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We are delighted once again to be directed by John Powell, who has a long and successful association with the festival. John has been involved in music in Manchester for 45 years – initially on the staff at Chetham's and as a member of the BBC Northern Singers, nowadays as a freelance conductor, singer and singing teacher.

He conducts the Festival Choir and the Phoenix Choir in Bolton, and has his own chamber group: the John Powell Singers. He has been Musical Director of Tatton Singers since 2005 and was recently appointed to a similar position with Wigan Choral Society. In 2020 he retired from teaching singing at the University of York; he continues to teach privately. He is also very active as a festival adjudicator.

John particularly enjoys preparing singers for special events. He directs workshops and singing days – the past year's activities have ranged from Renaissance motets and madrigals in York to Dyson's The Canterbury Pilgrims in Knutsford. He also conducts the chamber choir course at an annual summer school in Uppingham.

As a singer, John performs in recitals – especially in lieder and 20th Century English song, with the pianist Elin Rees.