Staff

Andy Rogers – Principal

Andy Rogers is a versatile music leader with more than 20 years’ experience working with children, young people and community groups in Buckinghamshire.  As a conductor, Andy has led ensembles to award-winning performances at the National Festival of Music for Youth and the National Concert Band Festival.  He has written more than 150 works for orchestras, bands and choirs and graced the concert programmes of the London Symphony Orchestra, RAF Central Band and Firebird Ensemble as well as numerous local ensembles.   His suite for solo instruments ‘Switch on to Jazz’ can still be found in the dustier corners of a few remote music shops around the world.  Away from music, Andy’s perfect day would be geocaching with his wife and two children before coming off the bench to score a last-minute winner for Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup Final.

Sally Stafford – Vice Principal

Sally has been inspiring young people to make music in High Wycombe for almost 30 years.  After graduating from Royal Holloway College University of London and the London Institute of Education, she became Head of Music at Burnham Grammar School. As Advisory Music Teacher for Buckinghamshire she wrote “Sound Activities”, a book designed to encourage and facilitate non specialists in Primary classrooms. In 1990 Sally became Director of Music at Dame Alice Owen’s School, Hertfordshire, conducting the school’s Symphony Orchestra in the finals for the National Festival of Music for Youth. Returning to Burnham Grammar School, Sally became Assistant Head of Mathematics in 2004. She was appointed Lead Primary Maths teacher at Wycombe High School in 2006, working on outreach to enrich mathematics in Primary Schools, and then became an Assistant Headteacher for Bledlow Ridge Primary School in 2011. Sally is very much enjoying her role as Vice Principal at the Chiltern Music Academy, conducting the Symphony and Junior Orchestras.

Jean Ashford – piano/theory

Jean is an experienced and popular local teacher. She teaches piano in schools and at home, to all ages and at all levels. She also plays oboe and recently started the cello. She has been helping guide young people through Grade 5 theory for twenty years. Just say, “Oh, I get it!” and you will make her day!

Sue Beach – woodwind

Sue graduated from the Royal Academy of Music GRSM (Hons) and LRAM,  having studied Bassoon, Clarinet and Piano.  Qualifying as a teacher at the Institute of Education she has taught secondary music in Berkshire schools for 32 years and just recently taken early retirement from full time teaching.  At Cox Green School, Sue coached and arranged music for a variety of choirs and ensembles as well as directing many Musical Productions.  Happily she has now become an experienced  saxophonist too – had to do something at all those Jazz Orchestra gigs!

Jackey Birch – recorders

Jackey Birch is a freelance recorder teacher with pupils from beginner to diploma level. She also leads recorder ensembles and plays at costumed educational heritage and Shakespeare events using a variety of medieval and renaissance woodwind instruments. Apparently, she is retired!

Richard Bolton – guitars

Richard is one of a handful of outstanding cello players in the roots/world music arena who has also gained world-class recognition for his talent as a rock and blues guitarist. He has been described as 
‘One of the unsung heroes of the London jazz scene with the added bonus that, in a yellow spotlight, he’s the spitting image of Homer Simpson!’ In his role as 2nd in command at RGS Music Department Mr B. is described as nothing less than a legend!

Guy Button – low brass

Guy is an experienced and well respected brass teacher and ensemble leader. His engaging personal style and ability to draw out the best in all students means that he is ideally suited to tutoring and directing beginners and advanced players alike.

Sheila Cornall – piano/composition

In 2011 Sheila was named Classic FM Secondary School Music Teacher of the Year in recognition of her amazing dedication to offering every possible musical opportunity to the girls she taught at Wycombe High School. “Never a dull moment” is a good description of life with the multi–talented Mrs C.!

Paul Craggs – percussion
John Davie – clarinet

John trained at the Royal Air Force School of Music and served as a clarinettist in the Central Band of the RAF and as an Instructor in the RAF School of Music. He was a founder member of the High Wycombe Music Centre and, during his thirty years’ service, was involved in setting up five wind bands, four of which are ‘still alive and kicking’. In recognition of “his distinctive contribution to the local community over many years and his work in the development of youth music locally” John was awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree by Buckinghamshire New University in 2004. After thirty years of continuous service as a Music Leader within the church, the Salvation Army awarded him a ‘Certificate of Service’ in 2014.

