Philip Drew was born and bred in Portsmouth and sang in the choir of St Mark’s church where he also had his first organ lessons. He first studied singing with Freda Foster while in the 6th form. He took an Honours Music degree and Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Durham University.
He has pursued a varied musical career as counter-tenor singer, organist, choir trainer, recorder and crumhorn player, composer and teacher at Preparatory and Comprehensive schools as well as teaching singing, organ and piano. He continued his singing studies with the redoubtable Mme Hilger at the Welsh College of Music and Drama while living in Cardiff in the 1970s and subsequently with Andrew Phillips who trained him for his singing teaching diploma.
He now works teaching singing at Chichester University and privately, and is Organist and Choirmaster at Holy Spirit Church, Southsea (a position he has held for more than 30 years). He is also musical director of Wyndcliffe Voices, a Portsmouth based chamber choir and Cantores Vagantes, a motley collection of singers of all ages from all over the country who gather together to sing the services in a Cathedral for a week in the summer. He therefore spends so much time telling other people how to sing, either singly or in groups, that he finds little time to sing himself.
His choral experience included a choral scholarship at Durham Cathedral, a lay-clerk’s post at Llandaff Cathedral and several years as a deputy singer at Guildford and occasionally Chichester Cathedrals. His solo performances have been mainly in the field of oratorio with Llandaff and Radyr choral socieities while living in Wales and with Portsmouth Baroque Choir, Portsmouth Cathedral Music Society and St John’s College, Southsea in recent years.
His mother developed in him a love of musical theatre but since the counter-tenor voice is not used in this genre, his own involvement has been mainly back stage particularly in lighting. Indeed he is the only person to have made the transition from lighting designer to musical director in the history of Durham University Light Opera Group!
Philip is widowed with two married children and three grandchildren. Interests outside music include travelling on and photographing trains and buses, architecture and the drinking and brewing of real ale.