Michael Greenhalgh

Michael GreenhalghMichael began his professional musical training at the Northern School of Music in Manchester and King's College Newcastle, where he also gained his professional teaching qualification. He then became Head of Music at Darwen Vale High School and acquired an enviable reputation in the local area for producing musicals and operas of the highest quality. After educational re-organisation in the Blackburn area Michael moved to Blackburn Tertiary College as Head of Music and later became Head of Performing Arts. Michael lived in Bolton for many years, but about ten years ago moved to live in Darwen.

Although Michael has now retired from teaching he is still remembered for the wide range of musical experiences in which the students took part. These included Pageant 2000, staged in Blackburn Cathedral to celebrate the new millennium which involved many local schools as well as the college students. He also revived a medieval work The Play of Daniel, which was performed to great acclaim and also produced Stainer's Crucifixion at Eastertide, again in the cathedral, culminating in the very moving re-enactment of Christ's Crucifixion in the cathedral grounds.

Michael has a wonderful rapport with young people and over the years has worked hard with many of them to help start and develop successful musical careers. One of his piano students, David Titterington, the president of Bolton Choral Union, is now Professor of Organ Studies at the Royal Academy in London.

Michael has been the musical director of Bolton Choral Union since 1972. In the autumn of that year he was acting as the choir's accompanist at the time of conductor Kenneth Long's death and he agreed to take on the daunting task of steering the choir through the imminent performance of Elijah. For the last 40 years, in his position as musical director, he has guided the choir through well over a hundred concerts including several performances of Handel's Messiah and Bach's B Minor Mass, two of his favourite works. Under his baton BCU have also performed Fanshawe's African Sanctus, in the presence of the composer, Berlioz' Te Deum, which involved the erection of scaffolding in Bolton Parish Church to hold all the augmented choir of around 200, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem, and over 200 other choral works.

Michael is always prepared to take on new musical challenges with the choir and has led them through a wide range of challenging works and concerts. He has a tremendous belief in the choir and is always convinced that everything will be 'all right on the night' and amazingly, under his inspiring direction, it usually is.

Michael is also involved with two other local choirs. Since his youth he has been a member of St Margaret's Church in Bolton and has been the musical director of their church choir for many years. Michael also works with the Ashleigh Singers, a small mixed choir from Darwen which performs several times each year in the local area, including an annual performance of carols in Sunnyside Woods near to Michael's current residence.

Michael has always been much in demand in the local area as an accompanist and he frequently undertook engagements with the well-known local mezzo-soprano and singing teacher, Margaret Lindsay. Their combined talents and enthusiasm led to the formation of Opera 74, an opera company which allows local singers the rare opportunity to experience the joy of singing and producing opera.

Michael is a very generous musician and is always prepared to share his experience with other local performers. He continues to be one of Bolton's most prominent musicians, always in demand as an accompanist at concerts and midday recitals and is highly respected by all who know him as a teacher and performer.

In 2004, Michael's great contribution to the musical life of the local area was recognised by the Rotary Club of Bolton when he was given their annual award as 'Man of the Year.'

Michael recently celebrated his 40th anniversary as conductor of BCU. In honour of this milestone he composed the full length choral piece for choir, brass and organ, Festal Mass. This had its world premiere on June 22nd 2013 in Bolton Parish Church.

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