Although I currently work at the Law Commission of England and Wales, and I studied Law at the University of Cambridge and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), music has always played a crucial role in my life.
I was fortunate to have both piano and singing lessons as a child, growing up in a blended family of four professional classical musicians. I built on this foundation as I grew older, becoming the Peter and Therese Helson Choral Scholar at Cambridge and singing in the professional ‘St James in the City’ choir in Los Angeles.
I have often been struck by the lack of inclusivity in the choral world: despite living in hugely diverse places, I rarely found this reflected in the make-up of choirs I sang in, the music we sang or the people we performed to. I became a trustee at Vox Urbane to combine my legal background and passion for music to change this narrative now and for the future.
I entered the world of choral singing vicariously through my two children, a soprano and a tenor, and have witnessed how transformative the vocal experience has been for them in attaining their educational and professional ambitions. At the same time, I have been struck by the relative sameness of this community and have been participating in the national discussion on how to encourage greater diversity and accessibility to it.
My professional background is in financial services where I held senior positions in major investment banks. Currently my time is committed to organisations that support education and music, with a particular emphasis on DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) and social mobility, including the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the Mossbourne Charitable Trust.
Born in Korea, I grew up in Canada, was further educated in the US, then developed my career and raised my family in the UK (and briefly in Germany). Vox Urbane’s founding principle resonates strongly with me because diversity lies at its heart. I joined the board to support Vox in its journey to make an impact and change the face of the choral landscape.
My love for choral music began when I was a pupil at the choir school for Chichester Cathedral - although sadly tonsillitis on the day of the voice trials prevented me from joining the choir. Once my voice broke the closest anyone let me to a choir or mic was backing vocals in a school band. Thankfully a lack of mobile devices in those days means that no video or photographic evidence remains.
A 35yr career in financial services followed, augmented by spells as a school governor, athletics youth team manager, food bank volunteer and as finance director for Highland Community Broadband, beaming wifi to remote communities in the northern Scottish highlands ignored by BT.
Following my wife Kate’s involvement in several choirs over the years, I have always been struck by their lack of diversity and am delighted to be involved in a project that seeks to help redress that balance.
I have worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years with a diverse range of communities in various organisations. For the past 12 years my focus has in the Women’s Sector as a consultant, I have also delivered Sexual Health and Relationships workshops in schools in the UK. I recently trained as a yoga teacher, with the aim of including communities that do not have access to yoga studios.
As a child I was involved in community theatre, and attended the Half Moon Theatre in Stepney Green in the 70s. This is where my love for the arts and singing began. I went on to study Performing Arts, and after completing a PGCE at the University of Greenwich, I taught Performing Arts/Drama/Theatre programmes at Hackney College.
I am of Bengali descent and have experienced racism first hand, so all of my work has an anti-racist, inclusive and equitable focus. I am active in advocating for spaces that redress the imbalances that exist.
I am delighted to be a Trustee for Vox Urbane, and excited to see the changes they will create. I hope to bring my knowledge and skills to support Vox Urbane with their incredible work.