Royal Choral Society Chairman and Board of Trustees

Peter Dart – Chairman

Peter Dart is a global marketing professional with 45 years’ marketing experience, having worked on many of the world’s most recognisable brands. Since 2001 Peter has been a Director in WPP, where he manages various clients. He was previously Chairman of Added Value Group Marketing Consultancy, a company he founded in 1988 and which was bought by WPP. From 1978 – 1988 Peter worked for Unilever, where he was Marketing Director in Asia and Europe.

Peter read Physics at Hertford College, Oxford, where he was also the Organ Scholar. He is a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music and Associate of Trinity College of Music. He is a member of the Council of the Royal College of Music, a Trustee of the Voces8 Foundation and the Director of Music of St Mary’s Parish Church in Wargrave. Beyond his musical interests and professional life, Peter participates in many charitable, educational and not-for-profit institutions – for instance, he helped develop Invictus Games and Heads Together and invented the MenStar Coalition for the Elton John Aids Foundation. He has also been a Trustee of The Prince’s Foundation and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
 

Richard Reeves – General Manager

A Chartered Accountant by profession and now retired from a career in the manufacturing industry, Richard joined the Royal Choral Society in 1983 as a singing member, and took on financial responsibilities for the choir in 2005. He acted as the Interim Chairman of the Society on the untimely death of the then Chairman, Anthony Forbes, and on the appointment of Peter Dart as Chairman, he moved into the role of General Manager and relinquished his financial responsibilities.

Richard is a very active member of the Methodist Church, holding several offices. He is also a keen gardener, skier (still) and, as an owner of three golden retrievers, an active dog walker.
 

Sebastian Strudley – Finance Director

Seb is Royal Choral Society Finance Director and a Trustee. He works as a transaction diligence specialist, focussed on advising global clients in the technology, media and telecommunication sectors. He trained as a chartered accountant with a big four accounting firm.

Seb has been singing with the Royal Choral Society since 2016, and music has been a key part of his life as far as he can remember. As a boy chorister he was selected to perform in Glyndebourne’s children chorus for three seasons including performances of La Bohème, Carmen and Othello. He subsequently won a music scholarship to Worth Abbey, and sang with Imperial College London Choir whilst at university.

When not singing, Seb can sometimes be found up in the skies over the south of England or France, as he has his own private pilot licence. He also enjoys travelling, walking, swimming, playing squash and volunteering for a well-known first aid charity.
 

Alison Cattermole – Company Secretary

Alison is passionate about singing and has a Masters degree in Choral Studies. She has sung first soprano in the Royal Choral Society since 2006 and is now Company Secretary of the choir, and was a lay clerk at Croydon Minster for several years. She is a founder member and trustee of the North Downs Community Orchestra in which she plays the oboe (badly). Her greatest achievement was passing Grade 8 piano, when aged 52.

Alison studied chemical engineering at university and spent the first half of her career in the oil industry. Over the last 20 years she has worked with a small consulting business developing all its back-office functions.  She recently trained to be a non-religious funeral celebrant and finds the work rewarding and more cheerful than you might think.

She has two musical sons and a grandson, and enjoys baking, sewing, running, ballet and theatre trips, and spending time with the family.

Kate Bevington

Kate is a retired education adviser. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as an actor and speech and drama teacher, but a career in secondary education took her in a different direction!

Kate has sung with the Royal Choral Society for over 35 years and has also sung with UEA chamber choir and London Choral Society. She comes from a musical family (her forebears were organ builders Bevington and Sons of Soho) and one of her six siblings plays violin professionally in the world of popular music.

Kate now lives in Norfolk with her ex-musician husband and is chair of her village parish council. She spends a considerable amount of time walking her young dog, gardening and supporting Arsenal Football Club.

 

Norman Digance MBE FRSA

Norman has sung in choirs since the age of seven and choral music has been in his blood ever since. He has been a member of the Royal Choral Society for 45 years (bass) and in 2015 he was invited to serve as a Director/Trustee.  
 
For the first part of his working life Norman was a Civil Servant engaged in the development and implementation of Government policy and legislation and working with Ministers to that end.  Around mid-career he began to carve out a particular role in financial services regulation,  spending much time (and patience) negotiating EU legislation. This eventually lead to my departure from the Civil Service and into what was to become the Financial Services Authority where he was at first heavily involved in developing the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
 
Norman has been married to Mary for 50 years, and they have three children and nine grandchildren. They live in Winchester with the cathedral as their place of worship. Mary has been one of the choir’s most ardent supporters along with their children as the years progressed.  It is a delight that their grandchildren are now following in their footsteps.
 
Nothing can be taken for granted but then nothing can take the power and love of music away from us. The Royal Choral Society has to work hard to stay at the top of its game and some 200 members enjoy the experience in helping the choir to do so.  Long may that continue.
 

 

Sarah Mansfield

Sarah Mansfield lives in Blackheath and has extensive media, communications and digital marketing experience across a number of industry sectors and advertising agencies.

Sarah has held media roles at Unilever since June 2012. She is now responsible for the European and NAMETRUB Media Function, Ecommerce and Global Media Operations. She supports local markets in building best-in-class advertising  plans, leveraging media partnerships and developing operational capabilities. Prior to this Sarah held various roles at Barclays Bank PLC, where she launched new propositions such as contactless payments and mobile payments to the UK.

Sarah graduated in the UK with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies and Marketing. In her spare time she immerses herself in music, playing the violin and piano. An enthusiastic amateur, Sarah takes weekly violin lessons and plays in the Blackheath Halls Orchestra and annual Opera under the batons of Christopher Stark and Nicholas Jenkins. Previously Sarah has also sung with the JAGs Choral Society.

 

Kathryn Porter

Kathryn Porter has a background in finance and now runs an independent energy consultancy, advising businesses and governments on all aspects of gas and electricity markets. She writes and speaks regularly on energy issues including the challenges of meeting net zero commitments. In addition to her trustee role with the Royal Choral Society, Kathryn is a trustee of the Kids’ Cookery School, a small charity dedicated to teaching children how to cook – something schools struggle with due to a lack of teaching kitchens – and about nutrition.

Kathryn has had a lifelong interest in singing, joining her first choir at the age of 8. She currently sings with both the Royal Choral Society and the St Paul’s Cathedral Chorus. She has played the clarinet since the age of 11, achieving her Grade 8 and Performance Certificate by the time she left school, and enjoys playing duets with her younger son. She took up the oboe when her elder son started learning to play the instrument, and is engaging in friendly rivalry around music exams!

Kathryn holds a Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Exeter and an MBA from London Business School, and is involved in mentoring students from both institutions. She is a Chartered Fellow of both the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments and the Chartered Management Institute.