Key People

Solway Singers is proud to introduce our new Musical Director -

Edward Taylor

Janet Madden - Chairman

After an enthusiastic youth singing regularly in the choir at Crosthwaite Church, Keswick and at Keswick Grammar School (and with a little bit of training with Elsie Arnott who ran several choirs in the west of the county), Janet completely retired from singing, apart from in church at St Mary’s, Wreay.  She kept her piano-playing going for a while, until house space and a family got in the way.  Much, much later, with encouragement from friends at Wreay, she eventually managed to convince Solway Singers that they would like to have her in the soprano line.  Thrown in at the deep end with her first concert being Dyson’s Canterbury Tales, Janet kept coming back for more. 

A lifetime in admin led to being involved in the organisation of the Choir’s tour to the Netherlands in 2017 and thus to the current role of Chairman.

Edward Taylor - Musical Director

Edward Taylor is currently Assistant Organist, and Director of the Cathedral Consort, at Carlisle Cathedral. He is also in demand as a concert organist.

Edward holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Leeds and is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists. He has studied the organ with Nicolas Kynaston, David Sanger, Simon Lindley and Henry Fairs and has attended many master classes. Edward also studied at the Strasbourg Conservatoire in France with Parisian organist, Christophe Mantoux. 

As director of the Cathedral Consort, Edward has directed the choir on television and radio, has organised and led two successful international tours to France and Mallorca. He also directed the choir in their debut CD 'God is gone up with a triumphant shout'.

Edward is active as a choral conductor and specialises in choral workshops for children, youth choirs and 'Come and Sing' events for adult choirs. he has conducted many large scale works with orchestra in his roles as Musical Director of Penrith Singers and Dumfries Choral Society. Edward is the Musical Animateur for the Cathedral's Singing Out programme, working with over 750 children each year. He also runs 5 primary school choirs across Cumbria and in 2009 he co-founded the Carlisle Cathedral Children's Choir, Carlisle Cantate.

Edward has appeared on several CDs, accompanying the Girls' Choir of Ely cathedral and the Leeds Liturgical Choir. He recorded his debut solo organ CD with priory Records, which was released nin early 2017. Since 2020 he has also been recording live video of organ music for his You Tube chanel @Edward Taylor Organist. There are about 160 to date.

Avril Tisdall - Accompanist

Avril grew up in Carlisle, where she was a former piano pupil of Dr F W Wadely: she was awarded her LRAM whilst still at school. A regular trophy winner in the piano classes at Carlisle and other festivals in the north, Avril went on to study at the Royal Manchester College of Music, piano under Derrick Wyndham and Dennis Murdoch, and violin under Rudolf Botta. She graduated with special merit in performance. 

A career in music education followed; having spent 15years in primary schools as a music specialist, she became an advisory teacher for primary music in Wigan and then deputy head of Knowsley MBC’s performing arts service. The last 16 years of her career were spent lecturing in music education at Edge Hill University, and included a few years as an Ofsted Inspector. She has always loved accompanying, beginning with her school and church choirs, then staff and student recitals at Edge Hill. More recently, since returning to Carlisle,  she has become the regular accompanist for Solway Singers and an official accompanist for Carlisle & District Music and Drama Festival, of which she is also the Chair.