Meet the team

Don Monro

Don Monro (1942–2014)

Formally a professional engineer, born in Canada but living in the UK since 1966, Don followed 25 years in various roles at Imperial College, London with 14 years as Professor of Information Systems at the University of Bath. Concurrent with all this he was running The Really Big Chorus and continuing to perform as an amateur clarinettist. During his time as Principal Scientific Adviser to Smart Sensors Ltd, he described his work thus: ‘My current project is to create a world-beating human iris-recognition system after which I will return to my first passions, wavelets and data compression.’ Don had wide interests in other fields, including opera, photography (you can see his photos of past TRBC events by clicking here), orienteering, skiing, scuba diving and bell-ringing, and for many years he also managed a quintessentially English bluebell wood in Wiltshire.  We were saddened by Don’s death in 2014 – our fortieth anniversary year – and you can read a full obituary for him by clicking this link.

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Ann Monro

Ann Monro

Ann taught in Canada before accompanying Don to the UK where she taught children with special needs and spent a good many years ‘bringing up the family’, allowing Don to devote his spare time to The Really Big Chorus. When this was no longer the first priority she took over the administration of the Concerts from Scratch box office, handling the complicated business of allocating tickets and ticket-holders to the correct seats in the Royal Albert Hall, and dealing tactfully with voluminous correspondence with member singers. Ann is a committed member of her local choral society and shares Don’s interests in photography and the outdoors (many of the photos on this website are attributable to her).

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Trevor Ford

Trevor Ford

Trevor’s career has taken some unexpected turns over the years. An initial training in accountancy gave way to an overriding urge to be a professional flautist, and for 30 years Trevor successfully combined the two professions, adding choir-training (an early obsession), orchestral management, lecturing and writing to an ever-widening portfolio of activities. Now much in demand as an adviser within the music business, he has served on the boards of the Association of British Orchestras, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the Royal School of Church Music, the Royal College of Organists and the London Youth Choir. He still acts as a buffer between musicians and HMRC, he is a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and he has been known to get deeply involved in the study of Chinese porcelain.

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Tony Hastings

Tony Hastings

A keen amateur singer since his early years, Tony has been involved with choral music all his life, as a performer, publisher, retailer and tour organiser. Whilst living in London, he sang with some of Britain’s finest choirs, including the Holst Singers, Corydon Singers and English Bach Festival Chorus. Since his move to Bath 15 years ago, he has sung professionally with the choir of Bath Abbey, and is a regular member of the South West’s premier chamber choir Bath Camerata. He once ran a music shop for singers called – predictably – The Singers’ Shop, and now works as a consultant to Specialised Travel Ltd, organising concert tours and large-scale choral projects all over the world.

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Marianne Barton

Marianne Barton

Another member of the team with a ‘portfolio career’, Marianne’s work encompasses the roles of orchestral and concert manager, choir administrator, summer school organiser, journalist and editor. At one time the list would also have included ‘professional pianist’ (hence her occasional forays to the piano at TRBC events), but this was abandoned in 2005 when she was asked by Don Monro to take over the day-to-day administration of Concerts from Scratch and The Really Big Chorus. When not working or cooking, Marianne is singing — the sine qua non of existence as far as she is concerned.

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Annie Hastings

Annie Hastings

Annie’s main work as an occupational therapist now sits comfortably alongside her role as box office manager for The Really Big Chorus. Along the way she has been advertising manager for two music magazines, Church Music Quarterly and The Musical Times, and a trainer on many aspects of disability. She is also a trustee of her local hospice. Singing has always been an active part of her life, and she currently runs a very small chamber choir in Bath called, appropriately, A Handful of Singers.

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Jo Forrest

Jo Forrest

Jo Forrest has been bringing her friends from Leatherhead Choral Society to the Summer Singday since 2005 when she picked up a leaflet at the Leith Hill Musical Festival (where Brian Kay was conductor 1996–2016). A few years later she asked Don Monro if he would mind if she set up a Facebook group for singers and supporters and this led to her present appointment as PR officer to The Really Big Chorus. Volunteering for LHMF has led her to other professional PR engagements and she now balances part-time freelance work, as much singing as her family will let her get away with, being domestic project manager, and Type 1 diabetes.

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