Sophie Thiruchelvam

Sophie has been a peripatetic singing teacher for Leeds music hub (Artforms) community musician and performer since 2004. During her early career a happy twist of fate meant she was placed to teach singing at a Special school and has been working with young people and adults with additional needs ever since. She conducts the children’s special needs choir for Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Educational Needs (YAMSEN) and undertakes outreach work for the charity. She conducts Community choirs including Asmarina voices (a choir for refugee women and asylum seekers) for Leeds Playhouse. She is trained in Dalcroze eurhythmics and teaches this at Yorkshire young Musicians (YYM) at Leeds conservatoire. 

Diane Paterson

Diane is a trustee for Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Education Needs (YAMSEN) and leads training sessions, annual multisensory days and accompanies their Leeds Children’s Choir. Diane worked for Leeds Music Service (ArtForms) teaching music to children with additional needs before she retired in 2022. She continues to conduct their youth choir and teach singing. Together with Victoria Jaquiss, Diane wrote Addressing Special Educational Needs in the Curriculum – music, and has recently put together the YAMSEN publication Earwiggo Barging.

Yorkshire Association for Music and Special Educational Needs (YAMSEN)

YAMSEN is a group of people dedicated to and expert in creating inclusive opportunities around music.

Its members comprise teachers, volunteers, artists, musicians, non-musicians, and other participants with and without additional needs. It provides and support a range of activities for people with additional needs and those who work with them.

Mark De-Lisser

Mark’s love of music was apparent from an early age, when his dad took him to the local gospel church to give his mum a break. He taught himself piano, aged 9, and by 15 was leading the church youth choir. He conducted his first performance aged just 18.

Mark went on to study at Colchester Institute of Music, where his natural ability to motivate and inspire was evident through his direction and performance with everything from classical to jazz. He subsequently studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama where he graduated with an MA in Voice Studies, then obtained a PGCE in Music Education from the Institute of Education.

In 2004, Mark established Singology – a group of London choirs that unite diverse communities through song and provide their members with a creative outlet and a sense of belonging. In 2006, he founded the ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) Gospel Choir – now known as MDL Singers. The choir went on to become semi-finalists in the BBC’s Last Choir Standing just two years later, and won the Urban Music Award for Best Gospel Act in 2013.

Mark’s love of teaching and nurturing skills in others has led him to lecture at a range of international institutions, including The BRIT School, The Academy of Contemporary Music and the University of Westminster. Mark has also delivered numerous corporate workshops and events for household names such as Barclays, Hilton, McLaren and Bacardi.

Since 2008, Mark has been involved in a vast array of TV shows, as everything from vocal coach and musical director to presenter and host. TV programmes include Our Dementia Choir With Vicky McClure (BBC1), The Masked Singer (ITV), The Voice UK (ITV), Queen of the Universe (Paramount+) and Songs of Praise (BBC1).

Alongside singing teaching, choral directing, vocal arranging and numerous TV appearances, Mark is also an established author. He co-wrote Inspire Your Choir: 100 Ways to Raise the Bar, and his popular nine-book Sing Out! series is used by choir leaders everywhere.