New Festival Director Appointed

Globally-acclaimed music maestro Gareth Churcher has been announced as the new Artistic Director to lead Cornwall’s hugely successful International Male Voice Choral Festival (CIMCF) – the largest event of its kind in the world - to its next event in 2019.

Gareth takes over from another award-winning Director, Rob Elliott, whose 2017 event saw 2000 singers from 60 choirs of all ages and nationalities - including Australia, the USA and Russia – taking part in 50 events in 40 venues right across Cornwall and bringing around £1million into the local economy.

Front row L-R Jenny Keymer; Gareth Churcher and Rob Elliott;  back L - R David Peters, Richard Robinson; John Larke; Terry Coplin;  Andrew Lancaster.-1.jpg

Gareth’s commitment to promoting music across Cornwall and beyond is legendary and was recognised by his being anointed a Cornish Bard as a "True Ambassador for Music" as well as being awarded the Trelawny Plate for outstanding services to Cornwall.

He has worked tirelessly and creatively to ensure the future of music teaching for Cornwall’s young people – devising a new model Cornwall Music Service Trust when budget cuts saw the demise of Cornwall Council’s own service. The not-for-profit Trust, of which Gareth is founding Head of Service, now employs 120 Music Teachers & Music Therapists and delivers over 1000 hours of music education per week to students in schools and other educational establishments across the length and breadth of Cornwall.

He is Director of Music for many ensembles, both community and education sector-based, including, with great success, the St Keverne Bands, Eight in a Bar Choir and the Truro School Barbershop Choir – the latter two of which both won classes at the 2017 CIMCF. 

“Gareth gets his energy from a boundless passion for music,” says Cornwall International Male Choral Festival Chairman Bruce Taylor, “and we feel honoured that he is taking the helm of our fantastic international festival alongside his many musical commitments – he is the perfect fit for the role.”

Those other commitments include studying for a PhD at Falmouth University in an innovative project which involves composing music specifically for Online Ensembles, as well as holding a publishing contract with Kirklees for musical composition with works performed internationally.

Alongside being supported by an established Festival committee and patrons, more than 300 dedicated volunteers, the choirs themselves and a wide range of local businesses, Gareth will have the able assistance of experienced music manager Jenny Keymer, who has been appointed Festival Administrator. 

Gareth’s work with young people will provide an added emphasis for the Festival into the future: “I’m very excited to be building on the exemplary work of previous Festival Directors,” he says, “and I aim to keep the very high international profile of the CIMCF, attracting even more top choirs including youth choirs.

“Looking forward, I aim to devise a strategy for the sustainability of Male Voice Choirs in Cornwall which, through the international outreach of the Festival, will demonstrate an approach others can follow. It will involve links with the education sector, community music making and routes of progression that involve higher education, working closely with Cornish Choirs to provide valuable seminars, workshops, masterclasses and symposium.”

St Petersburg Boys Choir at St Michael’s Mount to launch the 2017 Cornwall International Male Choral Festival (photo by Phil Monckton)

Gareth and the team are hard at work ahead of the ninth biennial Cornwall International Male Choral Festival – with choirs from across the world already signed up for the event which will run from May 2nd to May 6th 2019. 

The eight events since the Festival’s inauguration in 2003 have brought around 16,000 singers from every continent on Earth (including Cornwall) for a celebration of music and song in the male choral tradition.

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