Officers

President - Dr Elizabeth Stratford

Dr Elizabeth Stratford was one of the first girl choristers in the country singing at St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds, under the direction of Joseph Cullen.

She went on to read Music at the University of Huddersfield and began learning the organ whilst acting Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church, New Mill, Huddersfield, singing in the university chamber choir and with St Peter's Singers in Leeds.

After graduating with honours she undertook a Master of Arts in Liturgy and Music at the University of Leeds, specializing in organ performance, choir training and composition. Her tutors included Dr Gordon Stewart, Dr Simon Lindley and Dr Philip Wilby. During this time she was awarded a number of scholarships including the Duchess of Leeds Assumption Fund Millennium Scholarship.

Elizabeth was appointed Organist and Director of Music at St Paul's Church, Shipley in February 2000 and held positions as singing tutor at a number of different centres of education whilst training at the Royal Northern 
College of Music with Henry Herford for a year following her MA studies.

At the age of 23, Elizabeth was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Arundel Cathedral, West Sussex. As such she was the first woman to hold this level of position in the UK and was the youngest Cathedral organist in Britain appointed to date. In addition to creating places for and recruiting 20 choristers to the Cathedral choir, between 2004 and 2006 she oversaw the rebuilding of the Cathedral's historic Hill organ by David Wells Organ Builders. Since then the choir have undertaken tours, recordings and television work which recently notably included BBC One's live Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 2014 and a significant contribution to BBC Children in Need where she assembled and trained 100 children from the local area to sing live during the 7 hour broadcast. Elizabeth pursues a busy teaching and solo career alongside her Cathedral commitments.

She holds awards from the ABRSM and the Guild of Church Musicians (amongst others) and is currently studying for a PhD in liturgy and music.

Senior Executive Officer - William M. Thomas

William M. Thomas was trained at the Northern School of Music, Manchester. He studied Piano, Singing and Trumpet as a boy and returned as a young man for singing lessons. For two years he was also in the Manchester Cathedral Cantata Choir.

He has held four posts as Organist and Choirmaster over 50 years. He has broadcast in this country and abroad and cut a LP while at All Saints Bury All Male Choir. Now retired, Bill is Assistant Organist at St Annes Parish Church.

Chairman - Dr Colin Porter

Dr Colin Porter has been organist of Mossley Hill Parish Church since 1985. He is a recitalist and Director of the Liverpool Festival Choir. He is a SnrFellow of the School and Hon Fellow Guild Musicians & Singers

General Secretary - Dr Paul Melville

Paul has been a Member of the NMSM since it was formed, transferring his Fellowship of the LSM to a FNMSM. Since he retired he became Secretary to the Management Committee and also edits and produces the Annual Handbook and Summer Magazines.

Bursar - Derek Matthews

Derek was senior administrator in university for 24 years before taking early severance in 2000 Since then has taken up organ tuning, renovation and playing.

Academic Registrar - Chris Pilsbury

Chris was educated at Chester Cathedral Choir School and The Royal Northern College of Music. He studied organ with Eric Chadwick and Roger Fisher and has held several organists’ posts in and around Chester.

Before returning to Chester he was Organist, Choirmaster and Director of Music at Pennthorpe School in West Sussex. During his time there the Chapel Choir sang at most cathedrals and choral establishments in the south including Canterbury, Ely, Winchester, Oxford, Salisbury, Portsmouth and Chichester Cathedrals and on several occasions, sang the weekend services at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and Truro Cathedral. He was a member of the music department at The Queen’s School, Chester and for over twenty five years an ‘A’ Level music examiner for EDEXEL.

For over a decade he assisted with the training of the Girls’ Choir at Chester Cathedral. Chris has been organist at Wrexham Parish Church, North Wales since St. David’s Day 2014. We hope many of you will get to know Chris and we welcome him as a member of the Management Committee.

Archivist - Dr Michael Pretty

Michael was born in Fakenham,Norfolk and moved to Attleborough, also in Norfolk at the age of 5.

He joined Attleborough church choir alongside his father at 7. His first school was St. Priscas, run by French nuns, and he then went to middle, secondary, Norwich city college and CCAT. After service in the RAF he joined a firm of solicitors in Norwich, and later joined a firm opposite the Law Courts in London, where he became a legal executive, having passed the ILEx exams.

In 1967 he spent 2 years as organist at Oban Episcopal Cathedral, and joined Rothmans in London when he came south, and was organist at Holy Trinity, Stroud Green. He had a keen interest in organs and how they worked, as a teenager, and it became a hobby from 1976 when he went to study in Leeds, and helped a friend dismantle several instruments, and repaired and tuned others. In the early 1980s he was awarded the contract to rebuild and enlarge the organ in Wimborne Methodist Church, which was recorded by Priory Records.

Michael retired from full time work in 2007, and has been organist at St. Mary's Parish Church, Hemsby since 2003.

General Officer - Roger Watkinson

Roger, a retired schoolmaster, is organist at Lord Street West United Church, Southport, a post held for over 35 years. He joined the School's Management Committee in 2017.

Website and IT Officer - Stephen Thackeray

A Systems Administrator and Website Developer, Stephen has been Organist and Choirmaster of St Ambrose Church, Leyland, for more than 17 years and sings regularly in concerts and cathedrals in the UK