About the Association
The Association Council
The current Council comprises:
Dane Chalfin, Richard Edgar-Wilson (Treasurer), Ruth Epstein, Nick Gibbins, Louise Gibbs, Craig Lees, Geraldine McElearney, Nimesh Patel (President), John Rubin (President-elect), Sarah Wright-Owens.
Company Secretary: Kristine Carroll-Porczynski
Professor Dane Chalfin
Dane is a commercial vocal coach and voice rehabilitation specialist. His clients range from charting and developing artists to West End and touring shows. He is Associate Professor of Vocal Coaching and Rehabilitation at Leeds College of Music. He is also Vocal Rehabilitation Specialist (Performing Voice) at University Hospital South Manchester. His special interest areas include primal sound, high-intensity singing, endoscopic interpretation of laryngopharyngeal gestures in singing, and psychogenic voice disorders. He has presented his research at international conferences and teacher/therapist training events around the UK. Dane also runs private training courses for singing teachers and SLTs working with singers. For details see www.danechalfin.com
For over 30 years I have been a tenor soloist in classical music. I have made more than 100 recordings and appeared in over 35 countries at venues such as La Scala, ENO, La Monnaie, the Wigmore Hall, the Palais Garnier and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. As both a singer and voice teacher I recognise the importance of the multi-disciplinary approach of the British Voice Association in ensuring good physical and emotional vocal health. In my teaching practice I integrate a physiological understanding to inform my work with singers at varying stages of development. Current students include professional soloists, conservatoire students, school-aged children as well as singers at King's College, Cambridge and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. I have lectured on research techniques at the University of London (Birkbeck College) and have written book chapters, reviews and reports for among others, the journals of both AOTOS and the BVA.
Ruth Epstein PhD, MRCSLT
Ruth is Head of Speech-Language Therapy Services and Consultant Speech-Language Therapist (ENT) at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, London. She holds various honorary fellowships and senior lecturer positions at UCL and other academic institutions in the United Kingdom , as well as creating and running a successful MSc course in Voice Pathology since 2003 at University College London. Dr Epstein is a past President of the British Voice Association and an elected member of CoMeT, Collegium Medicorum Theatri, the international association of laryngologists, voice scientists and speech pathologists. She is on the Board of the World Voice Consortium. Dr Epstein has published extensively on various aspects of voice and voice therapy; her special interests are professional voice users, occupational dysphonia and neurolaryngology.
Mr Nicholas Gibbins
Nicholas is an ENT Consultant, with a special interest in Voice Disorders. He graduated from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in 1998. He completed his specialist training and was appointed Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon at University Hospital Lewisham (UHL) in 2012. He runs the multidisciplinary Voice Disorders Unit at UHL and has a specialist interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Voice Disorders and in management of the professional voice. He has published articles and written text-book chapters regarding the management of voice disorders. He is involved in teaching, training and examining both under- and postgraduate medics. He believes that we need to teach our juniors better than we were trained otherwise we will not improve. His passions include the evolution of the larynx and ensuring that professional voice users know how to manage their voice and what to do when it goes wrong.
Louise Gibbs LTCL, MA, MEd, FHEA
Louise Gibbs is a jazz singer, composer and educator, and graduate of Columbia University, New York. She has taught and given workshops on jazz performance, improvisation and voice at every major conservatoire and many universities in the UK. She currently teaches singing for the Universities of Leeds, Hull, Chester and Sheffield, and is a specialist examiner for the RNCM and RAM. She previously held course-leading roles at Leeds College of Music (Postgraduate and Jazz Programmes) and Goldsmiths, University of London (Adult and Professional: Music), GSMD, and RCM. She has active research interests in voice, pedagogy, improvisation and musical aesthetics. Louise continues to compose, perform and has recorded five acclaimed albums, the most recent being Seven Deadly Sings for voice and septet (2014). Her past Board membership includes Warden (Education) for the ISM, Jazz Services, Jazz Yorkshire, and Jazz North. Louise is a keen gardener, allotment-holder and sourdough bread baker.
Craig Lees BA(hons), MA(dist)
Craig is a contemporary vocal coach, choir director and arranger. He is a senior lecturer on the Popular Music degree at Leeds College of Music and founded the LCoM Contemporary Pop Choir in 2014. Craig also holds the post of 'Musician in Residence' for the West Yorkshire Playhouse program for young people where he directs the "Living Vocally" choir and facilitates several other community based projects. He has delivered projects for leading voice technology manufacturer TC-Helicon, 'Mind The Gap' theatre company (England's largest learning disability theatre house) and many other independent organisations. In 2016, Craig assisted on a collaborative music project with the internationally-acclaimed artist, Marc Almond. He is a regular contributor to "Voice Council Magazine” and was recently awarded the "Sing For Pleasure" Young Conductor’s Scholarship. He has presented at international conferences and delivered choral workshops throughout the UK.
Geraldine McElearney MA
After a 20-plus year career elsewhere, returning to the world of voice in 2013 to work as a singing teacher was a huge, unexpected delight. I'd reluctantly abandoned singing after college (GSMD), where my voice had become beset with problems. Now I'm building a new career working with singers of all ages privately, and as a school peripatetic. The years following (post-) graduation were spent in theatre front-of-house, arts publishing and advertising, marketing communications, and design, including 10 years in central government. I gained an MA in Design & Brand Strategy, researching alliances between commercial and arts organisations. The British Voice Association has been invaluable in helping me retrain, and enabled much personal insight, with its holistic, multi-disciplinary ethos. I'm especially interested in the 'whole' singer, and the support/interventions available to student singers when things go off-track. I am committed to ongoing learning and CPD as both teacher and performer.
Nimesh Patel MBChB, MSc (Voice), FRCS (ORL-HNS)
Nimesh has been a Consultant ENT Surgeon at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust since 2004. During this time he has led the development of the Voice Clinic and Laryngology service into a comprehensive multi-disciplinary service that serves a large regional population. He is currently Lead ENT Undergraduate tutor, an academic supervisor for higher degrees, Lead Trust Clinician for Head and Neck Cancer, Chairman of the Head and Neck Cancer Network, Lead Clinician for Surgery at Lymington Hospital, Director of two limited companies, chief fundraiser of a charity and a council member of the Royal Society of Medicine Laryngology Section.
John S. Rubin MD, FACS, FRCS
John is a Consultant ENT Surgeon and Lead Clinician for Voice Disorders at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London. He is an Honorary Consultant ENT Surgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Ear Institute (UCL). He is a member of a number of professional societies, assistant editor of a couple of peer reviewed journals, serves on numerous committees and professional bodies, lectures quite widely and is involved in research and teaching. He has published extensively in the medical literature, including articles in medical journals, chapters in textbooks, as well as being the editor of several books. He is a founding member of the European Academy of Voice. He has served as President of the BVA and also Treasurer. His interests include poetry, sculpting, looking at art and listening to music.
Sarah Wright-Owens GBSM, BSc (hons), SLT
Sarah performed professionally for many years in opera and music theatre. She sang for the BBC, with Opera Factory, D’oyly Carte, Birmingham Opera Company, Travelling Opera and English Touring Opera. She re-trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and then worked as an SLT for the Warwickshire PCT for a while before taking up the role of Clinical Vocal Consultant in the Professional Voice Users in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Sarah has regularly taught singing in schools and colleges and recently was course leader on a contemporary music degree which she is currently up-dating with the latest vocal pedagogy and voice science. Sarah still performs when she can; she teaches professional and amateur singers in many vocal styles, rehabilitates singers with vocal problems, mentors singing teachers and vocal groups and runs a Breathe Easy singing group for COPD sufferers in the West Midlands.