Meet the admin team

The Really Big Chorus benefits from the expertise of a dedicated team of experienced and enthusiastic people – working mostly in their spare time – who share a passion for choral singing: we currently comprise one soprano, two altos, one tenor and one bass! For many years Don Monro (one of four scientists from Imperial College who thought up the idea) dealt single-handed with all aspects of the operation, later sharing the workload with his wife, Ann; together they ran TRBC from a small office in their home. Don’s death in May 2014 sadly prevented him from sharing in our 40th anniversary celebrations (click here to read an appreciation of Don Monro and his many achievements); his vision – to enable choral singers of any ability to perform great music at London’s Royal Albert Hall – lives on.

By 2003, with the mailing list growing ever longer, and extra events creeping into the calendar, Trevor Ford and Tony Hastings joined the team. Maintaining the ‘family business’ model, Trevor and Tony were subsequently joined by their own spouses, Marianne Barton and Annie Hastings.  With Ann Monro, these are now the five core people who run The Really Big Chorus and Concerts from Scratch. The ‘small home office’ still accurately describes our mode of working, but there are now more homes than there used to be! 

Ann Monro (director)
Ann, with her husband Don Monro (19422014), founded  The Really Big Chorus in 1974.  She taught in Canada before moving to the UK where she taught children with special needs and spent a good many years ‘bringing up the family’, leaving most of the administration of TRBC to Don (in his spare time, when not working as Professor of Information Systems at the University of Bath). She later took over the administration of the TRBC 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, with interests in photography, skiing and other outdoor pursuits.

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Trevor Ford (director, finance and company business)
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 (director, overseas events and Summer School)
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 moving to Bath 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. His experience makes him the ideal person to mastermind our overseas trips

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Marianne Barton (director and general administrator)
Another member of the team with a portfolio career, Marianne’s work encompasses the roles of concert manager, choir administrator, summer school organiser, journalist and editor. At one time the list would also have included professional pianist, but this was abandoned in 2005 when she was asked by Don Monro to take over the general administration of The Really Big Chorus. She has specific responsibility for events at the Royal Albert Hall as well as all the day-to-day running of the company. When not working, cooking or gardening, Marianne is singing — the sine qua non of existence as far as she is concerned.

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Annie Hastings (director, box office manager and member liaison)
Annie combines occasional work as an occupational therapist with 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 currently a trustee of her local hospice. For TRBC she is responsible for all ticketing issues and for correspondence with singing members; she also maintains our very complex database. Singing has always been an active part of her life, and she is currently a member of a small chamber choir in Bath called, appropriately, A Handful of Singers. 

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