Director of Music

Chris McDade, Director of Music

Chris joined Pangbourne College as Music Director in September 2020 and we welcome him as our new conductor. We very much look forward to working with him.

Chris is a very experienced musician, with excellent keyboard skills (Piano and Organ) and almost 30 successful years in the teaching profession. He has a wealth of experience as a performer, notably as an accompanist, and as a conductor of Choirs and Orchestras. 

Chris has recently written an article in a magazine for independent schools about the importance of music education during the pandemic Music Matters Chris McDade.

He was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Huddersfield with specialisms in American Musicology (Opera and Music Theatre), Performance (Piano and Voice) and Conducting (Orchestral and Choral). He is a Licentiate of Trinity College of Music, London (Piano performance) and a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers.

He has a PGCE in Music from Bath College of HE and has been teaching Music in schools for 30 years in both State and Independent sectors.

Information on local music events that may be of interest to our members or supporters. If you would like to add an event to this page then please let us know.

Because of the current situation there are no live in-person events but there are a number of on-line ones. 

  • Our accompanist a year or so ago (or was it longer!) Arthur Bell sent a link to the Christmas Concert streamed on youtube by Wycombe High where he is Director of Music. He is conductor (and had planned to conduct us in our Summer 2020 concert if only …) 
  • A society member advised me that Rufus Froude, who older members may recall as our accompanist when Darren was our Music Director, is now Organist and Assistant Director with Hampton Court Chapel Royal. This is a link to their Christmas concert due on 21st December and streaming until 4th January 2021 
  • Danae Eleni ( who sang as a soloists in Poulenc’s Gloria with us in March 2019) has let us know about an online  recording of a Christmas concert. It was a one hour concert in Warsaw’s Fryderyk Concert Hall and will be available online until January 12th. Tickets available for £5. 
  • The son of one of our bases is a professional singer and been unable to perform much since March. He and his accompanist were able to deliver a short concert in their local church to a small but enthusiastic Covid secure audience. 
  • Wantage Silver band (who accompanied us in our summer concert in June 2016) has been delivering some live outdoor concerts – see their Facebook for details.
  • Covent Garden (Royal Opera House) has been streaming a number of events – some are free!
  • Some of our members have been singing with the Self Isolation Choir which has recently launched a choral only on-line radio channel.
  • We have created a playlist of some of the live ‘singalong’ events happening on our YouTube channel. 
  • We also have been adding links via our Facebook page to various on-line concerts.
  • Koor have a number of streamed concerts this December – see their website for details.
  • Anyone interested in international choral competitions may find this Rimini International on-line competition of some interest

As a Choral conductor, Chris has directed many services and recitals with school chamber choirs, as well as major choral works with adult choral societies and semi-professional orchestras in school chapels and major churches and cathedrals. These have included Canterbury, Chichester and Rochester Cathedrals and St Albans Abbey in the UK and overseas in Barcelona and Cologne Cathedrals as well as St Mark’s, Venice. He has conducted many carol concerts and services, accompanied by organ and professional brass ensembles.

Major choral works conducted include; Gloria (Vivaldi), Nelson Mass (Haydn), Mass in G (Schubert), Requiems (Faure and Mozart), Mass in C minor (Mozart), African Sanctus (David Fanshawe) and The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace (Karl Jenkins), the latter two in the presence of the composer. Smaller scale works include Fantasia on Christmas Carols (Vaughn-Williams), Magnificat (Pergolesi), Mass of the Children and Te Deum (John Rutter).