Stephen Petch - Musical Director

Stephen Petch is an accomplished professional tenor and musical director who took over as MD of the Rushmoor “Odd Fellows” Male Voice Choir in 2001 after being a singer with the choir since 1997.

Stephen’s formal voice training began with D’Oyly Carte opera company tenor Edwin Rolles in 1983. During a six-year period he won over thirty first prizes in competitive vocal festivals,  including the Festival Champion award at the Bournemouth Music Festival and the Four Voices Solo competition at the Welsh National Eisteddfod. Stephen now works with the Swiss tenor Lars Fischer, Crompton Scholar from the London Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Singing in the genres of Opera, Italian and Neapolitan Song and Classical Crossover, Stephen has performed as a professional tenor in Germany, Canada, Austria and New Zealand as well as in the UK.

Stephen is a Member of the Association of British Choral Directors and, as well as being The Odds MD, is musical director of Kindred Spirits (a choir solely for breast cancer sufferers and survivors). He was founding musical director of the Aldershot Military Wives’ Choir and the Hampshire & Surrey NHS Choir. He has also served as musical director of Crondall Community Choir and Alton Choral Society. Stephen has been Deputy Festival Director for the South Coast Festival of Male Voices and Guest Conductor of the Croydon Festival of Male Voices. In 2014 he was vocal director for the Wind Tunnel Project, an audio-visual exhibition within the old RAE’s 24 foot wind tunnel in the run-up to the Farnborough Air Show.

Under Stephen’s direction, Rushmoor Male Voice Choir has participated on a number of occasions in the London Welsh Festival of Male Voices at the Royal Albert Hall. The choir has also twice travelled to Oberursel in Germany – Rushmoor’s twin town – for performances under Stephen’s baton.

In addition to his professional singing and choral directing, Stephen is a vocal coach, piano tutor and qualified electrician!

Margery Wakefield - Accompanist

Margery’s predecessors as accompanist for the Odd’s 24 years to 1984 included Fred Titherington, Colin Campbell and Colin Wilson. Margery has played the piano both performing and accompanying since before her teens. Her piano teacher’s brother (Johnny Dankworth) did offer to teach her the clarinet – there’s a thought!

Margery graduated as a teacher from the Royal Academy of Music although her real wish was to accompany. While she was being coached by Professor Maria Donska in the 1970’s, Margery taught on Saturday’s at the Royal College of Music. In the 1990’s she was coached by Peter Element of the R.C.M.

Margery’s first year as a teacher was in Peterborough, where besides music, she taught tennis, netball and diving! After marrying Don she taught at Ilford and successfully conducted the school choir from the piano.

Don joined Solatron in Dorking, so Margery taught music and technical drawing at Leatherhead but Solatron quickly moved to Farnborough, so in September 1962 they moved with their year-old daughter to Church Crookham. within a month Margery was the accompanist for the Waverley Singers (which she was for 25 years). In many concerts the Waverley’s included a piano concerto for Margery to be the soloist. She was also a soloist for the R.A.E. Orchestra.

In November 1962, Margery joined Pax Hill (Finishing) School for Girls to teach piano. When Pax Hill was sold she joined the Hampshire Peripatetic Music staff to teach piano at a number of Rushmoor schools each week as well as to perform all over the County with other instrumentalists. When the organisation of peripatetic work changed in 1986 Margery applied to Lord Wandsworth College (south of Odiham) where she continues to teach piano at all grades and Diploma.

In 1984 Margery was invited to be the Odds accompanist and for a couple of years she accompanied both the Waverley Singers and the Odd Fellows.

In 1987 with kids grown up and parents deceased, Margery (with Don) tried skiing and cycling which has taken them around the hillier bits of Europe, USA, Canada and New Zealand but they still love taking their dogs to the Lake District. They try to keep fit at Cannon (Nuffield Heath) in Weybourne where, in 1997, a trainer cajoled Margery into running which has led to her running, for charities, the 2001 London Marathon and the 2002 and 2004 New York Marathons.

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