Simon Davie – trumpet/jazz

Simon studied trumpet at Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Crispian Steele-Perkins, one of our patrons. In the past he co-conducted the High Wycombe Music Centre Concert Band in a winning performance in the National Festival of Music for Youth at the Royal Festival Hall, as well as setting up the South Bucks Jazz Orchestra. Simon works at Cox Green School and Wycombe High School and has led many international music tours.

Alison Downie – clarinet/saxophone

Alison studied Clarinet at the RNCM with Sidney Fell working under conductors and players such as Philip Jones Neville Mariner and Sir Charles Groves. She continues to perform as a soloist and orchestral player. Under her direction her groups have been successful in achieving ‘outstanding ‘ awards at the NFMY and have been invited to perform in the School’s Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. She loves directing and conducting ensembles to a high standard, a passion which is closely rivalled by her love of dogs and shoes!

Bob Evans – horn/brass

Born in South Wales, Bob is passionate about music and rugby. He studied at New College, Oxford University gaining MA and M Phil degrees whilst studying both modern and natural horn with Anthony Halstead and gaining his ARCM diploma in Horn performance. He has played with, amongst others, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle orchestra, in the West End and with all of the period instrument orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Concert, London Classical Players, Hanover Band, English Baroque Soloists and the English Concert. He teaches at (amongst others) Eton College, Dragon School and the Centre for Young Musicians in London.

Jeremy Foster – oboe

Jeremy has played with some of this country’s most renowned orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and in Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic and the RTE Symphony and Concert Orchestras. He has taught the Oboe, as well as Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute, in Buckinghamshire for 15 years. Jeremy plays in several chamber ensembles, and much experience in tutoring young people in this field. He has a legendary sense of humour!

Julie Gossage – vocal

Julie is an incredibly versatile opera singer who also works as a vocal coach teaching professional singers, school students and enthusiastic amateurs, runs workshops, lectures and directs choirs and musicals. Together with her husband, Richard Halton, Julie co-produced the amazing RGS productions of Les Miserables and Carousel.

Richard Halton – vocal

Richard is another incredibly versatile opera singer who has sung many leading roles with major operatic companies as well as taking the title role in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London. He brings a wealth of experience as an educator, singing teacher and musical director to CMA.

Matt Hansen – acoustic/electric guitar
Martin Hellewell – horn/brass

Martin had a successful career with the Royal Air Force Music Services as a French Horn player and also gained his LRSM in conducting. In recent years he has pursued a further career as a peripatetic brass teacher and if you fancy a little more action during lessons he is also qualified to teach you to drive! Over the coming months, Martin will be developing CMA’s opportunities for adults in his new role as Adult Services Director.

Alex King – recorder

Alex is a firm believer in the importance of recorder ensemble playing for the development of serious chamber music skills and musicianship. She tutors and develops recorder ensembles at local primary and secondary schools on a voluntary basis, enabling young musicians of all backgrounds to explore ensemble playing. Having said that, her approach is anything but serious, and the CMA recorder ensemble has been described as “mega-fun!”

Kate Laughton – violin

Kate is a string specialist. Passionate about developing a love and enjoyment of music at all ages, she founded and directed a KS1 music initiative and her infectious enthusiasm for leading youth music projects has inspired many young people to get stuck in to music

Jonathan Lewin – percussion

Jonathan Lewin is a freelance percussionist and teacher. He’s always lived in the Chilterns, but revels in the world-wide range of music that percussion encompasses. Jonathan has hit things more-or-less musically in symphony orchestras, wind bands, rock and funk groups, theatre pits, samba bands, Afro-Cuban drumming groups and more. He shares his enthusiasm and knowledge with students and colleagues alike. Jonathan arranges music for percussion ensemble and publishes his own tutor books, as well as conducting percussion groups of all sorts.

