...in fact we're lovely (if we do say so ourselves!) and when you become part of our choir family you'll meet lots of interesting, friendly, welcoming people. Sometimes though it's nice to put a face to a name, so here are a few you might like to know.
Pleased to meet you!
We’re a friendly bunch...
Jon Szunko - Second Musical Director
Andrew Richardson - Accompanist
Jon started his journey with Northern Proud voices as an enthusiastic bass. A few years later and he is delighted to take on the role of musical director. He plays woodwind, dabbles on the piano, but his real passion lies in arranging, composing and, of course, directing. A keen traveller Jon has based his singing mantra on a trip to Fiji. After spending time living on a tiny island in the South Pacific he has seen how a few songs and a guitar can bring a community together. The locals there could not understand why the Brits would refuse to sing, if they would not refuse to speak. We all have voices and should have the courage to use them! Jon looks forward to the opportunity to help build upon the success of Northern Proud Voices and to do his bit, with the rest of the choir, to help bring the LGBTQI+ community together.
Northern Proud Voices had their first rehearsal on Friday 25th March 2011 and Andrew Richardson played piano for us. He's been with us from the very beginning and we're happy to tell you that eight years later he's still supporting choir as a singing tutor and accompanist. Andrew said, "I have very much enjoyed accompanying Northern Proud Voices and watching them grow and evolve as a choir." He lives in South Shields and works as a peripatetic pianist for many Primary Schools in the South Tyneside area. He has written several musicals for children which have been performed all around the borough. Andrew is also the resident pianist for popular singing group 'Encore' who perform at the Customs House twice a year. He loves all styles of music but admittedly his favourite genre is musical theatre.
Thiago Monteiro - Musical Director
Thiago has joint NPV as a tenor in 2018, and is now acting as second MD in the choir.
Born in a Christian family and having spent his entire childhood and adolescence going to church, Thiago started his musicality journey early. At the age of 12, he joined the musical team as keyboard player for the teens band, becoming main keyboard player / pianist at the age of 17, by when he had also had classes of guitar and drums. By the age of 18, as he started his graduation in Production Engineering at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, he joined Musicanto Music School in Niterói - RJ, Brazil, for formal singing lessons, and graduated as a singing teacher by the age of 20, following the exclusive school's methodology, which focused on vocal health. By the age of 22, Thiago had already worked as a singing teacher at the same school for 2 years, and acted as a focal point in development of out-of-tune students. At that same time, he took the role of musical leader at the church, being responsible for vocal and instrumental arrangements and rehearsals, music theory training and repertoire decisions, while still acting as keyboard player and soloist singer. By the age of 25, the church environment no longer made sense to him, as he came out as gay, and he focused on his Engineering career, though never leaving the appreciation and love for music behind.
Our hard working committee are passionate about Northern Proud Voices and are dedicated to making sure we are a vibrant, sustainable community choir. The committee are very approachable and welcome anyone's input and suggestions from all.
Kathleen MacDonald - Chair
Kath has been a member of NPV since one of the very first rehearsals back in 2011. During her time with the choir she has served on the committee several times as Ordinary Member, Secretary and Chair. Choir is extremely important to her and she believes that continuing to serve in the committee will help ensure that NPV is around for many, many years to come. The choir has gone from strength to strength since their humble beginnings in 2011 and as they say, the only way is up!
Andrea Routledge Colledge - Secretary
Andrea was persuaded to come along to choir by a work colleague and was hooked straight away. This was 4 years ago and since then has made great friends and enjoys performing with them. The weekly practice provides a respite from the stress of 'real life' and is the highlight of the week. She has taken the role of Secretary.
John Neaven - Treasurer
Antonio M. Portas - general committee member
Mark Gibson - general committee member
Richard Chan - general committee member
Samantha Triggs - general committee member