People's Show Choirs
Our People's Show Choir Creative Team
Founder, CEO, Artistic Director
Sarah Marshall is the Founder, Artistic and Managing Director of The People’s Show Choir, The People’s Orchestra and The Rusty Players Orchestra.
Founded with a principle wish to keep people playing music, Sarah grew an initially small ensemble into The People’s Orchestra, one of the UK’s leading community orchestras, in just a few short years. Sarah set out to prove that orchestras and choirs can be set up, ran differently and still wow audiences with a high standard of performance.
Since then, The People’s Orchestra has expanded to include a team of volunteers aiding with the back-office roles such as marketing, administration, and graphical design. The charity has gone on to help hundreds of people back into paid employment, education or on to set up their own businesses, all in one of the most deprived areas of England.
Choral Program Director
A former “Outstanding” (Ofsted 2004) primary school teacher, Ula is a leading conductor, teacher trainer and workshop leader, whose work has taken her around the UK and as far afield as Hong Kong, Uganda, Ukraine, Thailand, China and New Zealand.
Ula is an expert in developing choral and classroom singing and has delivered singing strategies for Sandwell and Dudley Music Hubs. Ula sings with the renowned choir Ex Cathedra and is one of their lead education vocal tutors. She co-created Ex Cathedra Education’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning Singing Playgrounds project.
A trained choral conductor, Ula currently conducts CBSO SO Vocal (a 200-strong community choir run by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), the HSBC Choir in Birmingham and the Birmingham City Council Choir (as featured in the 2013 BBC2 programme ‘The Choir’, with Gareth Malone). She is the founder and Musical Director of Echo Doliny (The National Polish folk choir) and the National Teachers’ Choir. Most recently Ula has been appointed conductor of the CBSO Children’s Chorus.
As Head of Events for the National Choral Organisation, Sing for Pleasure (SfP), Ula organises conducting and singing courses across the UK and abroad. She regularly tutors on SfP conductor training courses and is Course Director for their annual Summer School.
“I have yet to see anyone mesmerise 250 children at a time more than Ula. From first meeting she has the children completely under her spell, inspiring confidence & belief that they can do something extraordinary together.” Edward Armitage, JAM Chairman.
Julia is a key part of the orchestra and makes sure everything is well organised in her role as Music Librarian. This involves the preparation and distribution of all music (there is reams and reams of it!) for the orchestra’s and show choir’s concerts and events. She also ensures everyone is up to date by managing orchestra communications. Community inclusion is an important part of the orchestra's values and Julia is a great role model for this by running a weekly 'Knit and Natter' group where all are welcome.
"Before coming to work for The People's Orchestra I had difficulty finding suitable employment. I suffer from the eye condition Keratoconus. and have vision problems that are difficult to correct. Working with the orchestra has helped me sustain regular employment, to begin with as a volunteer and now as a member of staff, doing something that I really enjoy".
Amy joined The People’s Orchestra as its first member in 2013, playing the French Horn. After aiding the orchestra throughout its development, Amy now handles the administration for the show choirs across the Midlands. In her spare time, Amy also works as a Steward in theatres across Birmingham and freelances in Art and Illustration. Amy’s spare time is filled with reading, gaming and learning new languages.
Since you're here...
… we have a small favour to ask. More people than ever are being helped back into work thanks to our players, and our outreach work is helping more and more people in our community, but this year has been the most difficult ever to raise the grant funding we need to keep going. Fears over Brexit hasn’t help and we really don’t want to increase ticket prices – we want to make our concerts open to all, including the most disadvantaged in our community. So, you can see why we need to ask for your help. The People’s Orchestra is a charity. We play great music but importantly we help loads of people back into work, 900+ to date. Our staff help students gain great marks for university projects too. We are not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. We’re volunteer led, inclusive and diverse. And this gives us the power to yes to all sorts of community causes. It lets us challenge the norm - and prove a point. Being different works. And at a time when music teaching in schools is declining and funding for school orchestras is at an all-time low, we need to expand to fill the gaps and support those who need us, it’s what sets us apart from so many others. The People’s Orchestra long-term sustainability relies on the support that we receive directly from our followers. And we would like to thank all those who are helping to make our future secure. But we cannot stop here. As more of you offer your ongoing support, we can keep investing in quality music and community support. We can remain a strong, progressive force that is open to all. If everyone who attends our concerts, or reads our news, who likes us, also helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support The People’s Orchestra – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.