Composer, Musical Director, Vocal Arranger, Singer, Workshop Leader, Pianist
Since the year 2000 Angela has initiated and led Voices Singing Workshops in Tufnell Park and Holloway, London N7, with the aim of enjoying singing in a group and finding health and well-being along the way. She welcomes anyone who wants to sing, regardless of ability and through the fun of learning songs from a wide variety of traditions, enables people to discover their voices and to sing unaccompanied in harmony.
Angela conducted Yerbury Community Choir in Tufnell Park, London N7 for six years, and in 2017 was invited to conduct the Garden Museum Choir, an ad hoc choir open to all, which was formed to help celebrate the opening of the refurbished Garden Museum in Lambeth, London. She set up and leads the Nag’s Head Choir, an all-age choir based in Holloway, London N7.
With Joanna Foster and previously with Katie Rose, Angela leads Whittington Cats, a ‘sing for your lungs’ group at Whittington Hospital, for people with a lung diagnosis.
Angela has led singing workshops and choirs in many other venues and situations throughout the UK.
The Early Years
Angela started learning the piano at the age of eight at the Royal Rhodesian Academy of Music and in her teenage years in England in the 1960s taught herself the guitar and performed Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel songs in a folk duo with her sister, mainly in Eastbourne and along the South Coast. During this time she also won awards in the piano classes at the annual Eastbourne Music Festival.
While reading Music and English at Birmingham University she founded and conducted the orchestra at St John’s Church, Harborne, and played guitar in Dave Peacock’s Christian Arts Project cabaret band.
As a student, Angela composed incidental music for Breadrock Street Theatre (which later became Riding Lights Theatre Company) working with playwright, Murray Watts.
After a short spell as a teacher, Angela became a Video Producer with SU’s Sound and Vision Unit (1979-1983) and there she composed title and incidental music for many children’s productions, and directed amongst others Roy Castle and Paul Jones (of Manfred Mann and The Blues Band).
In the late 1980s she collaborated with writer Meryl Doney in two musicals for children – Ears and the Secret Song and A Lion for the King, which were performed in London schools and featured on Radio 5. A Lion for the King was revived for a performance in Blythburgh, Suffolk in December 2017.
In 1992-4 she composed the title and incidental music for two series of Channel 4 Schools’ Television programmes produced by Grampian Television. She also wrote and directed both series of programmes.
Angela composed extensively for liturgical use in the two London churches where she was music director – Emmanuel Church, Holloway and St George’s Church & Centre, Tufnell Park. While at St George’s she composed for and music directed nine community musicals.
Angela founded and produced Music for Life Festival also at St George’s – a festival of musical difference, which brought together local professional and amateur musicians from all cultures, styles, ages and backgrounds for weekends of magical music.
Angela is a founder member of vocal harmony trio, Anam Cara, together with singer-songwriter, Judith Silver and composer/singer/music therapist, Maggie Newlands.
They met at the Guildhall Jazz Summer School in 1997 and started singing together in Scott Stroman’s Eclectic Voices workshop under the guidance of West End Music Director, Nick Finlow, (of Chicago, Rent, Mamma Mia and Jersey Boys).
Maggie, Angela and Judith formed Anam Cara early in 2000 because they loved singing the wide variety of harmony songs they were learning in the workshop. They performed their own material as well as arranging and singing songs from different traditions. Tony Woods, award-winning jazz saxophonist, collaborated with them on occasions.
In 2010 Maggie Newlands moved to France and subsequently to Scotland to pursue her own music so Anam Cara no longer performs live, but the songs continue to stream online, and our vocal arrangements are available.
Angela played the piano in the house band at Cecil Sharp House (English Folk Dance & Song Society) along with fiddler Ian Cutts, providing live music for English Country Dancing (2013-16). She sings with The Bant Band (folk quartet), Libra Chamber Choir, St Luke’s Choir and provides piano and guitar accompaniment for singers and instrumentalists.
Anam Cara’s first album, Live at St George’s was produced in 2001.
‘The album impressively reflects the trio’s ability to touch the soul with atmospheric harmonies and dynamic solo singing’ (Keith Ames, Musician Union magazine)
Anam Cara’s second album, Seize The Moment was released in 2009.
‘I loved the selection of music, the arrangements and performances thereof. Congratulations indeed.’ (Justin Butcher, Theatre Director/Writer/MD)
“Maggie Newlands, Angela Reith and Judith Silver used their considerable skills to record – totally live, over two days – this most enjoyable 15-track set. Kicking off with their trademark harmonising, a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready sets a high standard and is swiftly followed by the a capella thrills of the Yiddish folksong, Tumba, and the light-hearted joys of Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive, The addition of rhythmic keys on the set’s closer, Perfect Time, acts as an ideal climax. Inspirational.” (Keith Ames, Musician’s Union magazine)
These two albums are available on CD direct from Angela or www.cdbaby.com or as digital download from iTunes, Amazon and many other digital outlets.
Angela’s own ‘showcase’ album Sometimes the Sun (1997) has received consistently good reviews and is still streaming online. Available on CD direct from Angela or www.crossrhythms.co.uk or as digital download from iTunes, Amazon and many other digital outlets.
Her CD Improvisations was released in 2012. This is an album of solo piano improvisations intended to aid meditation and reflection. Available on CD direct from Angela or www.cdbaby.com or as digital download from iTunes, Amazon and many other digital outlets.
Angela is an HCPC-registered Music Therapist (Postgraduate Diploma from Guildhall School of Music and Drama/City University, 2006), and has a certificate in Counselling Skills and Attitudes from Westminster Pastoral Foundation.
Get in touch!
Angela welcomes invitations to compose, or to run singing workshops and musical events in all kinds of contexts. Ring or email to discuss your ideas – she’s happy to help you think them through. She is also happy to work as a piano accompanist for singers and instrumentalists, offering a variety of musical styles.
020 7609 8153 / 07939 133453