Helen Swift – Musical Director
Helen started her singing career in Liverpool in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and had early success in the BBC Choirgirl of the Year competition. She went on to win a choral scholarship to Clare College Cambridge where she studied music. She studied opera in London and Dublin and now studies with Michelle Wegwart. She has performed in many of the major concert venues around the world. As a soloist Helen has sung many baroque and classical roles over the years and enjoys working as a recitalist with the Enigma Trio. She has worked with Sir David Willcocks, Stephen Cleobury and John Rutter and appeared as a soloist on many CDs including Lesley Garret’s, comic Lee Evans and film scores for Max Richter. Helen is also the MD of Towcester Choral Society, Thame Choral Society and The Knightley Singers. Recent performances have been Messiah, Creation, Elijah and the Armed Man.
Helen is half Welsh, her mother being born in Swansea.
Tim Croston – Accompanist and Deputy MD
Tim was a church organist in the parish of St Michael’s-on-Wyre, Lancashire, while still at school. He has a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Oxford, and a Master’s in Composition and Sonic Art from Oxford Brookes University.
Tim’s ability to play in a wide variety of musical styles has seen him perform across the UK, Italy, Holland and Germany. His groups have recorded several sessions for BBC Radio.
Tim is currently principal pianist for both the Oxford Gospel Choir and the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir.
As well as a pianist, Tim is a deputy organist at St Mary’s Church, Iffley village. He also plays in a bluegrass band, and is a sought-after brass player and music teacher.
Andrew Patterson – Accompanist and Organist
Andrew Patterson MA, ARCO is organist and deputy accompanist for the Oxford Welsh choir, resident organist at Blenheim Palace Woodstock and Director of Music at St Giles Church, Oxford.
He regularly performs organ recitals at Blenheim and has played in churches and cathedrals for services and recitals across Europe, including St Peters in Rome and Southwark, Coventry and Wells cathedrals in the UK. At Blenheim he has performed for many state and formal occasions, including visits by current and past USA presidents and members of the royal family. Andrew learnt to play the organ at Taunton School, Somerset, and at Clare College Cambridge, where he read engineering and electrical sciences.
By day Andrew works for German company Siemens, looking after a business in automotive electronics and software. He lives in Oxfordshire and has three grown-up daughters who also enjoy keyboard playing.
Other Key figures
Choir President – Malcolm Hookham
Malcolm joined the choir in 1973 and is a stalwart member of the Bass section.
Like several others in the choir, he’s also a keen and talented golfer.
We’re also indebted to our two Vice-Presidents; Wilhelmina Church and Penelope Glen, for their valuable support.