English Arts Chorale

Meet the singers

We would like to introduce you to a few of our singers, some of whom have sung with the EAC for many years and some are newer. All share a passion for our choir and a love of singing.

Christina Oyebode

Alto – EAC member for 15 years

I first began singing with the EAC as a soprano when I moved to Reigate in 1993. After 10 years, I had a break as family commitments were too great, and then re-auditioned and returned as an Alto about 5 years ago. In many respects the choir has not changed in that it still sets a very high standard. It was this that initially appealed to me and remains the reason why I love being in the EAC. I enjoy singing my favourite works over and over (Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Verdi Requiem) but also the fact that there's always something new every season to maintain variety. The rehearsals are hard work but it's the focus and concentration required that stimulate me. I work as a clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care. It is an emotionally challenging job but when I come to choir I can truly relax and enjoy the emotional experience of singing beautiful music.

I enjoy singing locally but love the thrill of singing in more well-known venues too. What I love most about our concerts is the overwhelming sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to be singing with a choir that creates a beautiful choral sound to such a high standard. I cannot fathom why everyone doesn't want to sing with us!

Choir member photo: Christine Oyebode
Choir member photo: Greg Arden

Greg Ardan

Tenor – EAC member for 4 years

For me, the most special piece I've sung with the EAC has to be the Faure requiem. I've always been touched by its apparent simplicity, yet immense emotional power. I first sang it with the choir soon after joining, and I loved being part of such a wonderful sound for such a great work.

Music has always been a passion. I play oboe with a couple of amateur orchestras as well as singing with the EAC. I work in London as a consulting actuary, and spend far too long commuting on Southern Rail! Music is the perfect creative antidote to a long, stressful day at work. There is simply no better feeling than making music with a group of like-minded people – whether as a singer or as an instrumentalist. Being part of that process is something very special.

We've had some wonderful soloists perform at our concerts in recent years, both singers and instrumental players. Sharing a platform with musicians of that calibre can feel electrifying. Even more so when many of them have said how great it feels to perform with us too.

I got married in 2014 and it was great to have some of the choir sing at our wedding. Not only were they fabulous, but it was an honour having people I usually sing alongside singing at our ceremony. Several of the pieces performed during the signing of the register were pieces I've performed with the EAC. Bruckner's 'Locus Iste' in particular is a piece I will now always associate with that happy day

Catherine Nasskau

Alto – EAC member for 6 years

As a drama teacher and parent of two boys, I find my Monday nights with the EAC are a haven of joy and calm in the midst of a busy life rushing around looking after everyone. The EAC is one of the friendliest choirs I have sung in and I like the way so many of us help with concerts, so that it really feels like the EAC belongs to us all. I also enjoy the fact that in rehearsals we often stand in different positions in the room – either Altos facing Tenors, in small groups with others singing different parts, or in a vast circle. We do this so often that it is not daunting, just an enjoyable challenge. Rehearsals are certainly never boring! We also sing some truly wonderful music, and I appreciate the high standards Les has for us. I particularly enjoy when we sing music off by heart. We have plenty of time to learn music when we do that, so are always confident when we come to perform. I encourage anyone to come along and see if you might like to join us as we are going to be singing some wonderful music in the next season.

Choir member photo: Catherine Nasskau
Choir member photo: Nigel Green

Nigel Green

Tenor – EAC member for 16 years

I enjoy being in a choir that can make such a wonderful sound – one that is transparent, in tune, and just plain lovely to hear. Being in the EAC is the fulfillment of my life. It is so wonderful to be able to read music well (this has developed since joining) and to have improved my technique into making a really good sound. I especially like it in rehearsals when we sing a piece in a big circle away from others in our voice section. This makes you work on being confident with the notes and you get to hear other parts as well. I'm looking forward to singing the Britten War Requiem in Winchester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey next year.

Tina Munns

Soprano – EAC member for 26 years

One of my favourite pieces of music is Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony. I think it is extraordinary music, very evocative and conjures up so many images in my head when we sing it.  I grew up beside the sea and love everything about it.

What  I enjoy most about our rehearsals is the total absorption in the music to the exclusion of all else. This has been so good for me over the years and there were times when it definitely saved my soul at a time when my life was difficult and unhappy. I really love singing in the round, mixed up. Singing itself is a physical outpouring and gives joy. It is a pleasure listening to the other sections singing as well and makes me appreciate what they are doing and the skill required to do it so well. What matters to me about the EAC is the high standard of musicality. The blend of voices is usually great and the strength of the male sections is wonderful for us women to hear.

Until recently I worked as a senior sister in charge of General Surgery. I have made the most of my time since my retirement and have had many fabulous holidays. I love riding horses and have ridden in many amazing countries. I also ski, scuba-dive and am learning the saxophone.

Choir member photo: Tina Munns