MEET THE TEAM
FOUNDER & DIRECTOR: KAT BROOKS
If you’ve had any interaction with the choir, you’ll have come across Kat. Founder and leader of the choirs, she is hugely passionate about music – performing, teaching, working with others, singing with choirs, everything.
"I started my Choir career whilst at the University of Exeter studying Drama – when I joined the Uni Soul Choir in 2008 and absolutely fell in love with soul & gospel singing in a big group! The following year me and a friend took the reigns of running the choir and it’s all grown since then!
I absolutely love singing in groups – both the full belt style of gospel and soul, as well as getting people involved in community choirs who didn’t think they could – or were told at school that they couldn’t sing and haven’t since! Yes you can!
I also love approaching music in my own style – who wants to sound like the record? I write all the arrangements myself to suit our singers and our styles – often with a bit of a twist!
Having been based in Exeter until 2015, I’ve been involved in many different music projects, and if you feel like it you can read about them here:
The Magic Flute, The Bikeshed Theatre – Musical Director (I re-wrote the opera in a 20s swing style!) Nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award (National Theatre) 2012
The Bikeshed Theatre – Musical Collaborator. I contributed to various productions through collaborations with cast members to create new songs for shows, as well as create whole soundtracks for new writing, including “Bunnies” and “Playing with Snails”.
Sister Act – I had the absolute honour of playing Deloris/Sister Mary Clarence in the EMS production of “Sister Act” in the Northcott Theatre – and it was amazing! Soul, Gospel, Sequins, Nuns, thigh-high purple boots. Absolutely loved it!
Razzamataz Theatre School – Principal. I ran the children’s theatre school for three years, which covered singing, dance and drama lessons for children aged 6 – 18. We covered commercial styles like street-dance as well as more traditional musical theatre styles of performance, and enjoyed putting on performances over the years including whole school musicals and performing in the West End in Her Majesty’s Theatre!
Music on the Move, Slovenia – Musical Director. I was very excited to be back to Slovenia again last year to be part of a fantastic project by Zavod Apis, who bring a group of young people from across Europe together through music.
In 2015 I made the move to the beautiful city of Edinburgh, where I started to build choirs up from scratch and am very proud of everything we’ve achieved so far! From concerts in St Giles Cathedral with the community choirs, to the Soul & Gospel choir singing in Usher Hall with RSNO for Colours Classical, and hosting our own concerts in Queen’s Hall – onwards and upwards!"
This summer Kat has been performing in the Edinburgh International Festival with Shona The Musical - a fresh musical from the heart of Africa. She looks forwards to working with them on their jouney forwards. (https://shonathemusical.com) You can also catch her gigging around the city in many guises - with soul/funk bands The Fresh Squeeze, Funkwild, Buckwild R&B duo, as a solo soul performer, and as the bassist in As Above.
ACCOMPANIST / SECOND IN COMMAND: ADAM MUIR
Adam Muir is an Edinburgh based musician, teacher, performer, & general rogue multi-instrumentalist, and he has been with the Phoenix Soul & Gospel choir since its inception in 2015. He speaks entirely in the third person.
At a young age he learned the piano, hated it, kicked, screamed, dropped it, then decided to re-teach himself so he could impress people by playing Queen songs at house parties. By the end of School, after adding guitar to his arsenal, he was ready to go forth into the world and make noises.
And make noises he did. Having a melange of inspirations, he has been in a steady stream of choirs, jazz ensembles, rock bands and other creative projects. In 2014 he decided to make teaching guitar his primary occupation and has been a full time musician ever since.
He plays guitar (well), piano (competently), saxophone (technically), & sitar (sounds good?).
Since meeting Kat Brooks in late 2015 he has been with the Phoenix Choir steadfast through their rise to glory. From their first show with 20 members in Stockbridge Parish Church, to the Queen’s Hall in July 2019, Adam has been bashing keys, shepherding basses & tenors and occasionally taking a hand in arranging.
5 years later after finally writing his website Bio, he looks forward to his countinued tenure as Admiral Phoenix as the choir continues on to bigger and better things.