News Story

A queue of festival-goers outside Hereford Cathedral

The Three Choirs Festival has appointed two new trustees to join the Board of Directors in December 2022. This follows the appointment of Naomi Belshaw as the first woman Chair in the festival’s history in March this year. The two new appointments bring with them a wealth of knowledge from the music industry and professional orchestras. Firstly, the board welcomes Paul Hughes, who has recently been Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and Chorus. He is joined by Bill Lam, who is currently Head of Digital at the Hallé Orchestra. Bill joins the board as Dominic Horne moves on and Christopher Barron becomes Vice Chair.

Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes has a history with the festival going back to his school days at The King’s School Worcester, when he sang in three festivals and where Gloucester Artistic Director Adrian Partington was a near contemporary. The range of works, which included David Fanshaw’s African Sanctus and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, made a huge impact on Paul and was something that resonated throughout his career, right through to his most recent role as Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBCSO), Chorus and the BBC Singers. Paul sang in the world premiere of Richard Rodney Bennett’s cantata Spells in 1975 and was able to programme the second performance some forty years later, at the Barbican in 2016. Paul’s 23-year career at the BBCSO has given him a great insight into how to bring together both professionals and volunteers in world class music making.

Bill Lam

Bill Lam has been with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester for eight years, facilitating the organisation’s strategy to adopt a digital-first approach in its planning and connection with audiences. In doing so, they aim to reach a wider, more diverse audience on and off the stage. In his two decades working in the arts, Bill has overseen complex technological collaborations with multi-arts institutions nationwide. Bill is keen on open conversation around equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. He aims to deliver this though his work with audiences and by delivering education and community activities, pushing innovation, and establishing partnerships.

A preview of the upcoming Gloucester Festival can be found at

In other Board news, Treasurer Myn Cotterill is due to step down in 2023 as she reaches the end of her third consecutive term, with the search for a new Treasurer set to begin in early 2023.

Dr Alexis Paterson, Three Choirs Festival Chief Executive, said:
‘We’re fortunate to have such a committed, supportive and forward-looking board at Three Choirs. I know Bill and Paul are going to be great new additions, with all of the skills and sector expertise they bring, and I’m looking forward to working with them on some exciting future plans for the festival. I’d also like to thank our outgoing Vice Chair, Dominic Horne for all his hard work and dedication as he stands down this month, and existing board member Chris Barron, who steps into his shoes.’

Naomi Belshaw, Three Choirs Festival Chair, said:
‘I am delighted to be welcoming Paul Hughes and Bill Lam to the board of the Three Choirs Festival. With their combined skills in the arts, orchestral sector, digital technology and communications they will really help shape how our festival moves forward. It is such an amazing festival with an unrivalled musical heritage, fantastic, dedicated staff and volunteers bringing world-class music to the cathedral cities of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester for more than 300 years. I am excited for the future and the role the Three Choirs Festival will continue to play in the future of classical music.’

Paul Hughes, newly elected Board Director Three Choirs Festival comments:
‘As a schoolboy in Worcester, the triennial arrival into the city of the Three Choirs Festival always brought great excitement. As a music student I was privileged to return and sing in Festivals in Worcester and Hereford; and now, as a ‘local’ resident, I am delighted to be joining the board. Helping to shape and secure the future of this distinguished festival is a great privilege and I look forward to joining Naomi, Alexis and the team.’

Bill Lam, newly elected Board Director Three Choirs Festival comments:
‘I'm hugely honoured to be part of the Three Choirs Festival family. With my experience in the classical/symphonic music sector, I hope I can bring a digital eye to the festival, make its heritage sing and help broaden its reach to a wide and diverse audience, on and offline.’

Notes to Editors:
The Three Choirs Festival has its origins at the end of the 17th century in visits by the lay clerks of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester to one another’s cathedrals for joint services and informal singing. More formal annual ‘music meetings’ can be traced back to around 1715 and have continued ever since, interrupted only by the two world wars and in 2020 the coronavirus pandemic, making this the oldest continuously running classical music festival in the world. The event rotates between the three cathedral cities on a three-year cycle. The next festival takes place in Gloucester 22 – 29 July 2023 and is the 295th Three Choirs Festival

Photo: GL Shooters