Mairearad Bushnell-Wye - CYO Conductor

Originally from Scotland, Mairearad studied music at the Royal College of Music in London. For several years she taught and performed professionally in London before moving to Cheshire with her husband. She is now in demand as a teacher and conductor, involved in a diverse range of teaching and music projects throughout Cheshire. She teaches clarinet, saxophone and piano at the Grange School in Hartford and conducts their Swing Band.

Mairearad is also the conductor of Vale Royal Schools Concert Band and Junior Band.

Passionate about music in education, conducting Cheshire Youth Orchestra has been of great pleasure to Mairearad, and has prompted her to undertake a conducting course at the RNCM in Manchester to further hone her conducting skills.

Catherine Singleton - CYTO Conductor

Catherine graduated from university with an honours degree in Music focusing on performance and composition with additional training in teaching strings and conducting. During her time since graduating, she has enjoyed a wide and varied career in music including performing in ‘pit’ orchestras for operatic performances, performing regularly in a quartet, teaching, composing and conducting.

Catherine has vast experience working with young people from the ages of 3 to 19 through working as the music specialist at a pre-school, a director of music in a youth theatre, a music teacher in key stage 3 and 4 in a special school and a teacher of strings in Cheshire West and Chester music services.

Within the youth theatre and class teaching, Catherine enjoys nurturing the skills and development of her students whilst guiding the children through the creative process of composing music. With her string teaching, Catherine shares her education and performance experience to encourage young people to become capable and enthusiastic young musicians.

Sylvia More - String Tutor

Our CYO String Tutor, Sylvia More studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she gained many awards, including the Violin Prize. On graduating, she began her orchestral career as a member of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, before moving to the Scottish National Orchestra.

Since moving to Cheshire with her family, Sylvia has worked regularly with all the major orchestras in the North West, including the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. She now combines her busy freelance career with teaching and coaching young players at all levels.

Alex Harper - Brass Tutor

CYO Brass Tutor Alex Harper comes from Worsley, Manchester and began playing the trumpet at the age of 8. After playing with the local youth orchestras and brass bands he soon realised that playing the trumpet was something that he wanted to pursue as a career. In 2000 he began studying the trumpet with Gareth Small (Halle) and was appointed principal trumpet with the Halle Youth Orchestra.

In 2002 Alex secured a place studying trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music with Rhys Ownes (RLPO) and John Miller. After graduating from the RNCM in the summer of 2006, Alex went on to take his PGCE, specialising in instrumental teaching. Since then Alex has taught brass for Cheshire County Council, Wigan Instrumental Teaching Provision, Salford Music Service and the Queens School Chester.

At present Alex teaches brass with Cheshire West and Chester, Love Music Trust and the Queens School. Away from teaching Alex is an active musician playing trumpet in a variety of different ensembles including brass bands, big bands, orchestras and brass ensembles.

Cate Madden was born in the Isle of Man and is very proud of her Manx heritage and the inspired music in schools and at home which led her to become a member of folk groups, choirs and orchestras, as well as numerous stage performances.

Having taken a degree in English and Drama at Chester University, she decided to pursue a career in teaching – despite numerous warnings from family members already involved in education! A PGCE in EYFS and Key Stage 1 at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth led to teaching posts in Cheshire and a recognition that although music mattered to schools, many teachers found delivering the music curriculum a challenge.

As a result, she was seconded to Cheshire West and Chester Music Service where she has worked for over five years. Within that time, she has supported practitioners still at University through to experienced Music Coordinators, delivered CPD and bespoke curriculum guidance, planned and delivered large scale music making and singing events for children in inspirational venues including the Bridgewater Hall and Chester Cathedral, in addition to supporting instrumental and vocal tutors in their work in school and at the various Music Centres where the ensembles rehearse. Having moved with the Music Service from the Local Authority into Edsential, a community interest company, Cate has been designated Safeguarding Lead for the Music Service as well as continuing her Advisory role. In order to ensure that the information and guidance she shares with colleagues continues to be current, Cate is undertaking an MEd at Manchester University. She is now supporting schools’ music in Halton and Warrington (Accent Hub), Sefton and Knowsley (Sky Hub) and of course within Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral (Musical Routes Hub).

Jim Donaldson - Brass Tutor