Russell’s interest in choral music began when he was a Chorister at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. After graduating in music from Manchester University, he went on to become Assistant Musical Director of the renowned Manchester Chorale, and for the past 24 years he has been the Musical Director of the Warrington Male Voice Choir. In 2002 Russell was elected a Fellow of the Academy of St Cecilia. He is a composer and arranger of choral music, and has had compositions and arrangements performed at the Royal Northern College of Music, the National Concert Hall Dublin, The Waterfront Hall Belfast and the Bridgewater Hall Manchester. His concert appearances include sharing the stage with both Jose Carerras and Luciano Pavarotti, and his many media performances include directing live performances on BBC Radio, S4C and RTE. During his time with Warrington Male Voice Choir, the choir has enjoyed a period of considerable competition success, as prize winners at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, winners of the Sligo and Bangor International Choral Festivals and UK National Male Voice Choir Champions. In March 2012, the choir won first prize in the Majestic Tours competition in Torquay.
Originally from Goole, Yorkshire, Helen took piano lessons from the age of 8 and her first job was as pianist to a local ballet school whilst still at high school. She was the accompanist to Goole Choral Society from its inception in 1982 and had a teaching practice of over 40 pupils for more than 20 years before moving to Cheshire in 1998. Helen has a B.A. (Hons) degree in Music and Humanities and postgraduate qualifications in Education from the Open University. Helen is employed as Pastoral Manager working with disaffected students at a local secondary school. She is principal accompanist to the City of Chester Male Voice Choir and lives in Winsford with husband Phil and teenage daughter Chloe.
Deputy Musical Director
Anthony Whittaker was born in Warrington in 1968; he has been associated with Warrington Male Voice Choir since 1994. Anthony has worked as a soloist, accompanist and repétiteur throughout the UK and continental Europe. He performed with WMVC in Montréal, Canada and has played on BBC Radio 2, RTÉ 1 & 2; he has provided organ sound tracks for the BBC and Granada Television. Anthony studied piano with Peter Wild and organ with Ann Bond. He is a graduate of the University of London with postgraduate qualifications in composition from the University of Liverpool. He started Lecturing in music in 1995 when he joined the staff of the School of Performing Arts at City of Liverpool College. He is now a director of his own company and works as a composer, arranger, pianist and teacher and enjoys his work as a senior examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, for whom he trains new examiners and tours extensively overseas. As a composer, he has had several commissions and successes. Coelos Acendit for children’s voices has been performed at the Royal Festival Hall; A Litany and Agnus Dei written for Warrington Male Voice Choir, have been broadcast on S4C television, the later being premiered in the Pauluskirche, Berlin. Instrumental works includes the Clarinet Quintet (2009), Intermèdes for chamber orchestra (2011) an orchestral piece, Another Place was performed in 2014 by members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Anthony has also arranged folk tunes and standards especially for WMVC. Early choral works are published by Curiad and several pieces are available as digital downloads online from sheetmusicplus.com