedral Choir and Sarum Voices, he directs Lichfield Cathedral Chorus, teaches piano and singing, and maintains a busy freelance career as conductor, arranger, composer and performer.
Organist and Assistant Director of Music – Martyn Rawles
Martyn Rawles began his musical training as a chorister at St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, subsequently taking up the organ with Anthony Pinel. He was awarded the Burston Organ Scholarship to St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he read History, also serving in his final year as Assistant Organist at the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs. Martyn moved to Gloucester Cathedral as Organ Scholar for two years, before his appointment as Assistant Organist at Winchester College. During his time at the College he gained his FRCO, winning the Durrant, Baker, Harding, Shinn and Limpus prizes. In September 2007 he returned to Gloucester for a term as Acting Assistant Director of Music, before his appointment as Sub-Organist at Lichfield.
In September 2010 he became Cathedral Organist, and in September 2015 Organist and Assistant Director of Music. Since 2009, he has also directed the Cathedral’s Chamber Choir in their busy schedule of concerts, services and broadcasts. Martyn has been a member of the visiting music staff at Shrewsbury School, teaches at Lichfield Cathedral School, and is accompanist to the Birmingham Bach Choir and Lichfield Cathedral Chorus. In 2008 he was awarded a silver medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians. He is President of the Lichfield and District Organists’ Association.
His first solo CD was released in 2014 as part of the Priory label’s ‘Great European Organs’ series, to enthusiastic reviews in Choir & Organ and other publications. He is in his third year of a PSP course at Birmingham’s Conservatoire, studying with Henry Fairs.
Assistant Organist and Bass Lay Vicar – Nigel Argust
Nigel Argust comes from Cradley Heath in the Black Country, a town famous for its chain and nail-making - the anchor chain for the ill-fated Titanic was made there. He read music at Birmingham University with Professor Ivor Keys and John Joubert and studied the organ with George Miles at Birmingham Conservatoire, winning the Turpin Prize for organ playing in the FRCO diploma. He was Director of Music at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham for nearly 30 years.
For many years he was accompanist of Birmingham Bach Choir under their conductor Richard Butt, playing the organ and harpsichord in their concerts including performances of Bach's St. Matthew and St. John Passions and the Mass in B minor. A particularly memorable performance of the Mass was in Bach's 'own' church - St Thomas's Church, Leipzig - in June 1989 with the Birmingham choir and Leipzig players and soloists - this was during the time the peace movement in East Germany was gathering momentum leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall six months later.
For the last twenty years he has been closely associated with the music at Lichfield Cathedral; for fifteen years he was Conductor of the Cathedral Chamber Choir involving concerts, services and several BBC broadcasts as well as European Concert tours. He now sings in the cathedral choir, is Assistant Organist and works in the Cathedral's 'MusicShare' outreach project to schools.
Junior Organ Scholar – Henry Metcalfe
Henry Metcalfe has been an organist since he was 10 and has been studying with Martyn Rawles at Lichfield Cathedral for the past 5 years. He attends King Edward VI Lichfield and is taking his GCSEs next year with hopes to gain a sixth form organ scholarship, and on to a University Scholarship.
His goal is to become a Cathedral Organist and he is currently Assistant Director of Music at St. Michael’s Lichfield. This involves playing for weekly Eucharist services and monthly Evensong services as well as taking occasional rehearsals and services. As well as this he accompanies Lichfield Cathedral’s Youth and Young Voices, after starting out as a singer, for concerts and in services, especially around Christmas.
Henry is also currently learning the French horn and Piano, as well as taking singing lessons at the Cathedral from Ailsa Cochrane. In 2014 he won a Recital Award on the Oundle for Organists Summer School. He was appointed Junior Organ Scholar at Lichfield Cathedral in September 2015.
Chorister Singing Tutor – Ailsa Cochrane
Ailsa Cochrane studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music with Barbara Robotham. She graduated in 1999 with a Post Graduate Diploma in Performance Studies. In her final year she was kindly supported by The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Sir James Caird's Travelling Scholarships Fund. Ailsa worked with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in their Savoy Theatre productions of Iolanthe and Yeomen of the Guard, singing in the chorus and covering the roles of Queen of the Fairies and Dame Carruthers. She performed several roles including Berta in The Barber of Seville with Clonter Opera, Persephone in O4E for Opera North at the Lowry in Manchester, Fifth Servant in the Almeida Opera Company’s, Ion, by Param Vir and Filipevna in Evgeny Onegin with both Stowe Opera and First Act Opera.
Her concert work has included performances of the St Matthew Passion in St Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco, the Durufle Requiem with Lichfield Cathedral Choir, Sea Pictures with Worcester Symphony Orchestra, The Magdalene Orchestra, Les Nuits D'été with Worcester Symphony Orchestra, Elijah and The Dream of Gerontius with Wigan Choral Society. She has performed recitals for Wolverhampton Music Society and The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Ailsa performs opera arias regularly at Music Share events at Lichfield Cathedral, in order to introduce opera to a younger audience; has sung with the Lichfield Chorus in performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and most recently in The Armed Man by Carl Jenkins; has sung at fundraiser concerts, including several Gilbert & Sullivan concert performances, and sang the role of The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors in productions in 2011 and 2014 plus Mrs Noye in Noye’s Fludde in 2013.
Ailsa has been singing teacher to the Choristers at Lichfield Cathedral since 2007.