Inner Voices was set up in 2011 as a collaboration between Ralph Allwood, ex-Director of Music at Eton College, and Ed Watkins, Director of Music at the West London Free School. The aim of the choir is to bring together great singers from a group of state schools in London with the best choral direction from the private sector to create a choir that tackles challenging music to a first class standard.
Since our launch in 2011 we have sung all across the city: in Trafalgar Square for St George’s Day, at the Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum, Park Lane Hilton, Greater London Assembly and on Radio 4 and Classic FM. Our commitment to ground-breaking performances across genres has seen us bringing 40 professional singers together with our singers to perform Spem In Alium in the round by the skate park in the Southbank as well as teaming up with Cardinal Vaughan School’s fantastic Big Band and Chamber Orchestra to perform excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and the gospel remake ‘A Soulful Celebration’ at the Union Chapel.
If you’re interested in getting your school involved with Inner Voices or would like more information about the choir please drop a line to Ed Watkins – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ralph was a pupil at Tiffin School and graduated from Durham University in 1972 with the Eve Myra Kysh prize for music, conducting the University Chamber Choir from 1970-1972. He was later a member of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge under Sir David Willcocks and then became Director of Music at Pangbourne College. While Director of Music at Uppingham he founded the annual Choral Courses for prospective choral scholars. There are now seven Eton Choral Courses attended each year by four hundred singers aged between 16 and 20, and 110 have now been held.
He is a judge for several competitions, including the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and is a regular visitor to several choirs, including the National Youth Choir of Wales.
Eton College Chapel Choir, which he directed until 2011, has toured 29 times and released eight recordings, most recently two with Signum. He also directs the Rodolfus Choir. The latter, a choir made up of the best singers from the last four or five years’ Eton Choral Courses, have recently released recordings of Howells, the Monteverdi Vespers and the Bach B minor Mass. Ralph received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours in 2012.
Ed Watkins runs the administrative side of Inner Voices, which he founded in 2011 while serving as Assistant Director of Music at Bishop Thomas Grant School, a comprehensive school in Streatham. Ed is currently the Director of Music at the West London Free School. WLFS is the first of the government’s new free schools and is a specialist music school where music teaching is rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
Outside school Ed is Assistant Director of Voce Chamber Choir, one of the capital’s best amateur choirs run by Suzi Digby OBE. He was Director of Music at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in the Sands End part of Fulham from 2005-2012.
At the end of 2011 he was asked to serve on the new monitoring board for the National Plan for Music Education and then on its successor, the Cultural Education Board. He has also been involved with the GCSE reform process as a subject expert for Ofqual and as the Lead Reviewer for the accreditation of the new GCSE specifications.
Inner Voices is a registered charity and we have six trustees: