Graeme Danby

Born in County Durham Graeme studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with the Canadian Baritone Bruce Boyce.

Graeme made his professional debut as Benedict in La Vie Parisienne with Scottish Opera and subsequently sang Sacristan (Tosca), Bosun (Billy Budd), Benoit (La Boheme), Masetto (Don Giovanni) and Antonio (Marriage of Figaro). His roles at English National Opera include Don Basilio (Barber of Seville), Samuel (Masked Bali), Doctor Grenvil (La Traviata), Mercury
(Coronation of Poppea), Speaker (Magic Flute) Swallow (Peter Grimes), Pimen (Boris Godonov), Pooh Bah (Mikado), Antonio and various roles in the world premiere of David Sawer's award winning opera Morning to Midnight. For the Glyndebourne Tour he has sung Osmin (Die Entfuhrung) and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden the Marquis in Richard Ayres production of La Traviata and Dr Bartolo (Marriage of Figaro) for both Opera North and Garsington. Productions abroad include Tristan and Isolde, Peter Grimes in
Lisbon, Birtwhistle's Punch and Judy in Paris and Purcell's The Fairy Queen in Barcelona.

For television Graeme has sung Somnus (Semele), Czar Ivan (Candide) for the BBC produced by Humphrey Burton and Brander in the Damnation of Faust for Channel 4. Recordings include Bernstein's Candide, Blitzstein's Regina, McCunn's Jeannie Deans, Nicholas Maw's the Rising of the Moon, St Cuthbert, The Burning Road by Will Todd with such Orchestra's as the Halle, BBC Scottish Symphony, RPO and 'Stories of the North East' with the Northern Sinfonia.

Graeme's future plans include Count Rostov/Tikhon in War and Peace at the BBC Proms, Sacristan, Zuniga (Carmen)' Lorenzo (Capuleti ed i Montecchi) for ENO, Antonio for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Xuthus in Param Vir's opera Ion in Strasburg, Berlin and the ROH, recording Samuel (Masked Ball), Antonio (Marriage of Figaro) for Chandos, Mahler's Eighth Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall, Lord Mountararat (Iolanthe) with Carl Davis and the Halle Orchestra in the Bridgewater Hall, Nelson Mass (Haydn) in Paris with Sir Neville Mariner, concerts with the Northern Sinfonia and further recordings as part of the Northumbrian Anthology Project.

Valeria Reid

Born in Fife, Valerie studied singing at the RSAMD in Glasgow with Patricia MacMahon. Whilst there she won the Governors Recital Prize, the prestigious John Noble Bursary, three Caird Scholarships, the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal and was twice a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier and Royal Overseas League competitions. She graduated with a B.A.mus perf and a DRSAMD in 1986 and immediately joined Glyndebourne.

In 1987 Valerie was awarded a scholarship from the English Speaking Union to complete a song course in Banff, Canada before further support from the Friends of Covent Garden set up a year's study at the National Opera Studio in London.

Valerie's operatic roles with English National Opera include Mercedes (Carmen), 2nd Lady (Magic Flute), 3rd Nymph (Rusalka), Helen (King Priam), Herodias (Salome), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Arnalta (Coronation of Poppea), Fricka (Das Rheingold), Dido (Dido and Anneas), Aunt Hermance in the world premiere of Gavin Bryers Doctor Ox's Experiment, Grimgerde (Die Walkure) and 'The Lady' in David Sawer's acclaimed new opera Morning to Midnight. Valerie's roles with Scottish Opera include Cherubino (Marriage of Figaro), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Charlotte (Grand Duchess of Gerolstein), Suzuki (Madame
Butterfly), Flora (La Traviata) for English Festival Opera, the title role in Carmen for both Pavilion Opera and at the Northlands Festival.

Valerie's recent engagements include Rosina (Barber of Seville) at the Festival de la Vezere, Natasha in The Electrification of the Soviet Union with Music Theatre Wales, Carmen in Hong Kong, Messiah with the Northern Sinfonia, Mrs Turner in Will Todds The Blackened Man at the Linbury Theatre Covent Garden, Mahler's Eighth Symphony in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, concerts in St Petersberg, Monte Carlo, Geneva, Saltzberg and Turin as well as Krobyle in the Richard Strauss Opera Des Esels Schaten with Sir Peter Ustinov at the Covent Garden Festival. Future plans involve a return to ENO for War and Peace, Grimgerde in Die Walkure, Fricka in Das Rheingold, Dido in the Trojans, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, further concerts and recordings with the Northern Sinfonia.

Major Peter Parkes

Peter Parkes came to Brass Bands from the Army where he directed many famous bands. This period included many years in London directing the Band of the Grenadier Guards. His transition from Military to Brass Bands began in 1975 when he was invited to become the professional conductor of Black Dyke. His fourteen years with Dyke saw a period of unrivalled success - 35 contest appearances led to 18 first and 12 second prizes, including Hat Tricks in the National and European Championships, a record three doubles of National and British Open and in 1985 a clean sweep of all the major titles.

1989 saw the beginning of six very successful years with the famous Williams Fairey Band. This happy association led to their winning together in 1993/94 the treble of Open, National and European Championships. Peter Parkes is the only conductor to have achieved this treble on two occasions! From 1996 he spent a very exciting four years as the Professional Conductor of Grimethorpe Colliery Band and works constantly with a number of other championship section bands. Since 1998 Peter Parkes has been the Professional Conductor of Brass Band Treize Etoiles and together in 200l they gained the hat-trick of Swiss National, Swiss Open and Open European Champions.

Peter Parkes has been for many years the President of the British Federation of Brass Bands, and he is currently the Chairman of the Brass Band Heritage Trust. He travels throughout the world as conductor and adjudicator and he has directed Brass and Military bands in the making of more than one hundred commercial CDs and LPs.

Bethany Halliday

Bethany began her training as an actress at the University of Kent, where she received the music bursary for three consecutive years. After graduating she began her operatic training with English National Opera on their young performers course for which she was awarded the Lilian Baylis Bursary. She was also awarded sponsorship from Sir Jeremy Isaacs and other individual members of the Royal Opera House Board of Directors. In 1998 she was awarded a scholarship to study at Ardingly Summer School with Jonathan Hinden, principal coach at Glyndebourne, and was a recipient of the William Cox Memorial Fund Scholarship.

Bethany has worked with English National Opera, D'Oyly Carte, British Youth Opera, Grange Park Opera, Opera South East and Opera Omnibus. She also regularly performs at opera gala evenings at Sarastros Restaurant on Drury Lane.

Roles include Musetta in La Boheme, Leila in Pearl Fishers, Nannetta in Falstaff, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Yum Yum in The Mikado, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Frasquita in Carmen, Oscar in A Masked Ball, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Olympia in Prima Donna and Voice 1 in Berio's A Ronne. She has also performed a wide spectrum of oratorio and was the soprano soloist in Will Todd's Elder's Voices which was commissioned by English National Opera and was premiered in Southwark Cathedral in November 2001.

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