Vocal Tutors

Cole Bendall

Cole Bendall was appointed Conductor of Surrey Youth Choir in Spring 2019 having worked for Surrey Arts as Associate Conductor of the choir and Vocal Tutor since the beginning of 2019. Critically acclaimed for his work with the pre-professional vocal ensemble, the Reid Consort, Cole’s recent career highlights include conducting the Grammy Award-winning Rundfunkchor Berlin (Berlin Radio Choir) in public masterclass and concert; devising new semi-staged works for choir and speakers including PATCHWORK REQUIEM (**** Edinburgh Guide) with the Reid Consort; collaborations with, among others, Haslemere Musical Society, the Athenaeum Singers of Warminster, Covent Garden Sinfonia, the British Sinfonietta; chorus master for Byre Opera’s national tour of Handel’s Xerxes, and assisting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus in a staged adaptation of Parry’s Songs of Farewell. Cole’s education projects include as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and CPD workshop leader for Surrey Arts, contemporary composition tutor for projects with SOUND new music festival and Red Note Ensemble, supporting musicianship tuition for National Youth Choir of Scotland area choirs, and as a Come & Sing and vocal workshop leader for events around the United Kingdom. In 2018, Cole was awarded support from the Help Musicians UK TRANSMISSION fund; in 2017, he was awarded the Oxford University Press Andrew Potter Bursary by the Association of British Choral Directors for promising up-and-coming conductors. He studied at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen and is in the final stages of his doctoral thesis on Estonian choral music.

An educator and writer, Cole has led workshops and Come & Sing events nationally. He is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Open Learning where he is writing his doctoral thesis on Estonian choral music. He has worked on projects with SOUND Scotland new music festival, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and area choirs from the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

When not involved in music making, Cole is a fan of travelling off-the-beaten-path, tennis, and has a soft spot for board games.

Hannah Carpenter

Hannah Carpenter was born in Auckland, New Zealand and has spent the first decade of her career working as a singing teacher, choral director, freelance soprano soloist, and chorister. In July 2021, Hannah emigrated to England. She is excited to be taking on the direction of the Surrey Youth Training Choir, as well as teaching voice and piano at Surrey Arts.

Hannah holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours in Classical Voice Performance from the University of Auckland and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. Other qualifications include certificates in Orff Schulwerk Level 1 & 2 and Kodaly Primary and Secondary Level 1. In 2019, she gained her Licentiate Diploma in Singing from Trinity College London (LTCL) with Distinction under the tuition of Dame Malvina Major. In 2019-20, Hannah was a regional coordinator for the Kids Sing Choral Festival for her local primary schools. This involved leading the learning and conducting of massed singing items with over 400 children. In 2017 Hannah founded the Tron Songsters Children’s Choir in Hamilton, New Zealand, which led to her selection as one of 60 “Arts Leaders and Changemakers” in the Global Leaders Program 2022.

Hannah loves creating an interest for singing in schools and communities and seeing students gain new skills and confidence through music. Teaching a variety of genres is all part of the fun: Hannah enjoys teaching equally in styles of musical theatre, opera, classical, pop and jazz.  

Alongside music teaching, Hannah maintains an interest in pastoral care: previously she worked in the boarding house of St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton, New Zealand; currently, she is Assistant Housemistress at Ardingly College.   Hannah loves learning, herself, and when not making music is usually doing some kind of Personal Development, or if she’s lucky, out and about discovering ancient ruins, walks with views and trying out recipes!

Cerys Reading

Cerys grew up in a very musical family, and after moving to Cornwall at age 2 she began to play as many instruments as she could, starting, of course, with the recorder! She soon progressed onto guitar, followed closely by piano, and can now add oboe and saxophone to her list, along with lots of singing. She would really like to start learning the cello and drums, but this might have to wait until she has a bit more room in her house …

She went on to study her Undergraduate degree in Music at the University of Southampton, followed by a Masters degree in Musical Direction at the Guildford School of Acting, right here in Surrey. Now a proper ‘grown up’, she lives in Guildford where she has taught piano and singing for just over 2 years.

Alongside teaching one-to-one and group lessons, Cerys enjoys working with and developing school choirs, as singing is one of her main passions and she loves to hear singers of all ages coming together. She can occasionally be found playing in the band for various theatre shows, or even at the front conducting!

Outside of teaching, she is passionate about anything theatrical and her two crazy Tibetan Terriers Poppy and Daisy.

Catherine McKay-Upcott

Catherine McKay-Upcott was born in Dublin and attended the Royal Irish Academy of Music under a flute scholarship. Catherine graduated with honours from Trinity College  Dublin where she sang as a choral scholar and directed the college Chapel Choir. In 2002 she moved to London to study for a Masters degree in choral direction at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was awarded the Alan Taylor Prize. Since then Catherine has worked as a voice, flute and choir teacher throughout London and Surrey and as a choral director of children and adult choirs mostly in London. She is delighted to be starting a new chapter with SYTC.

Caroline Pearce

Caroline has many years of experience leading choirs of all ages and abilities. She took up the post of organist and choir leader whilst in sixth form and trained through the RSCM, taking a year out to qualify as a piano teacher with the Guildhall School of music. 

Having graduated from Nottingham University with BA Hons in music, she continued to make music throughout a career in HR. From directing acapella groups and shows, playing kit and tuned percussion for big bands and amateur musicals, to setting up scratch adult choirs for those  who don’t read music, Caroline relishes every opportunity to encourage those who say they ‘cannot sing’ to experience the satisfaction of discovering that they can. 

She has sung in various choirs, including the Sainsburys Choir of the Year winners Choros Amici, and currently performs regularly with the recently formed female group Corra Sound, comprising professionally trained and high level amateur voices.

Caroline returned to a full-time career in music as a piano teacher and running ‘Music with Mummy’ classes 18 years ago. She started teaching tuning up percussion, class music and singing in schools for Surrey Arts just over 12 years ago and having discovered the joy of working with SEN children through ‘ start up’ choirs, was appointed Director for the ‘Just So’ county ensemble , following their 25th anniversary concert last Summer.

Marc Hermans

Bio to some – check back soon!

Lesley Gladigau

Lesley Gladigau studied singing, clarinet and piano at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Cardiff. She gained her Licentiate Diploma and Advanced Certificate of music, with merits in performance. She continued her singing studies on the Advanced Music Course at the Royal Academy of Music, during which time she won the Isabel Jay award for sopranos and mezzo-sopranos. After completing her advanced singing studies at RAM, Lesley started work as a peripatetic music teacher, working for different music services providing lessons in singing, clarinet and piano.

Since joining Surrey Arts, Lesley has delivered wider opportunities music sessions in primary schools, and teaches individual lessons in piano, flute and singing. She is experienced in SEN settings and also enjoys organizing concerts and musical events for the children. She has entered many students for musical examinations over the years and works on the musical theory, musicianship, aural and sight reading disciplines that are also important for the graded examinations.

Lesley continues to sing professionally, and performs regularly in churches and venues around Surrey and London. She also regularly performs with the Holst Singers in London.

Elizabeth Castle


Elizabeth graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and subsequently from the Royal Academy of Music with qualifications in both teaching and performing. She went on to sing varied roles with English National Opera, Welsh National Opera and Florence Opera (Teatro Comunale). During her busy recital and oratorio career she has performed in the UK and abroad at concert venues including the Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Fairfield Hall and King’s College, Cambridge and also on BBC television. Elizabeth has loved singing from a very early age. She enjoys teaching her ‘I Wish I Could Sing’ class for Surrey Arts which she has taught for nearly 24 years, and has great pleasure in watching her students improve in both confidence and skill.