THE CARPENTERS STORY COMPANY
From as far back as she can remember, Claire has always wanted to perform.
Although her first love was the violin, and she dreamed of the life of a professional violinist, a chance meeting with Sylvia Young back when she was 15 led to her hobby of singing becoming her career.
She then began her classical training and has been singing professionally since the age of 17.
She met and auditioned for Phil Aldridge, and has provided the voice of Karen Carpenter starring alongside Phil and The Carpenters Story Orchestra ever since.
Claire is not only sought after for musical
performances but also as a teacher and musical director.
She has been Head of Music and Director of Music and Drama in both Preparatory and Secondary schools, along with 25 years teaching experience in singing, violin, and piano, she regularly leads singing workshops at theatre schools and for local education authorities.
LEAD GUITAR & BVs
Ian grew up listening to The Beatles, but it was not until he heard the music of American bands such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds and The Eagles that he was inspired to learn to play the guitar.
Entirely self-taught, he soon realised he had an ear for music and was able to copy the sounds he was hearing.
His first group was a rock/blues based four piece playing tunes by Eric Clapton, Wishbone Ash and Status Quo but the country-rock bug forced him to quit in 1977 and form a band called High School, playing American covers by The Eagles, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
In 1980, deciding a career in music was the only way to go, he formed possibly the first ever Sixties/Beatles tribute act - The Piggies.
Ian’s influences include: Clarence White, Albert Lee, James Burton, Andy Powell, George Harrison
Ian plays: 1965 Fender Telecaster, 1972 Fender Telecaster B Bender, Rickenbacker 12 string, Fender Stratocaster, Pedal Steel.
DRUMS & PERCUSSION
Brent has been drumming with the show for more than 20 years.
He has played drums since his pre-teens and his love for music began at an early age when hearing the music his mother would play at home, which included Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey and The Carpenters.
At the age of eight, Brent received a drum kit at Christmas and his percussive path begun.
Initially listening to the pop music of the day (David Bowie, Sweet, T. Rex and Alice Cooper) his listening expanded to include rock (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple) progressive rock (Genesis, Yes and ELP), soul (Stevie Wonder, Bobby Womack) and artists such as Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan and Frank Zappa.
The discovery of the Mahavishnu Orchestra (featuring legendary drummer Billy Cobham) was Brent’s pathway to discovering jazz and before long Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk were also on heavy rotation.
His musical influences continue to widen, while drummer influences include Vinnie Colaiuta, Peter Erskine, Jeff Porcaro, Tony Williams, Bill Stewart and Billy Cobham.
MD, KEYBOARDS & BVs
When Phil was 10, the only thing he knew for certain was that he wanted to be Ringo Starr when he grew up!
So, at 16, he applied for entry to Trinity College of Music to be told that he would not be able to study as a drummer, but that he would have to take up orchestral
percussion and piano.
He practiced avidly, passed the audition when he was 18 and spent 4 great years there, followed by a spell at Berklee
College in Boston, Massachusetts where he studied drums, vibraphone and arranging.
Phil's first professional job was as a drummer for a Mecca disco band called Whisky Mac who’d just won New Faces, a well known TV talent show at the time.
This was followed by stints as musical director for bands to back touring soul artists such as Ben E King, Junior Walker, George McCrae and Martha and the Vandellas.
The experience gained on the soul tours, enabled him to create and produce his two current theatre shows, The Carpenters Story and The Illegal Eagles.
VIOLIN & BVs
Jude was born in Grimsby and now lives in Hertfordshire.
While studying violin at the Royal Academy of Music, London, Jude worked with major composers from the twentieth century; Messiaen, Panufnik and Penderecki.
She has since performed classical music in all the major concert halls in London under the baton of some of the world’s finest conductors including Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Charles Groves, and has also performed pop and film arrangements with the Geoff Love Orchestra when touring Europe in the 1980’s.
More recently Jude has worked with leading international violinist Tasmin Little and British jazz legend, saxophonist Courtney Pine, and has also recorded in the studio and performed live, with the Carpenters Story sister show, The Illegal Eagles.
Passionately committed to music education and to developing and encouraging young talent, she has lead several hugely successful music departments and directed ensembles that have appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, BBC TV and National Youth for Music Festivals.
OBE, COR ANGLAIS & BVs
Vicki Joined the Carpenters Story when it first started - she was just 16 years old at the time!
Vicki studied with Stephen Nagy at Trinity College of Music, London, where she won a scholarship from the English Speaking Union.
She has performed concertos with the English Sinfonia and played at venues such as the Maltings, Snape, The London Palladium, Drury Lane Theatre and has appeared on Pebble Mill at One.
Since leaving college she has performed with International soloist, Julian Breame at the Barbican Centre, Emma Johnson and played for International Royalty under the conductor John Georgiadis.
Most of her time recently has been taken up with chamber music.
The Orchard Trio, established whilst at college, over the last two decades has given recital performances at a variety of festivals around the UK, St- Martin-in-the-Fields, London, the South Bank Centre and London
BRASS, WOODWIND, PERCUSSION & BVs
Born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, Richard was originally a pianist and singer, but was then offered the chance to learn the clarinet at school, age 9.
After achieving Grade 8 Distinction four years later, he received a tenor sax on his 14th birthday and realised that he’d found his instrument!
Working in many areas of the music industry thereafter, he has enjoyed playing with many diverse artists and bands including a 13-year stint with Marty Wilde and the Wildcats and the 2004 'Turnaround' Tour for Westlife, playing saxes, flute and percussion.
Among others, he has also performed with Amy Winehouse, Vanessa Mae, Peter
Andre, Shirley Bassey, Kim Wilde and Bert Weedon, and has toured with many soul and Motown artists including, The Drifters, Ben E. King, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Miracles, George McRae, and more recently Gloria Gaynor, Heather Small (M People), The Supremes & Mary Wilson, Heatwave and Odyssey.
BASS & BVs
Jon’s professional bass playing career started in his early 20s while playing in local theatre in and around his home town of Chelmsford.
He went on to work in national theatre productions and West End shows such as ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Godspell’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, ‘Little Shop of Horror’, ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Hair’.
After 15 years of ‘pit’ work, Jon made the decision to move up in the musical world onto the stage itself.
It was at this point he first met Phil Aldridge whom he has worked with for the likes of Ben E King, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and a memorable tour of India with Boney M. Other well known artists include George
McCrae, Womack and Womack, The Detroit Emeralds, Precious Wilson, The Real Thing and Odyssey.
In early 2015 he took a call from Phil asking him to join The Carpenters Story.
In his spare time he likes to go fell walking and then drink real ale!
Jon uses Fender, Lakland and Status basses with Mark Bass amplification.