Thom Meredith

1989 – present

In 2001 the title of Musical Director was offered to Thom Meredith by the choir’s committee. Thom accepted, and the title and office was conferred on a conductor for the first time ever in the history of the choir.

Musical Director – Thom Meredith

Thom_Biog[1]It was a bold move to appoint a 23 year old as principal conductor. That was back in 1989. Time has confirmed it to have been an excellent judgment. Thom has continually raised standards and the choir has enjoyed a large measure of success under his leadership. But how do you measure success? It is not only in winning competitions. There is also great enjoyment to be had in rehearsal, at concerts, on trips abroad and at social events. Together the choir and Thom have enjoyed themselves and continue to do so. Seemingly always good-humoured – his family may say different! – he puts audiences and choir alike at ease. Often he surprises us all with a special cameo number of his own.

Christopher Pulleyn

2020 – present

At the beginning of 2020, Chris Pulleyn took on the role as accompanist to Colne Valley Male Voice Choir.  He was well known to the Choir by that time. Not only did he work with Thom Meredith accompanying our Colne Valley Boys Choir, but he had been a regular deputy for Keith Swallow playing for the main choir rehearsals and quickly became the choir’s ‘go-to deputy conductor’ whenever Thom was absent from rehearsals.

Accompanist Emeritus – Keith Swallow

Keith has played a great part in the life of the choir, and in its success, for more years than he may care to say. Always modest and good-humoured and only occasionally crotchety – pun intended! – he lets his playing do the talking and never falls below his own high standards. It is hard to imagine a better accompanist.

Keith stepped down from his regular accompanist role at the end of 2019, having played for the Choir for close on 63 years.




Full biographies:



Musical Director – Thom Meredith

M.A. (Oxon)

Since his appointment as Musical Director of Colne Valley Male Voice Choir in 1989, Thom Meredith has enabled the choir to achieve musical standards which have taken them to unrivalled records of success. Under his skilful, amiable and highly professional direction, the choir has become accustomed to performing without copies at competitions and concerts of the highest level throughout the UK and abroad, tackling a repertoire that annually amounts to over fifty different pieces.

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1965, Thom was educated at Lawnswood School, Leeds and then Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was awarded an Exhibition for conducting the Chapel Choir (1985 – 1987). Following a PGCE qualification from the University of Leeds, he taught Music in schools including four years as Head of Music at Colne Valley High School. Thom’s career involvement with young people continues in his current post as Principal of the Kirklees Music School (KMS). The Music School’s concerts, involving choirs and many varied instrumental ensembles from throughout Kirklees, have become established over the years as showcases of young musical excellence. Colne Valley Male Voice Choir is proud to have shared the platform on several occasions with the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra, which Thom also conducts.
In addition to his passion for conducting, Thom has established a reputation as a baritone soloist and an arranger of music for female, male and mixed voice choirs. He has taken solo bass/baritone roles in a wide variety of concerts, operas and oratorios, including first performances of contemporary works. In 1994 he was commissioned to write ‘A Tribute to Ivor Novello’ for mezzo-soprano, male voice choir and piano for the 1000 Yorkshire Male Voices concert at the Royal Albert Hall London and his arrangement of the 1960s hit ‘Harry’ is enjoyed by female voice choirs across the country.  Since March 2010 he has established an all boys choir called Colne Valley Boys to encourage male voice singing amongst the male youth in our area.

Christopher Pulleyn


At the beginning of 2020, Chris Pulleyn took on the role as accompanist to Colne Valley Male Voice Choir.  He was well known to the Choir by that time. Not only did he work with Thom Meredith accompanying our Colne Valley Boys Choir, but he had been a regular deputy for Keith Swallow playing for the main choir rehearsals and quickly became the choir’s ‘go-to deputy conductor’ whenever Thom was absent from rehearsals.

But we have many other reasons to be proud to have Chris as accompanist.  Few players can match his keyboard skills and the sensitivity of his support to choir performance.

Christopher is a local lad, who studied music at Greenhead College (where he retains links though now as a tutor) before going on to study English Literature at the University of York.  Chris spent a few years in Japan, before returning, intent on forging a career as a professional musician in the UK.  In that, he is being increasingly successful.  In addition to his work with CVMVC, he works regularly with a number of major arts organisations across the country including Opera North, Leeds Conservatoire, Sage Gateshead, Huddersfield Choral Society, Leeds Lieder, and the Hallé.

He was Junior Fellow Répétiteur at the RNCM between 2019-2021, acting as Principal Répétiteur for the college’s opera productions, which featured Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Mansfield Park and Flight by Jonathan Dove.  He works regularly with Opera North on both outreach projects, and mainstage productions including The Magic Flute, Parsifal, Carmen, and the UK Premiere of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night.

Christopher is also Assistant Musical Director of Bradford Festival Choral Society.

In 2018, he established &Piano, an annual music festival in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, to further support and encourage the appreciation of song and chamber music in the region.

When Covid closed down normal operations, Chris proved an invaluable colleague to Thom, the both of them working to ensure that the choir continued even though the men could not physically meet up.   Together they organised regular online rehearsals and two very successful online concerts.  Chris was the main mover in combining online recordings of individual singers, to create a virtual choir performance, which attracted bigger audiences than we might have reached ‘in real life’.  And for that the choir will be forever grateful to him.

Keith Swallow, FRMCM, LM.mus., LTCL, ARMCM.

Keith Swallow August 2008Keith Swallow, Colne Valley Male Voice Choir’s accompanist since 1957, first took up the piano as a pupil at the then Honley Grammar School. He won a West Riding of Yorkshire music scholarship at the age of sixteen and went to study at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he was awarded prizes, diplomas and the M.Mus Degree of the Royal College in London. He was later made an Honorary Fellow of the College.
Well known for his concerts throughout this country, he has performed in Europe and the U.S.A., played with several British orchestras and appeared many times on television, notably in two BBC “Omnibus” programmes, a “Music at Harewood” for ITV, and as official accompanist for the finalists of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year.
He has broadcast regularly as accompanist, soloist, chamber music player and piano duettist, and has taken part in most of the country’s major festivals (including Cheltenham, Harrogate and the Three Choirs), as well as international festivals in France and Germany.
Keith has made records with:- Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, Black Dyke Band, the BBC Northern Singers, lan Wallace, Alfreda Hodgson, Janet Hilton and Owen Brannigan. He has been a part-time lecturer at Huddersfield University and Bretton Hall College and regularly gives master classes around the country.
Although he considers himself to be primarily an accompanist, he is in constant demand as a (reluctant!) soloist and is widely recognised for his performance of 20th Century English piano.

Previous Conductors and their service:

John Gulley – 1983 – 1989

Nicholas Powell – 1980 – 1983

John Gulley – 1969 – 1980

George E Stead – 1924 – 1968

Dr T E Pearson – 1924 – 1924 (6 months)

Hervey Haigh – 1922 – 1924