Musical Director

John Palmer

John Palmer (affectionately known as JP) is the charismatic MD of Spinnaker Chorus. Under his musical direction the Chorus has gone from strength to strength since 2016 winning third and fifth place medals at the annual Sweet Adelines convention (UK and Europe), and bringing home trophies galore from the Bournemouth and Portsmouth music festivals. In October 2017 the Chorus recorded its first ever CD – In the Pink – which showcases the diversity of the repertoire that JP has developed, as well as the fabulous singing that epitomises Spinnaker Chorus. JP’s reputation as a leader in the barbershop world has enabled the Chorus to work with leading coaches, and to receive prestigious invitations, such as performing as mic-warmers at the 2017 European/LABBS championships.

John started his musical journey as a 5 year old OCD piano player. He played a bit of church organ, a lot of jazz, a fair bit of blues and accompanied dance lessons and examinations as well as playing in some ‘very pleasant’ pubs and clubs in his home county of Essex. He also taught guitar on residential courses for Essex Education Department…but was actually teaching himself at the same time as the students.

In 1993 he found Barbershop in the form of Saffron Sound Barbershop Harmony Club in Saffron Walden, Essex and was instantly hooked on a cappella. JP’s an honorary Life member of the Cambridge Chord Company where he was part of the ground breaking team that went on to four consecutive British Barbershop titles. He has also sang Baritone with the BABS Champion Quartets Cambridge Blues in 1997 and The Works in 2005. Since then he sang lead with The Serious Chord Squad taking their (unique?) brand of humour to the finals stage on two occasions. JP was very proud to be MD of the highly successful BABS Chorus The Royal Harmonics from 2008 to 2015, competing annually, never leaving the top 5 in the country and gaining a bronze and two silver medals along the way.

JP spent 20 years as a BABS music judge holding tenure as Category Director of Music for two terms as well as Chairman of the Guild of Judges. He also adjudicates Choral Festivals both at home and abroad and has served as performance coach on the Faculty of BABS Harmony College since 1998. Having run too many ‘learn to sing’ courses to remember, JP has gained a fairly wide experience in education. However, as every day is a school day, he also likes to gain further experience from as many other coaches as possible and has travelled to the US to Harmony University and Directors College.

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