Meet Our Tutors: Phillip Shades


Introducing Phillip Shades: professional vocal coach, performer and musician, and the brand-new choir director of the City Academy Voices.

Phillip has had very a varied career, singing all over the world, and with a broad range of musical theatre, opera and rock musicians. He has worked on several musical theatre productions and also provided backing vocals for Elton John in 2004.

We caught up with Phillip (shown in the photo above, centre, middle row) about his recent new position with us as choir director of the City Academy Voices.


What do you enjoy most about working with the Voices choir?

I most enjoy the results of the choirs’ hard work. When we have battled through difficult rhythms and phrases and eventually get a sound that really shows what the choir can do, there is a true sense of satisfaction  and group effort. It’s also really enjoyable when the choir crowd round the piano and we sing through something with the emphasis being on just singing and not caring about right or wrong notes. 


We can’t wait for the summer show. The title of the show is Some Nights-can you tell us a little about what can we expect this time around?

The choir have worked really hard with our opening number ‘Some Nights’. It’s a really powerful piece but is deceivingly tricky. It really highlights the commitment the choir have to producing a high quality sound. This high quality is held throughout our show with a selection of arrangements from various genres of musical theatre and pop. There are several solos and group numbers, some of which are prepared by the choir members themselves. Some Nights should be enjoyed by everyone. This night should be one of those nights. 


This will be your first show together. How much have you enjoyed the preparations?

The choir has been very welcoming and have made me feel very much at home. I always look forward to a Thursday evening. They are always so much fun and their enthusiasm has made the rehearsals very exciting. 


What do you enjoy most about the performances?

Seeing the choir up on a stage, all dressed up and really giving all they can to the audience is definitely what I enjoy most about any performance. The choir members are all there because they enjoy singing and this is the best reason for taking part. 


Could you tell us a bit about the social side of the Voices choir? Do the members socialise outside of rehearsals?

I know for a fact that the choir enjoy going out for a drink after rehearsals. They are always asking me along and they have even began organising a picnic in Regent’s Park for after the summer concert. They are a lively sociable bunch indeed!

Phillip Shades – Vocal coach and City Academy Voices Choir Director

The City Academy Voices rehearse every Thursday evening at Bloomsbury Baptist Church, Holborn.