I’m a man of many parts, some of which still work! All my life I’ve been fascinated by voices, which led to my several careers as a professional performer. I once had a week in which I spent three mornings recording a radio play; six evenings performing in a stage play; five afternoons rehearsing and singing in the next stage play – (it was a musical); a ventriloquist show for a birthday party; a weekend show on a commercial-radio station; and I somehow managed to squeeze in a couple of voice-over sessions in-between. The only thing I didn’t manage to fit into that week was some compèring. If it involves talking or singing, I’m as happy as Larry – and you know what a cheerful feller he is! And now I’m privileged to be the voice-and-communication coach for Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training.
When I was 18, I auditioned for a school play. The director (Miss Blacker) knew I was an aspiring actor. After the audition, she said “Your voice will be your livelihood”. Top marks, Miss! I trained at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. Where for three years I had at least six voice lessons every week from teachers such as the highly esteemed Jimmy Dodding and Malcolm Morrison. At that time, those of us with regional accents were encouraged to learn to speak with what’s known as received pronunciation (RP). This is the traditional BBC type of speech. That was a culture shock for me, but I learned how to do it. Now I think of it as just one of the many accents that occur in the English-speaking world. I don’t work with many people who want to go the whole hog with RP, but quite a lot like to take a few steps in that direction in order to soften their accents a little bit.
My voice training was polished and augmented by my singing teachers, the eminent Edgar Herbert-Caesari, then Alma Caesari, and later, Beatrice Webster – who was a singing coach at the Sydney Opera House, most notably to Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland.
I’ve also trained in counselling with Lifeline in New Zealand, where I lived for quite some time.
I’m passionate about voices – why they sound like they do, and what you can do if you want to change how yours sounds.