Valerie was born and brought up in Sheffield. She always enjoyed music - dancing, singing and piano from an early age. As a child, she attended weekly concerts by the Halle Orchestra under the baton of Sir John Barbirolli - a fabulous experience.
She went to school in North Wales where she furthered her musical studies, playing 3rd violin (no less!) in the school orchestra and being leader of the choir. After school she went to Dartington College of Arts and on to Rolle College, Exmouth following a course for musical education in schools. She continued her singing studies and achieved her ARCM in singing teaching.
Returning to Sheffield to begin her teaching career, she joined the Bach choir, often travelling to Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford to give concerts. In 1970 she moved to Oxshott with her parents, taking a teaching post at Danes Hill School. As she became more involved in village life, she formed a village choir for children, the Oxshott Junior Singers, and took on the WI choir, whilst still enjoying her own choral singing with the Leatherhead Choral Society. Her involvement in the Leith Hill Musical Festival through her singing led her to re-found the Oxshott Choral Society in 1975, which immediately took part in the Festival. Although she now lives in Cobham, she retains a very active life in Oxshott, being also Director of Music at St Andrew's Church.
She continues to enjoy every aspect of her career, particularly her musical life. Her work with choirs and her connections with the Festival have brought much happiness and many wonderful friends.
Our accompanist David is from Surrey. He studied piano at the Royal College of Music before specializing in piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music.
He has enjoyed playing for Oxshott Choral Society since 2008 and previously worked with Valerie Beynon at Horsley Choral Society.
David was musical director and arranger at Brick Lane Music Hall where guests included Anita Harris and Roy Hudd, and played the role of Manny for Theatre Royal Bath's touring production of Master Class. He worked on productions including: Lakmé (Opera Holland Park), An American in Paris (Dominion), Carousel (UK tour, Savoy Theatre), The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan Festival Company) and Thursford Christmas Spectacular.
He has been involved in education and outreach projects for Opera Holland Park, the Royal College of Music, Central School of Ballet, Guildford School of Acting, Italia Conti, and performed with Lost Chord, a charity dedicated to improving the well-being of those living with dementia. He currently teaches piano for Kingston Music Service.