Spires Board and management team
The activities of Spires Music are controlled by Spires Music Limited, a company limited by guarantee (see foot of front page for statutory details). The current Directors of the Company are listed below. They are supported by a dedicated management team and a number of regular volunteers.
Dr Helen Atwood (Chair)
Helen Atwood (Spires Chair) lived and worked in the USA for ten years, completing a PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On returning to the UK, she lectured at Birmingham University before becoming a senior manager in Coventry City Council’s Children’s Services and a tutor in management studies for the Open University and the University of Warwick.
Helen's interest in music is lifelong. An erstwhile flautist, she has sung with the University of Warwick Chorus since moving to Coventry in 1985, and with Spires Philharmonic Chorus since 2006, where she is also Spires Front of House Manager.
Nicola Fisher (Treasurer)
Nicola is a Chartered Accountant with a lifelong interest in music, both as a performer and listener. She now runs her own small accountancy practice in Nuneaton.
Another clarinettist and recorder player she was a founder member of and played with Bedworth Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years. A keen chamber music player she currently plays with the Braunston Ensemble.
As a singer Nicola has been a member of many local Choral Societies and now sings with Spires Philharmonic Chorus.
In her spare time Nicola is a gardener and cook, enjoys foreign travel, walks in the countryside and practises yoga. Her retirement ambition is to become a better violin player.
Kathryn Hardy (Chorus Manager)
Kathryn has pursued a life-long passion for singing. She has appeared as a soloist in both Oratorio and Opera and is a member of several local choirs. She is also keen to share her enthusiasm and has taught at many local schools. She teaches voice privately and one pupil has recently won a national competition resulting in a professional tour.
As Chorus Manager of Spires Music, she is responsible for co-ordinating a volunteer team and ensuring the smooth running of concerts. Kath is also the first point of contact for those wishing to join the lively, friendly chorus. No audition is necessary and the choir rehearses on a variety of different days during the period leading to a concert.
Mike Torbe (Schools Liaison Officer)
Mike taught in primary and secondary schools and in higher education before working in local government as an educational adviser until his retirement in 1997.
He has always loved music—he was brought up on Beethoven's symphonies—and as a young man sang folk songs, played jazz in modern jazz bands and classical guitar. Twenty years passed as he worked and brought up a family, and then became actively involved in music again playing bass and banjo in a ceilidh band, for which he wrote a good deal of its dance music.
He has returned to his first love of singing, and has taken composing seriously in the last ten years.
In addition to the members of the main Board, the following additional members of the management team assist with the administration of Spires' activities
Colin Touchin (Artistic Director and Conductor)
Colin is the founder of Spires Music. He was Director of Music at the University of Warwick for over 14 years.
His full biographical details are set out on a separate page here.
Chris Wiltshire (Company Secretary)
Chris is a Chartered Accountant and a Senior Lecturer in Financial Reporting, Professional Ethics and Tax at the University of Gloucestershire. His musical credentials include an ATCL Diploma in Piano Accompaniment, and for a number of years was involved as an Official Accompanist at the Leamington Spa and Birmingham competitive Festivals and until recently, duties as part of the team of accompanists at the annual NODA Summer School in Loughborough. He is associated with the company which runs the very successful Stratford Music Centre.
Between its formation in 1999 and 2009 Chris was a vocal coach and rehearsal accompanist for Sing Live Central (part of the then Sing Live UK). His responsibilities included a number of opportunities to guest conduct the chorus and orchestra in Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
He has worked regularly with Jayne May-Sysum, soprano, with whom he has presented concerts over a number of years, and released a CD covering a range of classical and non-classical styles.
September 2009 saw the beginning of a new venture working with Barry Todd and the 200-strong Midland Voices and Orchestra which has given a series of enormously successful concerts at Warwick Arts Centre.
Peter Walters (Publicity Advisor)
Peter was a newspaper journalist for 25 years, much of that time spent as a feature writer, columnist and leader writer for the Coventry Telegraph. He then spent more than a decade working for Coventry's pioneering city centre management and tourism company, CV One, and its predecessors. He was by turns Head of Press and PR and Head of Economic Development, launching Coventry's Ambassadors Group and the Godiva Awards.
Since 2009 he has been working for himself, developing a consultancy specialising in copywriting, place marketing and PR.
He lives in Coventry and is currently working on a book about the City's history.