Festival Committee

Joanne Barrow – Vice-Chairman and Honorary Secretary

Joanne’s first connection with the Festival was in 1978 when she participated with Hazeldene School’s music group. Latterly she has been involved as a parent encouraging her two children who have entered varying classes over the last few years. Joanne’s background is in administration and she joined the Committee in 2004 as Entries Secretary. She now holds the positions of Vice-Chairman and Honorary Secretary; her duties include Publicity and Safeguarding matters. Joanne works part-time for the Stroke Association and is involved with other local charities.

Email Joanne

William Burton – Assistant Chief Steward

Bill is the newest member of the committee and will be supporting Carol with the organisation of the stewards. He came to Bedford in 1977 after university where he was an active member of the drama society both as a performer and committee chairman. He has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Bill is not a musician but his daughters have performed in the festival numerous times over the years in both musical and dramatic roles. He has also been involved with the festival as a corporate sponsor having spent most of his working life as a director of an electronics manufacturing company in Bedford.

Email Bill

Carol Catlow – Chief Steward

Carol moved to Bedfordshire with her family in 1984 and taught Home Economics and Textiles at Redborne Upper School. In 1986 she moved to Dame Alice Harpur School to teach Textiles, becoming Head of Lower School in 1992 and Deputy Head in 2001. After retiring in 2007, Carol became involved in the Festival as a steward. She joined the committee in 2010 as Chief Steward. A variety of duties is necessary in each venue to ensure to the smooth running of Festival week; Carol’s role involves liaising with a group of dedicated stewards, all volunteers, to cover these duties. Being able to see a variety of performances whilst checking that all is well in the venues is an added bonus. Retirement also brought time for Carol to learn to play the piano, giving her an even greater appreciation of the work that goes into all the performances.

Email Carol

Jean Duivenvoorden – Trophies Secretary

Although born in Yorkshire and educated in the North, Jean has lived in Bedfordshire since her marriage in 1971. She spent over thirty years teaching in the county, becoming Head of English initially at Clarendon School and latterly at Rushmoor. Upon retirement, she was able to steward for the Festival before joining the Committee in 2011 as Trophies’ Secretary. Her role involves liaising with Festival winners to facilitate the return of all trophies in January. She then becomes responsible for organising the maintenance, polishing and secure storage of these valuable items, some of which were first presented in the 1920’s. During Festival Week, she ensures that stewards are supplied with the cups, medals and associated information needed for all classes in each of the three daily sessions held in the three venues. She feels privileged to be part of such an enthusiastic and committed team, helping to provide a platform for talented performers in the county and beyond.

Email Jean

Tim Grant-Jones – Official Accompanist

Tim has had links to the Bedfordshire Music Festival since 1979, as accompanist, teacher and parent. He joined the Committee around 10 years ago and his responsibility includes entry checking, organising piano hire and tuning, syllabus setting and development, programming arranging and proof reading, rota for official accompanists', and advising on musical matters. He accompanies many of the choir, vocal, string and wind classes throughout the Festival week. Tim is keen to make the festival an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all who take part.

Email Tim

Jonathan Keep - Chairman

Jonathan has been involved with the Bedfordshire Festival for 22 years. Although not professionally qualified in the performing arts he has gained considerable experience in many disciplines through the involvement of his daughters from 1992 and membership of the Committee for some 12 years, having performed a variety of roles. As Chairman, Jonathan feels extremely privileged to lead such a talented and dedicated Committee without whom the Festival would cease to function. He would also welcome feedback on your experience of the Festival either as a performer or member of the audience.

Email Jonathan

Margaret Mason – Corporate Friends and Fundraising

Margaret Mason first became involved with The Bedfordshire Music Festival in the early 1990s, when many of her pupils from Acorn School enjoyed participating in the wide range of classes available. These included the Junior Choir, Solo Singing and Speech and Drama. It was very obvious to both Margaret and the parents how valuable these opportunities were for the children. Being able to perform in front of audiences in the Corn Exchange, the Harpur Suite and the Howard Room was an unforgettable experience. The fact that so many of these children return year after year is surely testimony to the valuable part that The Festival plays, not only in their lives, but also in the life of Bedford. It was this that persuaded and encouraged Margaret, following her semi-retirement in 2011, to become a Steward and then to join the Committee in 2012 with responsibility for Corporate Friends. The support we receive from these Friends helps to ensure that the Festival will continue for many years to come. On a personal note, it also gives her an opportunity to meet with so many of her ex-pupils.

Email Margaret

Alix Smith – Festival Secretary

Alix began working as part-time Festival Secretary in June 2017. She is a trumpeter and Music graduate. Upon graduating she worked in the admin team for the ABRSM and then moved on to school administration working as both an examinations officer and a school secretary. Alix also works part time as an Administrator for the Bedford Music Cooperative. Having moved from Hertfordshire to Bedford in January 2016, Alix is thrilled to be involved with such a wonderful local institution.

Email Alix

Robert Trunchion – Honorary Treasurer

Bob is the Treasurer – he therefore counts notes but cannot play them! He first visited the Festival in March 1974 when he attended the Prize Winners’ Concert (equivalent to today’s Gala Concert) to see his then girlfriend (now his wife!). After he returned to Bedford to raise a family, his daughters started performing in the Festival in various Music and Speech and Drama classes. As he was spending so much time at the Festival with the children, he thought he ought to join the Committee to help out and is still serving despite the fact that the children left home long ago. Bob is a tax partner in a national firm of accountants and lectures regularly to fellow accountants and solicitors. He has also appeared on national television and radio talking about that subject.

Email Robert

Susan Trunchion – Friends’ Secretary

When asked to write this, Sue realised that she has now been associated with the Festival for fifty years! Sue vividly remembers her very first appearance on the stage at the old Civic Theatre, in a poetry class, and many other performances through the years in piano classes at the Corn Exchange, and can certainly empathise with performers’ nervousness! After a short break when she left school, Sue returned to the Festival, firstly as a piano teacher and then also as a parent. Sue’s two daughters took part in countless piano, violin and speech and drama classes, and both benefited hugely from these opportunities. Over the past few years, Sue has been pleased to be able to help in a small way with the running of the Festival, which continues to produce new delights and surprises each year, even for a ‘old hand’ like her, and she very much hopes that this continues!

Email Susan

Henry Vann – Bedford Borough Council Representative

Henry was a participant in the Festival from a young age, particularly in singing, clarinet and piano classes. Having been involved in music making in Bedford all his life, through County Youth Orchestra and at school, he joined the Council in 2011 and has been the council appointee to the Committee since then. Henry is also portfolio holder for Education on Bedford Borough Council and works for the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) as well as continuing to perform locally as a clarinettist and singer.

Email Henry