Harrow Choral Society are welcoming a professional soprano and singing coach to lead their Singing for Starters training course and choir choir from September.

Julie Bale, who will take the reins in time for the new season, will lead the 20-year-old training choir, full of beginners and those ready to dust off their vocal chords.

Julie, hailing from Leeds, studied at Oxford Brookes, Goldsmith’s University and Royal College of Music studying aspects of music, performance and teaching training, and has performed with a number of prestigious groups across the UK. She lived in Harrow until 1996 but has since moved to Watford, where she currently resides.

I spoke to Julie to hear about her inspirations and what she has planned for Singing for Starters...

Who inspired you to become a singer and vocal coach?

I was inspired by my teachers at High School in Leeds, particularly Ken Silver and Bev Kelly, and t by the singers at Opera North who are based in Leeds where I grew up. My great inspiration as a soprano was Dame Josephine Barstow and I’m lucky enough to work with her now.

My teaching ambitions grew out of my work with Professor Janice Chapman.

What have been your career highlights?

I have enjoyed singing all over the UK with choirs as a soprano soloist in Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Mass in C Minor, Poulenc Gloria, and pretty much all the major choral repertoire.

Since I began working with Dame Jo I have sung heavier roles in opera and have enjoyed working with opera companies such as Dorset Opera. Recently I sang my first Wagner role and hope to do more of that repertoire in the near future.

What made you decide to start training vocalists?

I continue to perform both in opera and with choirs, such as the Strauss Four Last Songs in early September. I do spend a great deal of my time training singers though and along with my choir leading work it is a very enjoyable part of my career portfolio.

It is a wonderful thing to take a singer or a group of singers and helps them to discover the joys of making music and improve their skills. I find it incredibly rewarding.

I ran the initiative from 2007-2013 to give adult beginners the chance to learn some basics of vocal technique and work with top professionals. Its mission was very similar to Singing For Starters - it prepared them to sing in a choir or solo.

I moved away from it in 2013 when I began to work more in opera, then I was appointed resident vocal coach with The London Oriana Choir and choral director of The North Middlesex Federation Townswomens’ Guild Choir.

Why have you decided to work with the Harrow Choral Society?

Singing for Starters is very much aligned with my own personal mission for singers. I am very committed to giving access to as many people as possible to be able to share the joys of singing, with its added social and health benefits.

The difference here is instead of going head-first into a choir, a less confident singer can come and have a year’s tuition in a safe environment and be prepared slowly for the more tricky repertoire.

I will also be giving the singers input on how to produce the voice and how to understand the music and we’ll have great fun putting repertoire together and performing.

What’s ahead for the Singing for Starters with you at the helm?

My aim is to provide anyone who has the urge to join a choir the opportunity to learn and sing some fun repertoire, with a wide range of composers from Praetorius to Mozart to Dove, learn about how the voice works, learn a little bit about how to follow a score.

Singers will also have the opportunity to work with the main choir in some rehearsals and prepare for a voice audition.

Finally, what’s on your iPod?

My music is extremely eclectic. I’m learning Strauss Four Last Songs at the moment so that is a big player, but I have Aida, Bach St. John Passion, and then I am a huge fan of Elvis Presley and the new orchestral arrangements are great.

I’m learning Senzeni Na as I’m conducting it this summer and lots of Parry, Stanford and Howells.

Intermingled with Blondie, Queen and Bowie.

Julie will hold a free taster session on September 4 at 7.45pm.

Details: harrowchoral.org.uk