Catherine Freda – Head of Education

Catherine studied English (and a bit of German) at the University of Warwick, but despite this was typically to be found in the music department, singing, playing violin, and doing lots of organising. This led into a life in arts management, beginning in a London music agency and moving through a formative stint at Radio 3 before landing some 20 years ago at St George’s Bristol. Starting as Administrator when the permanent team numbered just four, Catherine’s role has shifted and expanded through the years along with the organisation itself, and since 2002 this has included heading up the education department, plotting and running projects and concerts to expand the reach of St George’s. In her early years in Bristol, Catherine also took time out to work for the National Youth Orchestra of GB as a member of their House Staff team. Catherine also programmes our lunchtime series and works with our CEO on evening promotions, as well as wearing the HR Rep hat for the organisation. Away from office, Catherine can often be seen performing with chamber choir Bath Camerata.

Doreen Pastor – Community Learning & Volunteer Coordinator

Doreen grew up in Germany and studied International Tourism Management at Harz University. As part of her studies, she spent a year as an exchange student in Bath where she discovered her love for heritage. Doreen returned to the UK after completing her studies in Germany and commenced working as Visitor Services Officer for Bristol City Council at Ashton Court Estate. Alongside her work, she completed an MA in Heritage Management at the Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham. In 2012, Doreen moved to Wales to work for the National Trust in Carmarthenshire as Visitor Services Manager before returning to the West Country where she worked for the RSPB in Somerset as Visitor Experience Manager. Doreen is passionate about engaging local communities with their heritage and has run guided tours at Arnos Vale Cemetery which led to her becoming a Trustee at Highgate Cemetery in London. Outside her work with St George’s, Doreen studies part-time for a PhD at the University of Bristol researching the impact of ‘challenging’ exhibitions (concentration camp memorials in Germany) on the visitor.

Laura Tanner – Education Manager, Presenter and Music Leader

Laura studied horn at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music. Throughout her training she always had a keen interest in Music Education and Outreach work, which has continued into her professional life. Now based in Bristol, Laura combines freelance performing commitments and horn teaching, with a part time role as Education Manager at St George’s and regular work delivering education projects to a diverse range of clients, from schools and colleges to prisons and hospitals. Since Autumn 2011 Laura has presented ‘Mini Beats’ at St George’s, a series of Children’s and Family Concerts introducing young children to the instruments of the orchestra, featuring her musical colleagues from the Bristol Ensemble. Outside of music, Laura has a keen interest in people, the way they think and interact, and has a certificate in counselling skills from the University of the West of England.

Michael Loader – Storyteller in Residence

Michael began ‘life’ as a primary school teacher, before training in physical theatre, which led to community theatre and theatre in education. After an intense period of ‘playing the Fool’ with spontaneous theatre making company the ‘Festival of Fools’ and dipping more than his toe into Shakespeare, he took up the challenge of working with adults in a variety of settings from community courses and staff training to personal development and the corporate world. Storytelling began at a time when he returned to working with children around 2001, and indulging in the hoard of stories that the world has to offer has partly made up for only looking at the pictures in books when he was a boy!

Mark Lawrence – Cosmos Choir Director

Mark originally studied Music with German at Bristol University, and combines work as a freelance composer, lecturer and music director. He is director of CoMA Bristol, the Big Friendly Community Choir, Cosmos Children’s Choir (with Laurie Stewart), and founder-director of Music Box Children’s Opera Group. As a composer, Mark’s pieces have included Windows over Water for the Bath International Music Festival, music for BBC radio and theatre and the community operas Coming Home and Cosmos for St George’s Bristol. Mark has recently completed a PhD at City University, London on the choral music of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis. He is a part-time tutor at the Junior Conservatoire, Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, and an Associate Teacher at Bristol University.

Caitlin Alais Callahan – Cosmos Choir Coordinator, Workshop Leader

Caitlin studied Music and Composition at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. She is the coordinator and conductor of Cosmos Choir, and works alongside Mark Lawrence to deliver an exciting programme of music to select primary schools in Knowle West. Her music education work also extends to Crash Bang Workshops, which she helped to found alongside fellow music educator Joshua Bishop in 2015. She is an accomplished performer on both Piano and Double Bass, having performed in diverse musical ensembles, from salsa bands to contemporary music orchestras, around several countries in Europe and Asia.

Liz Muir – Cosmos Choir Assistant

Liz studied music and composition at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to Bristol to do a Masters in Film Music Composition. She is heavily involved in the Bristol music scene, playing cello in several bands that frequently gig around the city, as well as being part of a few classical and contemporary ensembles. She recently branched out into the choral music as well, joining the Cosmos team in 2016.

Joshua Bishop – Workshop Leader

Originally an Essex boy, Joshua moved to Bristol to study Classical music at university. He began to teach piano and went on to play for shows and choirs. As a composer, he has written music for films which he has performed internationally. He now works for the Jackdaws Music Education Trust, volunteers at the Longwell Green Eisteddfod and maintains his busy teaching practice. Josh’s passion for sharing music has led to his latest series of workshops “Crash Bang Workshops”, with Caitlin Alais Callahan at St George’s Bristol. In each session we delve into new music from around the world, using the rhythms we learn to play together and explore different elements of music theory.

Sophie Higgs – Dance Tutor

After studying ISTD dance for many years Sophie then went on to complete a B-TEC in dance followed by full time training at Rubicon in Cardiff where she expanded her knowledge and improved her technique.  She is currently part of an African contemporary dance group that performs and runs workshops at various events across the south west.  Sophie teaches street dance classes for children with an emphasis on creating a fun and relaxed environment where children can be creative, develop musicality and improve their confidence through movement.