Join the University Choir

Created in our tenth anniversary year under the directorship of Professor Graeme Danby, the University of Cumbria Choir is open to all students and staff who want to come and sing – all abilities are welcome. There will be no auditions and there is no need for prior musical knowledge or the ability to read music – all that will be needed is enthusiasm and commitment.

The choir will meet every Tuesday (during term-time) from 5.30pm – 7.00pm in the Vallum Gallery, University of Cumbria Brampton Road Campus commencing October 2017. The choir will be led by Ryan Hanlon and concerts conducted by eminent chorus masters such as Simon Fidler and David Temple.

For more information and to register your interest please email

The Choir is looking to perform at various venues in the north west and their nominated charity for 2017-18 is the Eden Valley Hospice

Spring/Summer 2017

As part of the University's Health and Wellbeing week there is to be a 'Wellbeing through Choral Singing' session at the Brampton Road campus.  All students are staff are welcome to attend.

Date:  Tuesday 25 April 2017

Venue:  The Vallum Gallery, Brampton Road campus

Time:  5.30pm - 7.00pm

Conducted by Ryan Hanlon and accompanied by Nick Butters this session will include a vocal and physical warm up.  Repertoire pieces will be I'll Be There, Oh Happy Day and Fix You.

It is the intention to do a live Skype link to Professor Graeme Danby, the university's Professor of Practice and principal soloist with the English National Opera, live to Lisbon, Portugal towards the end of the session to showcase the pieces.

Subject to levels of interest the Choir will resume again after the Summer Break on Tuesday 03 October 2017 and will meet on a regular basis.


Interested in singing in an all-female acapella group? Sing-A-Capella!

Under the directorship of Professor Graeme Danby, the repertoire will include a range of classical, musical theatre and popular music pieces. 

Auditions will be held from 5.00pm – 7.00pm on Tuesday 21 March 2017 in Stanwix House. Please prepare a solo acapella piece of your choice and be prepared to perform a series of vocal exercises to determine your vocal range. You will need to be able to hold a vocal line, sing in harmony and as part of an acapella group.  

You will need to be able to commit to a rehearsal schedule and performances on the following dates in the first instance:       

Tuesday 18 July 10.00am, 12.00noon and 3.00pm
Wednesday 19 July 10.00am, 12.00noon and 3.00pm
Thursday 20 July 10.00am and 12.00noon

As a result of the audition and any subsequent recalls the group Sing-A-Capella! will be formed.

Please email to register your interest.

Visiting professors Valerie Reid and Graeme Danby

Visiting Professors

Professor Graeme Danby

Graeme Danby is an operatic bass who has performed at several of the world's leading opera houses, notably the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the English National Opera, La Scala, Milan, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles and the Liceu Opera, Barcelona. Educated at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Graeme has just given his 1,250th performance (01 December 2016) with the English National Opera in Catherine Malfitano’s production of Tosca. He is known for his strong, dramatic portrayals of characters in the basso profondo repertoire.

From January 2017 Professor Danby is working with the staff and students at the university’s Institute of the Arts and across the university campuses, focusing in particular on the university's position in the arts and culture in the north west of England and using his industry contacts to increase the aspirations students and staff alike. Graeme feels passionately that music and the performing arts have a wonderful way of making people feel good. He is eager to find ways that will enable the students to take their skills out into the community, performing both in regular venues and also in more unusual and challenging spaces, showcasing their talents and sharing their knowledge.

Graeme's wish is to enhance the staffs’ existing teaching methods with lessons in voice projection, body language and performance skills to create an increasingly vibrant and creative working environment.


Professor Valerie Reid

Valerie Reid is a mezzo-soprano who has performed all over the world from Beijing to Turin, Hong Kong to Johannesburg, Seville to London, performs with the English National Opera and has had notable engagement across the UK. She was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, the National Opera Studio in London and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada.

Professor Reid will focus on the technical aspects of singing and performance, encouraging the students to maximise their vocal and performance potential and inspiring them to be the best they can possibly be as performers.

As the first opera singer to perform on the pyramid stage at Glastonbury, Valerie understands how the power and beauty of the human voice can captivate an audience. She is a great vocal technician, understanding how the entire body works to produce the required sound and above all she is an excellent communicator.


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