Musical Director, Jody James

Jody James, Musical Director, Viva Voce Singers.
Jody James

Jody James (née Butler) grew up in Norfolk and read Music at the University of East Anglia. She studied conducting with Peter Aston and Sharon Andrea Choa and was awarded the university’s Mozart Performance Scholarship in support of her singing studies. She graduated in 2003 with First Class Honours.

Jody is Director of Music at the Church of St Peter Mancroft in the heart of Norwich. Here she has developed a thriving music department, providing music of a high standard for worship and offering opportunities for children and adults to improve their musical skills. She has also established an admission free recital series which is a popular fixture in the musical life of the region.

In 2014 Jody was a finalist in the Norfolk Arts Awards EDP People’s Choice Award for Best Independent/Solo Artist. She also took up an invitation to adjudicate the annual singing festival at St Stephen’s Cathedral Nairobi, which is attended by singers from across Kenya and Uganda. She travelled to Budapest in 2017 to spend time studying Hungary’s highly respected Early Years Music Education.

In 2018 the Royal School of Church Music awarded Jody its Certificate of Special Service in recognition of her contribution to church music, stating that her ‘galvanising influence, flair and professional musical skills ... enrich the musical life of Norwich’.

Jody’s connection with Viva Voce Singers goes back many years. Having sung soprano with the choir as a teenager she was delighted to return in 2005 as Musical Director.

Interim Musical Director, Duncan Barlow (2018-19)

Duncan Barlow, Acting Musical Director, Viva Voce Singers.
Duncan Barlow

Duncan was born and educated in Gloucestershire. He studied Music and Hispanic Studies at Sheffield University and was Organ Scholar of the University and Cathedral. During the course of his undergraduate studies he spent a year living in northern Spain working as an English teacher. He later went on to study for a PGCE and Masters Degree at Cambridge University, writing a thesis on adolescent vocal development and choir training. He holds a Licentiateship Diploma in Piano Performance and an Associateship Diploma from the Royal College of Organists.

Duncan is currently Director of Music and Creative Arts at Norwich High School for Girls having formerly held the position of Head of Academic Music and Assistant Director of Music at Norwich School. In addition to a busy teaching and accompanying schedule, Duncan is also an experienced choral conductor. He was Musical Director of the Mid Norfolk Singers between 2012 and 2016, conducting a large range of works throughout Norfolk including Brahms’ German Requiem and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria at Norwich Cathedral and Haydn’s Creation at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich as well as several regional premieres. Duncan also directed the High Schools’ Choir Festival in 2016 and is regularly involved in educational programmes and events throughout the region.