Repaying the Gift
Roy Jenkins guest this week is one of Wales’ busiest and most versatile of musicians. Jeffrey Howard is a classically trained organist, a pianist, conductor, orchestrator and arranger, formerly a vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Welsh National Opera. He’s Director of Music at St Johns College in Cardiff and the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David. And among many other commitments, he also directs the Treorchy Male Voice Choir. In constant demand as an accompanist, he’s worked with Bryn Terfel, Kiri te Kanawa, Shirley Bassey and lots of other familiar names, He’s performed many times in the Royal Albert Hall and in concert halls and cathedrals around Europe; and many of his arrangements appeared on an Only Men Aloud album which won a Classical Brit Award. This year he became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. He and his wife Rachel, a professional harpist, have three children, and they’ve both been involved for decades with Cambrensis, the Christian choir which expands twice yearly to become the St. David’s Praise Choir. He joined as a boy soprano, spent many years as accompanist and is now musical director. Set against the backdrop of a rehearsal for The Promise of Christmas with the St. David’s Praise Choir, Jeff talks about his early musical roots, the pressures of living as a freelancer and his passion for giving glory to God through the gift of music.