Castor Voices

Biographies

Lisa Dafydd

The soprano Lisa Dafydd is about to embark on her fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester studying voice and opera under the guidance of her tutor, Hilary Summers.

Originally from Ruthin in North Wales, Lisa has performed as a soloist locally and over the border at prestigious events such as the North Wales International Music Festival in 2017 and 2018, and the Winchester Festival in 2019. Lisa was also a member of the chorus for the 2019 Spring term opera at the RNCM, The Pilgrim’s Progress by Vaughan Williams.

Lisa is also a member of ‘Castor Voices’, a sextet formed of six sopranos from the RNCM, and she enjoys being able to explore a wide range of ensemble music with the group. She is also an enthusiastic member of Aelwyd Manceinion, and thoroughly enjoys having a Welsh society in Manchester.

During the next few months, Lisa will be preparing for a solo recital to be performed at the college. She was also chosen as a cast member for the RNCM’s Autumn term opera, ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ by Janáček, which will be performed this December.

Ruby Hendry

Ruby is a twenty-one-year-old Soprano currently in her third year of training at the Royal Northern College of Music with renowned coloratura soprano Sandra Dugdale. Ruby is privileged to have a wealth of performing experience and has taken part in concerts both in a choir and as a soloist, alongside numerous appearances in musical theatre.

Despite her young years, Ruby has performed the soprano solo in Vivaldi’s Gloria for the European Union Chamber Orchestra and as a guest artist for BBC Radio Leeds on their Christmas broadcast. She has also performed in masterclasses for singers such as Sir Thomas Allen and Susan Bullock. During her first year of college, Ruby auditioned successfully for the RNCM Chamber Choir and has since performed in numerous concerts with them.

In October 2018 Ruby was selected by the RNCM to represent them at the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers where she competed against singers from colleges all around the country.

In addition to this she made her RNCM opera debut in March 2019 in Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrims Progress.

In January 2020 Ruby won the Durrant French Song Prize at the David Clover Festival of Singing in Sheffield and most recently was announced as a winner of the 2020 Pendle Young Musicians Bursary, open to musicians in the north of England.

In her spare time, Ruby loves going home to her beloved home county of Yorkshire and taking long walks in the beautiful countryside.

Alice Henery

Alice is a 22 year old soprano currently in her third year of study at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Sarah Rhodes. Alice has gained extensive experience performing both as a soloist and as a choir/ensemble member.

Her introduction to opera was in the chorus of Tosca, as part of the Celebrate Voice Festival 2016. Following this, Alice made her RNCM opera debut in December 2018 in Suor Angelica.

As a soloist Alice has performed recitals both in and out of RNCM, solo performances in a tour of churches in Tuscany, masterclasses at the RNCM, and has been a regular soloist with choirs.

Alice’s love of singing developed through performing in choirs throughout her childhood but it was as a member of the Godolphin Vocal Ensemble that her passion developed. Alice was fortunate to regularly sing in Salisbury Cathedral and also at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Barbican. The Vocal Ensemble won the Bernardo’s Choir of the year competition in 2015, and were semi-finalists in the Songs of Praise School Choir of the year in 2016. A particular highlight for Alice was singing the Benedictus solo in the premier of a Missa Brevis composed especially for the choir by Douglas Coombes. Singing with Castor Voices has been a particularly exciting project for Alice and she has particularly loved working with talented sopranos in a small ensemble.

Alice is passionate about taking music into the community. Since 2019 she has worked with the charity LIME Music for Health taking music directly to patients at Manchester Children's Hospital. She has also performed in care homes and participated in music workshops for those with dementia.

Alice is currently working on new repertoire for her third year recital at the RNCM, and learning to embrace virtual performances! When Alice is not singing she enjoys sailing (working towards her Yachtmaster qualification), looking after guide dog puppies, and running – she is participating in the next Manchester Marathon whenever it finally happens!

Tesni Jones

Tesni Jones is a twenty-one-year-old Soprano from St. Asaph, currently studying a Bachelor of Music with Honours degree. She is in her third year of study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She is currently being taught by Soprano, Deborah Rees, and was previously under the tuition of Mezzo-soprano, Ann Atkinson at the Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias in Denbigh.

Tesni is an established soloist performer, her history of solo work includes taking part in the North Wales International Music festival of 2017, performing as a member of the RNCM Songsters, a team of sixteen singers and accompanists specialising in song repertoire based in Manchester, while also often singing as a soloist in St. Asaph Cathedral for concerts held in aid of local charities, such as St. Kentigern Hospice.

The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol has also played a large role in Tesni’s journey as a soloist. Tesni was awarded 1st place in the National Eisteddfod’s Girls' Solo aged 16 - 19 competition in both 2016 and 2017. During the summer of 2018, Tesni was chosen to compete in the Gwobr Goffa Osborne Roberts on the Millennium Centre stage in Cardiff, and was awarded the Ysgoloriaeth Goffa Violet Mary Lewis for the most promising soprano performance.

