Nicola has always had a passion for music and began learning her first instrument at the age of 8. At 16, she became a member of the Cheshire Youth Choir with whom she has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, competed in the Choir Olympics in Austria and taken part in performances in Disneyland, Paris and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nicola trained under the direction of Dr. Shirley Court, conductor of the Hallé Children’s Chorus and the highly acclaimed ladies choir, ‘The Chanterelles’, whom Nicola sang with for a number of years. The Chanterelles were winners of the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 2010. Nicola spent a number of years as a chaperone for ‘The CBSO Children’s Chorus’ based in Birmingham and the ‘Hallé Children’s Chorus’ based in Manchester. In June 2013, Nicola passed her Diploma in singing from the London College of Music with Distinction.
After completing her A Levels at Sir John Deanes college in Cheshire, Nicola graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a BA Honours in Music Theatre in 2008. After finishing university, she spent her time working as a Vocal Animateur both independently and for Cheshire and Sefton music services. In 2009, Nicola established the ‘Winsford Education Partnership Staff Choir (now known as ‘Anyone Aloud’), based in Cheshire, who in March 2015 won their category at the Wirral Music Festival and in May 2016 came runners up in ’The Last Choir Standing’ competition at Crewe Lyceum. In January 2014, she established the Winsford Education Partnership Junior Choir, also based in Cheshire and in September 2015, Nicola took over the role of Musical Director for ‘The Bostock Singers’ based in Hartford, who in May 2016, won ‘The Last Choir Standing’ competition, held at The Crewe Lyceum Theatre. In March 2018, The Bostock Singers competed in The Newcastle Under Lyme Festival for Music, Speech and Drama and were awarded a second place in their category. In November 2019, The Bostock Singers competed in The North Wales Choral Festival and were again awarded second place.
At present, alongside her work as an animateur and musical director, Nicola is the Lead Teacher of Music and Modern Foreign Languages at Oaklands School, Winsford; a school that caters for young people with Special Educational Needs. She directs both their school choirs; full choir and a gifted and talented chamber choir. In November 2015, the Chamber Choir competed in the Leicester Festival of Music where they were awarded first place in both their mainstream classes. In March 2016, they competed in the Kettering Eisteddfod where they were awarded first place in two mainstream classes and they received the trophy for the best overall choir of the festival. In April 2016, they took first place in their class at the Bangor International Choral Festival in Northern Ireland and were awarded the best international choir of the competition. In March 2017 the Chamber Choir competed in three mainstream classes, again at the Kettering Eistedfodd; coming second in one class and winning the other two; beating two mainstream adult choirs to the top spot! They were also awarded the trophy for the adjudicators favourite song of the festival. In April 2017, they travelled over to Northern Ireland once again, to compete in the Bangor International Choral Festival; winning their class for a third year in a row. They were also again awarded the trophy for the best international choir of the festival.
In February 2017, Nicola was on the adjudicating panel for ‘The Last Choir Standing’ Competition at Crewe Lyceum. In April of the same year, Nicola was awarded a Winsford Town Mayor’s Oscar for ‘Performer of the Year’ for her work with choirs and young people in Winsford. In May 2017, Nicola attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition for her work in engaging communities and young people through singing”.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Nicola has led her adult choirs through a series of online rehearsals, fundraising videos and a selection of new repertoire. Consequently, both Anyone Aloud and The Bostock Singers have raised to date, over £3,000 for various charities and have raised the profile of the importance and benefits of singing through lockdown.
For more information about Nicola, please visit her website at: www.nicolahowbrigg.co.uk