In the run-up to SingFest 2015 I have decided to write a post every week zooming in on one of our tutors. This week’s Midweek Maestro is Northern Folk Legend, Lester Simpson.
Lester performs both as a solo singer and as a member of a number of well established musical ensembles the most renowned of which being a cappella folk trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson who were once described as “incomparable” by the BBC’s Mark Radcliffe.
His other singing projects include ‘Coope, Simpson, Fraser, Freya’ and ‘Voices At The Door’ a collaboration with Michael Murpurgo.
A little known fact is that, as well as being a phenomenal singer, Lester also plays the bagpipes. As well as countless weddings and funerals, Lester’s bagpiping career has taken him to Belgium to pipe at the opening of ‘The in Flanders Fields Museum’. His piping has entertained many National theatre audiences and has even been selected as a choice on Desert Island Discs!
Raise Your Voices, based in Wirksworth where Lester lives, is a 70 strong community choir who featured in the double Bafta award winning BBC 2 film ‘Marvellous’. They rehearse in a pub under the directorship of Lester and like most community choirs – new members are always welcome!
His other community singing work includes harmony singing classes for Derby City and Derbyshire County councils, Leek Peace Choir, a choir for Parkinson’s UK Derby branch, who call themselves ‘Movers And Shakers’, a workplace choir for ‘Unison’ at Derbyshire County Council, Music sessions on dementia wards at hospitals In Buxton and Bakewell and ‘memory and music’ sessions in Care Homes in Derbyshire.
Lester has had a rich career in the entertainments industry so far which has taken him all over the world, as has his passion for tall ships. He sails with ‘The Tall Ships Youth Trust’ as a Watch Leader and Bosun, in fact he’ll be joining the ‘Stavros Niarchos’ in Southampton straight after SingFest!
While researching for this blog I have noticed a theme which keeps cropping up – the tragedy and death of the first world war. Lester has written music, directed plays, recorded albums, even started choirs with the aim of promoting peace and never letting us forget the heavy price the world paid a hundred years ago. This theme continues through into his current work and I believe will keeping driving him on to try to make the world a more peaceful place.
Until next time…
I am greatly looking forward to Lester’s singing workshop at SingFest 2015. If you are too but haven’t yet booked your ticket book now at www.singfest.org.uk.
You can follow SingFest on Twitter @ or join the conversation #SingFest2015.
Next week I’ll post about another Midweek Maestro so watch this space!