Caroline Maguire, Double Bass
Natasha Marsh – vocal

Natasha Marsh trained as an opera singer and has sung in many critically acclaimed performances across Europe. Her first album ‘Amour’ (EMI) topped the classical charts. She sings with major orchestras including the LSO, Royal Philharmonic and the Halle and with artists such as Jose Carreras, Russell Watson, Il Divo, and Paul Potts. Natasha is passionate about helping children find their voice and her vocal coaching work includes the National Youth Music Theatre, Oxford School of Drama and BBC Songs of Praise. She has 3 little boys who keep her very busy!

Anne-Marie Munoz – flute/piano

Anne-Marie is an enthusiastic and experienced music teacher who has been teaching in Secondary schools both in the UK and abroad for 16 years. She loves working with young people and has enjoyed directing them in a variety of ensembles including wind bands, choirs, samba bands and orchestras. Some of her most exciting experiences in schools include creating Singing festivals, band nights, arts festivals, and conducting the musicals Seussical, Chicago and Bugsy Malone. When she is not involved in music she loves spending time with her family and dancing.

Tamara O’Brien- musicianship

Tamara is an experienced teacher of the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education, previously having taught 3-10yr olds at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia. She now teaches in five local nurseries and lectures internationally about this wonderfully practical and physical way of starting children off on their musical journey. You don’t know what fun music can be until you have experienced one of Tamara’s classes!

Margot Rusmanis – violin

One of the most sought after string teachers in Buckinghamshire, Margot certainly gets results. She likes to open the lid and let the musician out, and her passion for folk violin broadens her appeal and brings a real sense of fun to her teaching.“Margot has progressed my playing further than I ever thought possible. I’m really pleased she’ll be at CMA, she’s great fun and inspirational to work with.”- Will Rose, student.

Simon Salisbury – flute

Since retiring as Head of Buckinghamshire Music Service in December 2013, Simon has redevoted himself to his first love – playing and teaching the flute. He is excited by the prospect of developing woodwind playing at the Chiltern Music Academy, and many young flautists will benefit from his experience.

Paul Speed – trumpet

Paul is a freelance trumpet player, teacher and conductor. Paul teaches at RGS and Wellington College as well as conducting Trinity Concert Band in Reading. Paul also enjoy’s running though unlike his name, not particularly fast.

Amy Swain – violin/viola
Paul Sweet – Guitar
Helen Turnbull – oboe

Helen is a vibrant and enthusiastic musician with a flair for teaching who needs to know when to say “No”!. Her youthful demeanour which exhausts everyone who works with her belies her years of experience from playing with professional orchestras to directing youth ensembles, with equal passion. She is dynamic and fun and ridiculously silly, children and young adults respond to her enthusiastic approach with incredulity and the music they produce is outstanding. One day all oboists will be made this way.

Kate Venvell – vocal

An experienced primary music specialist, Kate is well-known locally for her dynamic and enthusiastic leadership of children’s choirs in High Wycombe, appearing several times with them in the National Festival.

Tim Venvell – vocal/composition

Tim has been Director of Music at RGS High Wycombe since 1994. He directs all the large- scale instrumental and choral ensembles, regularly appearing with them at the National Festival. His passion for choral singing has led him to set up and direct a number of choirs, and he has until recently been conductor of the High Wycombe Music Centre Youth Choir. His RGS close harmony choir “Singers Limited” has been voted Youth Choir of the year and is representing the UK in a European competition in Munich. Good luck boys!

Alex Walker – double bass

Alex studied bass at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then conducting with the legendary Ilya Musin at St. Petersburg Conservatory. He is now active as a conductor working all over the world. In the UK he has conducted the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and the Royal Ballet. He has also been Music Director for productions at the Finnish and Norwegian National Operas and is a regular guest conductor with orchestras throughout Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Denmark, Finland, Romania, the Balkans, Turkey and elsewhere. He regularly records for Naxos.

Ellie Walton- violin/viola
Mary Walton- cello

Mary is an experienced, qualified Suzuki teacher who particularly enjoys leading cello groups and string ensembles. Her cellos include 1/16 sizes for her 3-year old pupils, viola da gambas, 18th century baroque and 5-string cellos for more advanced players, and her ‘modern’ cello (made in 1690!), so she could be described as rather keen on the cello!

Sarah Whibley- bassoon
Steve Whibley- percussion