Our Tutors

Maria - Public Singing for theTerrified, Solo Singing                  

Maria Caravanas. (Public Singing for the Terrified, Solo Singing) LRAM GBSM. First came to the Summer School as a student in 1978. She then went to the Birmingham Conservatoire acquiring her singing qualifications in teaching and performing. She has sung professionally with the Ambrosian Chorus and with Opera Holland Park. She has performed solo recitals throughout the country. She believes "Singing is for everyone."

Trad Jazz


 Keith Parkins.

Keith started learning saxophone and clarinet as a teenager at school. He is an accomplished saxophone, flute and tin whistle player and regularly plays a range of styles of music including Jazz, folk and ceilidh with several bands in Merseyside and Chester. He co-hosts a monthly all-comers open music session in Chester in which participants can gain experience of performance in a friendly atmosphere. He has attended the WMA Summer School for many years.


Julie - Jazz; Modern and Big Band

 Julie Collins. Julie is a saxophonist who has been playing in various big bands around the Merseyside region, on and off for the last 25 years. She achieved a Diploma (ABRSM) in Saxophone performance in 2012 and since then has been studying jazz with pianist and MU Northern Regional  officer, Barry Dalman and more recently with Saxophonist Dave Gilbertson. Although Big bands are her main interest she also plays with the North Cheshire Wind Orchestra and Liverpool Hope University Concert Band , playing alto and baritone saxophone respectively. Julie is a long standing member of the radical Liverpool band, the Peacemakers and with them has campaigned and raised funds for many grass roots causes over the last twenty odd years. As a day job she lectures in Science Education at Liverpool Hope University and is an active member of UCU


Marion - Folk

Marion Harper (Folk)  M.A folklore and Cultural Tradition. Singer. Started folk life by listening to LPs of The Ian Campbell Folk Group and Peter, Paul & Mary. I then joined the Grey Cock Folk Club, Birmingham. One of the founder members of the Grey Cock was Charles Parker, BBC radio producer, who with Ewan McColl (singer, songwriter, writer and actor - and WMA member) and Peggy Seeger (singer/songwriter), created the Radio Ballads, a series of award-winning musical documentaries broadcast by the BBC in the 1960s. The work of Parker was a major influence on the members of the Grey Cock and it was as a direct result of this that my interest in folk song, particularly songs of social comment or political songs, came about.


 In 2003/4, having been made redundant from my job, I took the opportunity to go to Sheffield University where I took an MA in Folklore and Cultural Tradition. My thesis for this was 'Poliical Song: Its role, Impact and the Motivations of those who Perform It', and I was fortunate enough to be able to use many of my connections in the folk world for my research -  particularly those performers renowned for their 'Political Songs' or songs of 'social comment'.

Today I not only sing and play folk music, but have got involved in choral singing.


Tamsin - Accompanist

Tamsin Holding. Formerly a music student at Durham University; she composes and plays piano, flute, and cello. She is an 'old hand' in the WMA School. At the school she has won much praise as an accomplished accompanist.

Neill - Chamber Music, Concert Orchestra, String Orchestra

Neill Jackson. Neill is, like Beethoven and Mendelsohn, a viola player. He also plays violin and performs with several orchestras, including Chester Philharmonic, Crosby Symphony, Metropolitan Orchestra and St John's Festival Orchestra, as well as chamber music ensembles. He also plays with the Rochford Ensemble in Hay-on-Wye and London's All Souls Orchestra.

 He sings tenor with the Liverpool Welsh Choral and has sung with the English Haydn Festival Chorus. He conducts the Liverpool String Orchestra and Wirral String Days as well as organising and  conducting the Wirral String Orchestra and Wirral Orchestra. He enjoys walking, cycling and gardening and in his spare time teaches.




Rob has played trombone, baritone horn, and tuba in brass bands concert bands and orchestras for over 20 years. He holds a Cert HE in Music at Birmingham University and has written original compositions for brass groups and choirs and arrangements for bands. He is currently the conductor of the Walsall Brass Band, plays trombone with the Walsall and Harbourne Symphony Orchestras, trombone with the Walsall Senior Citizens' Orchestra and tuba with the Birmingham Concert Band, Moseley Village Band and the Bournville Concert Brass Quintet.


David - Composition, Sight Singing

David Martin  Mus.B; BA; ATCL; Dip.Teach –   David is a composer, teacher, organist, singer and writer on music. In the last capacity he has been heard several times on Radios 3 and 4, and has had articles published in "Early Music" and the "Musical Times". But composing is his main activity, and his music is heard regularly in public concerts.



Jane - Opera, Summer School Chorus

Jane Scott_ -  BA (Music) UCW Aberystwyth, PGCE London University School of Education. Has taught all aspects of music to students of all ages and is widely experienced in directing both choral and staged performances. Conducts Birmingham Clarion Singers, one of the UK's longest-established socialist choirs.

Sheila - formerly Chamber Music, Wind Ensemble

Sheila Searchfield - LRAM, LLCM (TD)  Flute Teacher and Tutor of Wind Ensembles and Flute choirs for many years with a special interest in chamber music of all kinds. Formerly a freelance performer with wind bands and orchestras, also with "The Ladies Bijou Orchestra " and with a  Flute and Guitar Duo. Sheila has enjoyed being a Tutor at the WMA Summer School and now she has recently started a Woodwind Group for U3A  in SE London. She is  now learning the Cello as a retirement project- which is exercising both brain and co-ordination.

Sheila has decided to retire as a tutor this year but we're grateful that she plans to continue attending the School as a "student".

We thank her for  the wonderful work she has done for the School over the past ten years as a tutor and we know students will be looking forward to benefitting from her expertise and experience in an informal context.

Helen: Woodwind Ensemble (and Chamber Music with Neill Jackson)

Helen is a musician, lecturer, music administrator and researcher into arts, health and wellbeing. An oboist and member of Orchestre dell'Arte, Wirral Symphony Orchestra and the Liverpool Bach Collective, she recently performed concerti by Vivaldi and Marcello with Liverpool String Orchestra and Wirral Orchestra, both conducted by fellow WMA Summer School tutor Neill Jackson.

In 2018 Helen attended the Practical conducting Course at Sherborne Summer School and received tuition from Rudolfo Saglimbeni and John Longstaff. She was appointed as conductor of the Chester Sinfonia in September 2018 and she continues her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music Conducting Course for Music Educators.

Helen has a PhD in music. She is Artistic Coordinator and Public Engagement Officer in the School of the Arts at the University of Liverpool where she runs the Lunchtime Concerts and a Public Lecture  Series and looks after the partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.