Shifnal Chorale
People of the Shifnal Chorale choir
Shifnal Chorale's President & Chair, Marcia Hall
Shifnal Chorale's President & Chair, Marcia Hall

Originally from Birmingham, Marcia Hall has lived in Shifnal for 34 years. Graduating from Bangor University, she went straight into Secondary School Education as a Music Teacher.

Although Marcia learnt to play the violin and piano in her early years, it was only later in life that she took up singing seriously, with Joyce Rogers as her teacher.

Marcia has also been involved with Amateur Musical Companies, notably the Trinity Operatic Society in Wolverhampton, where she "trod the light fantastic", first as a member of the chorus, then as a soloist, before finally becoming their conductor for 11 years.

Since retiring 7 years ago, Marcia has gradually become more involved with Shifnal Chorale and is now their President, Chair, Deputy Conductor and Alto Solo!

Photograph of the entire Shifnal Chorale in December 2015
Photograph of the entire Shifnal Chorale in December 2015
Our Music Director Paul Kelly
Our Music Director Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly started his musical career at the age of 16 as a trumpet player. He studied Psychology specialising in the Psychology of Music. This enabled him to do a PGCE in Music Education. He later read Music at Liverpool University winning the Alsop Composers Prize and performing as a soloist with various University ensembles.

He started his conducting career studying with George Hurst at Canford Summer School and later became a private pupil of Ezra Rachlin - a former assistant to Fritz Reiner. While living in Croydon he directed a variety of orchestras, choirs and bands including COSI - Croydon Opera Singers - with whom he has conducted most of the Mozart operas, La Boheme, Cenorentola, The Bartered Bride and Hansel and Gretel.

After a year studying on a British Council Scholarship at the Liszt Academy in Budapest he returned to the UK to concentrate on education. He then studied part time for a masters in Composition at Goldsmiths College. He retired from full time teaching in 2005 after being Director of Music at William Brookes School in Much Wenlock. Since then he has been Musical Director of the Shifnal Chorale and is reviving his trumpet playing. In 2010 Paul took over as Music Director of the Much Wenlock Male Voice choir, and from September in 2011, he took over as Musical Director for the Stretton Choral Society.  

Our Accompanist Chris Blake
Our Accompanist Chris Blake

Chris has been an organist, accompanist and choir director for over forty years. He was Musical Director of the Chorale from 1996 for just under ten years, and has often come back since to help out as accompanist or to sing with the tenors.  As an organist Chris is self-taught, and by the age of sixteen was already assistant organist at St Mary’s Church, Albrighton.  In 1969 he established the St Mary’s Ecumenical Choir together with Hugh Smith, and for over forty years accompanied the choir as they led services during the vacations in some of the greatest cathedrals in England, including Lincoln, Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and Wells.

He sings with St. Chad’s, Shrewsbury and deputises as organist there about once per month.  He also helps out at other churches around the area, and deputises for David Fisher when required for the Much Wenlock MVC and Church Stretton Choral Society.