It is at the RNCM however, that Tesni made her opera debut as a chorus member in Vaughn Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress. The RNCM’s upcoming production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen is Tesni’s next opera engagement, in which she has been cast to cover the roles of Cricket and Frantík.

Tesni has been performing regularly with her six-part vocal ensemble group, Castor Voices, throughout her time at the RNCM and thoroughly enjoys continuing to learn new music and repertoire with such a talented group of musicians, and friends. As a group they particularly enjoy performing at local care homes around Manchester, as they believe it’s the perfect way to share their love for singing with such a wonderful part of the community.

Tesni is now working towards her annual end-of-year recital at the RNCM, which will be held in November, while focusing in general on expanding her repertoire and gaining more and more experience as a musician and performer.

Charlotte Kennedy

Charlotte Jane Kennedy is a young soprano going into her fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she is on the Vocal Studies and Opera Course under the tutelage of Sandra Dugdale.

Charlotte began singing from a young age and joined St James Church Choir at the age of 8, where she still enjoys singing when she is back from Manchester. At school, Charlotte was a member of the Chamber Choir and a small female ensemble who performed regularly at school events. She also took part in musical productions, where her most notable roles included Cosette in Les Misérables, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance and Maria in West Side Story. Charlotte was awarded Riddlesdown Collegiate Singer of the Year in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and Riddlesdown Collegiate Musician of the Year in 2017.

Since beginning her studies, Charlotte has plunged herself into musical life in Manchester. In 2018, Charlotte took on the role of Phyllis in Iolanthe with Manchester Universities Gilbert and Sullivan Society where she received fantastic reviews for her singing and this year prepared the role of Constance in The Sorcerer which was due to be performed in March prior to the Covid-19 crisis. At the RNCM, Charlotte enjoyed being in the chorus of their 2019 production of Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress and more recently performed scenes (albeit virtually) from Der Freischütz as Agathe and Le Nozze di Figaro as Susanna. Charlotte has worked as a steward for two consecutive summers at The Dartington International Summer School and has previously enjoyed working daily with Dame Felicity Lott in her Vocal Masterclass. Charlotte continues to place choral music as an important part of her musical development and has cherished being a member of vocal sextet Castor Voices. She is also a member of the renowned Hallé choir in Manchester and performs regularly at The Bridgewater Hall.

Lucy Mullin

Lucy Mullin is a vocal studies student in her third year at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of world-renowned soprano, Eiddwen Harrhy. With Eiddwen, Lucy is working hard on becoming a versatile singer however she particularly enjoys singing the music of Handel and Mozart. Lucy is lucky to have a wealth of performing experience as a soloist and chorister as well as many Musical Theatre roles.

In 2010, Lucy was accepted into the Halle Children’s Choir where her love for singing was nurtured, she is currently one of only two choristers to work their way through the entire Halle Choral Ensembles ending her Halle career in the Halle Choir. Lucy was lucky to perform multiple solos for the Halle Chorus including the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Mass in C accompanied by the Halle Youth Orchestra. Through her 9 years with the Halle Ensembles, Lucy recorded multiple award-winning CDs, performed at the BBC proms and countless world premieres.

When Lucy was accepted into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain she was delighted to work alongside some of the best choristers from around the UK. Notable performances with NYCGB include opening night of the BBC Proms (2018) and the Edinburgh International Festival (2018) as well as performing multiple times at the Snape Maltings Proms. Last summer, Lucy worked alongside DCINY to record Handel’s Messiah, which was released in early 2020. In December 2019, Lucy made her solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall by opening their Christmas concert ‘Carols at the Royal Albert Hall’. Lucy was looking forward to a summer singing with NYCGB at the World Choral Symposium in New Zealand, the Three Choir’s Festival and the BBC Proms however, these were unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19.

Through her time at RNCM, Lucy has made her operatic debut in the chorus of Vaughn William’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. She has also performed with the Manchester Universities Gilbert and Sullivan Society in the Addams Family and was looking forward to performing in The Sorcerer in April. Lucy has found a love for outreach work in her role within RNCM’s Learning and Participation Department in addition to volunteering with Together Dementia Support and performing in their weekly ‘Concert in the Lounge’. She also regularly performs at fundraising dinners for charities in her hometown of Bolton. Through the formation of Castor Voices, Lucy has developed a love for chamber music and performing in a close-harmony ensemble. She enjoys the challenge of finding new repertoire that will suit the group across all genres of music. Her favourite part of singing with Castor Voices, is having the opportunity to perform alongside her best friends! Although enjoying recording remotely, Lucy is looking forwards to next year when hopefully they can get back to performing together in person.