LSACS Has Been Making Music In Lytham St Annes Since 1907


As you can see from the names and faces on this page, some very famous singers have sung with our Society in the early days of their careers. We hope that some of our young soloists today will also go on to establish successful singing careers for themselves.

Kathleen Ferrier was undoubtedly our most famous member. She joined us in 1935 and, in later years, often returned to sing as a soloist with the choir before exploding onto the world stage as perhaps the most famous contralto of all time.

Isobel Baillie sang Messiah with the Lytham Vocal Society in Dec 1938 and 1939.

Heddle Nash sang with the Lytham St Annes Choral Society in Spring 1948 in a miscellaneous programme of choral music, tenor and piano solos.

Owen Brannigan sang with Lytham St Annes Choral Society in 1944 (Messiah), 1956 (Creation) and 1958 (The Bartered Bride).

Robert Tear sang with Lytham St Annes Choral Society in 1965 (Creation).

Janet Baker appeared with the Lytham St Annes Choral Society in 1959 in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. After this performance the Evening Gazette said “The other soloists included the young contralto, Janet Baker, a singer of unusual sweetness and promise…”

Nicola Howard - Society President From 2016

Lytham based soprano, Nicola Howard, was appointed as our President in April 2016. She took this position in succession to her tutor and friend, the late Barbara Robotham who died in 2013.

The formal presentation of a silver brooch in the form of a treble clef was made by Eric Waite, widower of the former President, at the choir’s 2016 Spring Concert at Kirkham Grammar School.

Born in Lytham, Nicola comes from a very musical family. At 18 she won a scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied under Marjory Thomas and Mark Wildman graduating with First-Class Honours.

Nicola went on to perform principal roles in many opera houses at home and overseas whilst also enjoying a long and varied career performing Oratorio in venues throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. Nicola also won the prestigious The Royal Overseas League International Singing Competition.

Nicola is a popular soloist with the choir having performed with it on more occasions than any other soloist since its formation in 1907.

Helen Harrison - Musical Director

A warm, natural and communicative presence on the podium British conductor Helen Harrison inspires exciting and compelling performances from the artists she collaborates with from orchestras, opera companies and choirs.

Helen is the Music Director and Conductor for the Young Sinfonia, the Royal Northern Sinfonia’s Youth Orchestra at the Sage Gateshead, the award winning Blackpool Symphony Orchestra and Preston Opera.  She is a participant on the 2022/23 Royal Philharmonic Society's prestigious programme for women conductors in partnership with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. 

Guest conducting engagements include ‘In Harmony NE Side by Side with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sinfonia Viva, Northern Opera Group, Leeds Conservatoire Chamber Orchestra, Outreach Opera and Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra.

Helen read Music at Cambridge University and studied Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music.  She is coached and mentored by Jessica Cottis.   

In 2021 Helen was selected to participate in the masterclasses run by the Royal Opera House conducting artists from the Royal Opera House and the City of London Sinfonia.  She was invited by the Royal Philharmonic Society to work with the Royal Northern Sinfonia as one of four emerging conductors in a project to advance gender equality on the podium.  James Murphy, CEO of the Royal Philharmonic Society commented, "We invite artist managers and colleagues who hire conductors to follow those participating."

Selected for the inaugural Women Conductors Course in September 2018 run by the Royal Opera House, the Royal Philharmonic Society and the National Opera Studio Helen has subsequently taken part in a range of courses run by the Royal Opera House working with Sian Edwards, Alice Farnham and Jessica Cottis.  She has also conducted in International Masterclasses held at the RNCM.

A passionate believer in the power of classical music to change lives, Helen is a board member for Orchestras Live, and chairs the Finance Committee.  Orchestras Live believe orchestras are for everyone and that live orchestral music has the power to inspire people for a lifetime.  Working across England, Orchestras Live connect communities with world class orchestral experiences delivered by renowned professional orchestras.

​Helen brings a wealth of leadership, strategic and financial management expertise from her experience working in senior management roles as a qualified accountant in the corporate sector prior to pursuing her vocation as a conductor.  She also brings insight from the not for profit sector most recently as Chair of Lancashire Mind working to support positive mental health and wellbeing across Lancashire.

Helen has established a reputation as an engaging communicator.  She is a skilled presenter and compere of concerts.  Off the concert platform, she is an experienced panellist both as a host and a guest for live and online events; most recently she appeared on a panel for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Women’s Euros 2022 cultural events.  Helen is a regular podcast contributor to the Operacast podcast covering the latest opera news, reviews and discussion from the world of opera.
August 2022

Anne Shepherd - Deputy Director

Anne Shepherd was educated at Arnold Girls School Blackpool before going to college in London. She studied piano with Edith Kaye-Perry and it was whilst accompanying the school choir under Phyllis Dunkerley that her interest in choirs was kindled. During her time in London she sang with the Philharmonic Choir, and took a sabbatical to study at the Orff Institute in Salzburg. Since she returned to the Fylde in 1991 she has been a member of the Lytham St Annes Choral Society.

Anne became Deputy Conductor in 1994. She is an active member of the committee and enhances the life of the choir with various extra curricular activities. She regularly organises and conducts rehearsals for the choir members who wish to sing in the summer months. During recent seasons she has led members of the choir at the Christmas party at St Annes Masonic Lodge and she organised a highly successful Gospel workshop in Lancaster run by Scott Stroman for Making Music (the National Federation of Music Societies).

Anne makes numerous other contributions to the musical scene. She was chair of the NW Regional Committee of Making Music (NFMS). In this capacity she organised a performance of African Sanctus at Chester Cathedral and a choral workshop in Lancaster in 2007 to commemorate the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill 1807.

Anne is Vice-Chairman of the Blackpool Festival for Music, Dance and Speech and conducts the May Copeland Choir and the Wedgwood Ladies Choir in Blackpool.   Anne is also Vice-Chairman of the Blackpool Festival for Music, Dance and Speech and conducts both the May Copeland and the Wedgwood Ladies Choirs in Blackpool. Anne also organised our Centenary Exhibition in 2007 which was held at The Heritage Centre in Lytham and ran a recent workshop for String players for Making Music at Parbold (2009).