Holiday Tutor: Mary Keith

Mary is a freelance musician, composer, musical director and choir leader with a wide range of experience including theatre and community-based projects.

After completing a BSc Hons in Music at City University, Mary trained with Community Music East, before embarking on a freelance career that has seen her working projects for Glyndebourne Opera, Opera North, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, The Royal Ballet and writing music for various theatre performances and a series of musical folk tales from around the world for Channel 4. 

She is a well-loved leader of four choirs in the Welsh Borderlands region: The Mere Singers in Shrewsbury, The Keele Women’s Community Choir, The Boathouse Singers in Ellesmere and an under-fives group, Buzzy Beats, in Shrewsbury.  Mary’s creative skills are strong as demonstrated by the creation of the Patreon Community of Song, an online singing resource established during lockdown.

Her musical work has taken her to exciting parts of the world including Palestinian Refugee camps, the jungles and hills of Nagaland, a horse drawn theatre tour across the Hungarian Pusta, creating playful new theatre with students in Korea, performing on Woman’s Hour, the Royal Albert Hall, Hamlet’s Castle in Denmark, the Edinburgh Festival and on top of the Long Mynd!

Having fallen for Morocco when she visited with family and friends in the past, Mary jumped at the opportunity to lead a singing group for Holidays with Heart.

When teaching songs, Mary is often concerned with context, choosing material that has a relevance and resonance to the time of day, year, surroundings (architectural or natural), local events, the participants etc, choosing from a wide range of my arrangements of uplifting, traditional songs gathered from around the world (Eastern European, African, Pacific, Indian) and some of her own compositions from theatre and community projects. All songs will be taught acapella, by ear and no music reading is required, although Mary is happy to provide scores if requested. Her work in theatre has nurtured this sense of context and narrative drive, so workshops often are planned with that in mind. Most of all Mary likes to infuse sessions with joy and the sense of community that singing can bring.

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