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Musical Director

The choir is directed by Joanna Eames.

Joanna has been studying music since the age of 11 when she took up the flute and joined West Sussex County Girls Choir. She gained her degree in Primary Education Studies with Music at Reading University, studying the flute under Nick Cartledge and was both a member of the Reading University Singers and conductor of the Reading University Concert Band.  After graduating, Joanna worked as a primary school teacher in Crawley, leading successful school choirs and larger scale singing events.  She left teaching in 2013 to have a family, and now teaches music in schools with West Sussex Music.

Joanna joined Songbirds as a singer in 2005 and was soon asked to take on the role of Musical Director. During her time as MD, the choir has taken part in a number of exciting events including the BBC programme Last Choir Standing, choir ‘tours’ to the Isle of Wight and an exchange event with a French choir, Le Renouveau.

In 2013, Joanna conducted Songbirds and various other local choirs in a performance of Zimbe!, with the composer Alexander L’Estrange and his Call Me Al jazz quintet. A sell-out performance at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley; it was a very successful concert that featured in Crawley Music Festival 2013.  In 2015, Joanna again conducted a massed community choir and the Call Me Al quintet for a performance of Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose, and conducted Songbirds for their backing vocals at Russell Watson's touring show Up Close and Personal, also at The Hawth.

Joanna enjoys singing as much as she enjoys conducting. She performed as a soloist in various productions with Forest Amateur Musical Entertainers (F.A.M.E.) and sang in the national première of Ståle Kleiberg’s Requiem with Billingshurst Choral Society.  She also sang on the CD recording of Alexander L’Estrange’s Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose.