Councillor At Large – Scotland
Scottish mezzo soprano, Kathleen McKellar Ferguson, graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in both piano and singing and, after subsequently graduating with honours in teacher training, then pursued post graduate studies in singing at the Royal College of Music in London. After a highly successful international solo singing career. She is now a very sought after singing teacher and vocal coach both at home and abroad.
During her distinguished performing career, Kathleen sang in many of the major opera houses in the UK and Europe, with most of the national orchestras of the UK and with many European orchestras at international festivals. As an accomplished recitalist, she made her Wigmore Hall debut in 1991. Kathleen broadcasted regularly for BBC radio and TV and also created an album of Scottish folk songs “Echoes of Scotland” and a gospel album entitled “When All’s Said And Done”.
During her 20 years in London Kathleen taught singing at the Purcell School and at St Paul’s Girls School but in 2001 she returned home to Scotland to marry her childhood friend, Grant. Long story! Since then she has been teaching singing at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, taught at Dollar Academy for 10 years and also has a thriving private singing teaching studio at her home in the village of Kippen in Central Scotland. Many of her former students, including Catriona Morrison (Cardiff Singer of the World) are now flourishing as international professional singers in concert and opera.
Apart from her individual singing teaching at RCS her responsibilities also include taking several classes (B Mus 2 Lieder Class, B Mus 3 Performance Class, M Mus Performance Class and M Mus Audition Class). She is also very involved with recruitment and regularly teaches and gives master classes in Australia at WAAPA ( the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) and at the University of Western Australia both in Perth (WA), the Melbourne Conservatorium and Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. Kathleen gives many choral workshops and has also been vocal coach for National Youth Choir of Scotland , the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus, the Edinburgh International Festival Chorus and the New Generation Festival in Florence.
In 2012 Kathleen also established, “Classics at Kippen”, a small concert series in the village of Kippen near Stirling where she lives with her husband Grant. These events provide much needed performing experience for her students at RCS, raise money for local charities and provide high class concerts for the people of Kippen and further afield. These concerts are lovely community events, are extremely well subscribed and, to date, she has raised over £25,000 for local charities.
An active member of AOTOS, Kathleen runs the Scottish ‘pod’ and is very involved in mentoring and encouraging singing teachers and young singers by arranging small conferences in Scotland for professional development. In 2019 she gave a masterclass at the AOTOS Annual Conference and was also heavily involved in the organisation of Eurovox, which was to have been held in Edinburgh in 2020, but sadly had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.
Her passion for singing and teaching along with her extensive knowledge of vocal technique and repertoire has given her a keen ear for the subtleties of vocal production and artistry. To this end Kathleen is very happy to pass on her knowledge and expertise in such a way that her students are given time to be carefully grounded and nurtured so that they can reach their full potential and emerge as the singers and teachers of the future.
Councillor At Large – singers for events and Pods
Zoe came originally from the West Country and was taught by Linda Marshall Cole (once AOTOS's South West Representative), before going on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music. From there she went on to become a freelance classical singer working for Opera de Lyon and a freelance soloist, but for the past 20 years has always taught singing too. She still travels to teach at the City of London School for Girls and also teaches privately at home in Derby.
She joined AOTOS after moving up to Derby from London, thinking that it would be a great way to meet other singing teachers in the area. "Why didn't I join years ago!" she says. "At my first AOTOS gathering I met other teachers from the central area. Of course we were all the same breed – singing teachers! I enjoyed the afternoon immensely and not only gained new friends but gained vital new knowledge about teaching and reaffirmed what I already new. I realised then how important such an organisation as AOTOS is."
She was the Central Area Representative for AOTOS, bringing together singing teachers from the area to further develop teaching skills and ideas for the future. She is now Councillor at Large for singers for events.
Councillor At Large – corporate members
Rachel Sherry studied at Birmingham University followed by postgraduate vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music. She was an ad hoc member of the BBC Singers and London Voices. She worked in the fields of baroque opera and contemporary music as well as seeking out more unusual repertoire. A strong interest in traditional music inspired her to take up the harp, and for many years she toured a one-woman show accompanying herself on a variety of harps.
She has been a member of AOTOS for over 25 years now. Initially she specialised in working with drama students and teaching singing for several university music departments. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. More recently, most of her work is with under 18s. She has taught singing at Junior Guildhall for over 20 years and she was named on the Royal Academy of Music’s honours list in May 2018.
Between 2015 and 2020, Rachel was Head of Vocal Studies at Stowe School. She maintains a thriving private practice, examines for the LCM and is currently undertaking a song publication project