Meet the Artist #2: Sam Dunkley
Sam Dunkley is a freelance community musician and music education consultant based in Yorkshire and working across the country.
Specialising in large scale singing projects, Sam has conducted 550 singers at the Royal Albert Hall in a performance of his own piece Digitalives, he has also conducted 750 primary school children in Symphony Hall, as well as leading secondary school ‘whole school singing sessions’ with more than 1,000 teenagers! Sam has led singing projects as part of transition programmes and trained early years and primary school staff in using singing in their every day practice and to increase their confidence in music teaching.
Sam has been working as a community musician for over 10 years, and since the very start of his career has been grateful for the support and guidance of Yorkshire Youth and Music. He attended training courses and mentoring sessions as part of the Music Leader programme, and ten years later led CPD sessions as part of their Sing Up programme.
Having studied undergraduate and post graduate degrees at the University of Huddersfield, Sam began his career as a singing teacher, working for music services and schools across the north of England. He quickly discovered that his passion was for community music, and bringing that practice into more formal settings.
Early in his career, as well as teaching singing across the north, he had the opportunity to work as Education and Outreach Manager for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and to run songwriting projects for the Leeds Lieder + Festival. He then spent 7 years working for Woldgate College in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, initially as an Early Years community musician delivering training in Early Years settings across the East Riding. He then became the colleges Community Music Coordinator, working with 10 primary schools and across the secondary school building partnerships and bringing his community approach to the formal education environment. You can read more about this in When Are We Going Back to the Royal Albert Hall a seminar which Sam gave at the Music Education Expo which will be published on his website later this month.
Having worked on summer schools for Youth Music Theatre Scotland, amongst others, for several years Sam established Performing Arts etc in 2008. Working with a team of talented practitoners, the company quickly established a reputation for impactful, high quality, intensive projects; summer schools putting on a musical in a week, multi arts projects in schools devising plays and musicals and delivering community and outreach work for schools, theatres and arts centres.
Sam is the founder director of the chamber choir Chorus Natus Est, a group which performs big works in small places; Messiah in the pub with four singers and a harpsichord, Vivaldi Gloria inside an historic city wall. The choir aims to bring choral music to new audiences, in relaxed but high quality performances. They also deliver ‘come and sing’ performances and education projects.
For the last four years, Sam has been the musical director of Hands and Voices, a singing and signing choir based in York. Using sign supported singing and total communication, this inclusive group of 60 adults compose, sing and express themselves in high quality, expressive performances. Since 2012 he has also been the musical director of IMPs East Riding, another singing and signing group delivered by Accessible Arts and Media, this time working with young people. Sam has worked with Richard Stilgoe at the Orpheus Centre, and in prisons with the Irene Taylor Trust.
Sam is Vice Chair of Sound Sense, the UK professional association promoting community music and supporting community musicians. He is the Musicians Union Music Education Hub Rep for Calderdale and the East Riding of Yorkshire, and sits on the advisory board of both of these hubs. He is music education consultant to Calderdale Music Service and an Adjudicator Member of the British and International Federation of Festivals.