About Barnsley Singers

Barnsley Singers was established in October 2016 following a huge demand for an adult choir run by its Founder and Principal Director Mat Wright.

The choir brings together members of the community from all walks of life to perform in a number of concerts throughout the year. The choir rehearse and perform all types of music ranging from traditional, pop, classical and topical.

Vision, core principles and priorities

Our vision is:

“Connecting our Community in Musical Harmony”

Our Core Principles are:

  • Community – our ethos, identity, flexibility and commitment of members with respect for each other
  • Sustainability – finances, merchandise, planning, development, bid writing, securing our financial position
  • Excellence – Business planning for framework and decision making to drive the choir forward
  • Inclusive – developing subscription incentives, marketing and promotion, retention of members and seeking to remove barriers
  • Enjoyable – Skills development through workshops, repertoire at the right speed, staying true to our first rehearsal

Artistic Directors

Our artistic directors are talented and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to deliver vocal tuition to the choir and to develop our expanding repertoire.

Mat Wright – Artistic Director

  • Advanced Skills Teacher and Music Advisor
  • Founder and Musical Director of Barnsley Youth choir – now ranked 5th in the World Rankings
  • Represents GB on the International Jury for INTERKULTUR festivals and competitions that included the World Choir Games in Russia 2016
  • A clinician supporting choirs in this country and abroad
  • Led workshops in International Festivals and Competitions to choral directors and singers from across the world
  • An award winning arranger and composer and was commissioned to write a piece that was sung by 8500 children
  • MD for a large number of Musicals and Shows

Luke Mather – Musical Director

  • A conductor, singer and composer based in Manchester
  • Graduated with a First Class Music Degree from the University of Manchester
  • Conducted The University Chamber Choir, Ad Solem, The Cosmo Singers and Manchester University Chorus
  • Assistant Musical Director of the Senior Choir of Barnsley Youth Choir, Director of Bolton Chamber Choir and founded Icosa Chamber Choir that performs around GB
  • Conducted the choir of Holy Name Church, Manchester
  • A singer with the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain
  • Performed solos on BBC Radio 3 and at the City of London Festival with the group

Rob Cooper – Assistant Director

  • Graduated with First Class Honours degree in music from the University of Manchester in July 2015
  • Performed as part of Manchester-based ‘Cosmo Singers’, whilst studying accompaniment
  • In his final recital accompanied Luke Mather
  • A talented composer, arranger and Musical Director
  • Earned his Master’s degree in composition from the University of Manchester
  • Was Musical Director and Arranger for ‘No Horizon the Musical’, which was performed for four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe
  • A Grade 8 Pianist
  • A Grade 8 Bass Guitarist
  • Musical Director for Les Miserables, Godspell, 9 to 5 and other musicals

Sarah Lucy Penny – Assistant Musical Director

Sarah Lucy Penny
  • Sarah Lucy is a freelance mezzo-soprano currently based in Yorkshire. She studied both voice and percussion whilst at school in Hull, and went on to gain a first-class degree in music at Edinburgh Napier University as the class medallist. She has recently completed an MA in Solo Voice Ensemble Singing at the University of York, supervised by Robert Hollingworth.
  • As a choral and consort singer, Sarah Lucy has performed with groups such as I Fagiolini, the Lacock Scholars and London Voices (who record regularly for Film Music at Abbey Road). She has been a part of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain since joining in 2011, moving from being a choir member to a part of the flagship Fellowship Octet for 2017-18, and now regularly works as a staff member in workshops and residential courses. In 2018 she was appointed Assistant Musical Director of BYC Senior Choir and BYC Intermediate Choir.

Choir Directors

Claire Gilmore


Dawn Shapcott


Rob Cottey



“My daughter rang me and said “mother, you’re in a choir!” I thought: “Oh no what have you got me into now!?” We attended the first rehearsal of the choir with trepidation but only been there 10 minutes and I thought “This is great!”.

The atmosphere was friendly, not the least bit intimidating and we actually sang something all together, it was a marvellous feeling to be part of this wonderful experience. You and your team made the whole experience fantastic. Can’t wait for the next choir practice. Thank you to you all.”


“I can’t express fully how wonderful it is to be part of Barnsley Singers.  After just the first practice session I knew I’d be hooked.  Having never been in a choir before (outside of Primary School back in the 1970’s!), I was totally unprepared for how absolutely wonderful it feels to be singing in harmony with so many other people, from all walks of life.  The humour that runs through all the practice sessions makes it so enjoyable, but equally I’m learning techniques and finding muscles I never knew I had.

No matter what the working week throws at me, I now know that come Tuesday evening, I’m going to have an incredibly uplifting experience – and that’s just the practice sessions!

Singing in the Christmas concert was just the icing on a rather fabulous cake. I’ve a feeling this is the start of something incredible. Lucky Barnsley! Lucky us!”


“From hearing about the choir through my daughter who persuaded me to join, to the rehearsals and the concerts, I have enjoyed every minute of it!  Even though I’ve been singing in a choir from the age of 8, turning up at the first rehearsal I was thinking: “What if I’m the only man there? What will it be like?”

I was greeted with a theatre full of about 200 like minded people, plus I wasn’t the only man there!!

The christmas concert was amazing with about 180 of us on stage.”

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