Gareth Whitcombe MA - Musical Director
Gareth was born in Tredegar, Gwent. He was educated at Bedwellty Grammar School and Gwent College of Higher Education, Caerleon, where he studied piano with Rosalie Myers and voice production with Kelvin Thomas.
After leaving Caerleon, Gareth was appointed Head of Music at Trevethin Secondary School, Pontypool. It was at this time, aged 21, that he became Conductor of the Abertillery Ladies' Choir. This was a position he held for a few months before being appointed Musical Director of the Cwmbrân Male Choir.
Progress in his professional career took Gareth back to Tredegar, where following his appointment as Director of Music at the Comprehensive School, he then became a Head of Year and Assistant Headteacher.
Having spent 8 successful years as Deputy Headteacher at Caldicot School, Gareth is currently Headteacher at Llantarnam School in Cwmbran.
Since being appointed Musical Director of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir in 1988, he has continued to demonstrate that enthusiasm, coupled with flair and empathy, can make rehearsals a pleasure. This is evident from the way Blaenavon Male Voice Choir continues to increase in numbers at a time when many choirs in Wales are struggling to keep their numbers. Gareth arranges music for male choirs and often performs solos (with choir backing) and duets with other artists in the choir concerts.
In partnership with the choir's talented accompanist, Sara Humber and Ozzie Arnold (Deputy Conductor), Gareth has now established Blaenavon as one of the leading male choirs in Wales.
Apart from a busy life at school, Gareth and his wife Kathryn are responsible for music performed at Horeb Baptist Church, Blaenavon, where Kathryn is the Church Organist.
Arranging Music for Male Choirs, conducting them on various tours, as well as being invited to direct music festivals at home and abroad is a sure indication of Gareth's committment to the world of music. He also arranges concerts in the UK for American musical groups who tour every year.
"Ozzie" Arnold - Deputy Musical Director
Ozzie, born in Ross-on-Wye and educated at Monmouth, is a largely self-taught musician who like many, came to the male voice scene somewhat later than perhaps he should have.
After joining Croydon male Voice Choir in Surrey in 1985, he soon discovered a talent for arranging male voice music and quickly gained a fine reputation in that sphere.
In 1994 he was asked to take over the baton at Croydon and led them until 2000 when, taking early retirement from the City, he left the South-East and moved to Abergavenny.
Shortly after leaving, Oz was elected President of Croydon MVC and is now a life Vice-President.
Arriving in South Wales, Oz joined Blaenavon Male Voice Choir and took up the vacant position of Deputy Musical Director.
He is still writing arrangements and you can hear his works in most of the Choirs many concerts.
Sara Humber BA (Hons) - Accompanist
Sara was born inShrewsbury, Shropshire and moved to Wales at the age of 4. She was educated at Caldicot School andThe Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she studied saxophone with John Cooper and flute with Phillips Russell. Sara went on to undertake a PGCE course at The University of Bristol.After leaving Bristol, Sara was appointed as music teacherat John Warner School in Hoddesden, Hertfordshire.Following a career break to raise two children - Jack and Jessica, Sara returned to her home town of Caldicot where she holds the post of Director of Music at Caldicot School.Since becoming the Choirs pianist, she has, with our MD Gareth Whitcombe formed a formidable team.
Last Modified on: 12-08-2016