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BIOGRAPHIES

John Kirkpatrick - Lead Vocals and Squeezeboxes

John Kirkpatrick has been dancing, singing, and playing his way round the English folk scene since he joined Hammersmith Morris Men at the age of twelve. He has been fully professional since 1970, not only doing his own solo gigs, but also in all kinds of duos, trios, and bands – including spells in Steeleye Span, The Albion Band, Trans Europe Diatonique, Band of Hope, lengthy stints with Richard Thompson’s Band, The Sultans of Squeeze, Brass Monkey, Umps & Dumps, and sundry other ceilidh bands. In the mid 1990s he led his own John Kirkpatrick Band for a couple of years.

He is still an unrelentingly enthusiastic morris dancer, and started one of England’s most influential teams – The Shropshire Bedlams. More broadly he has built up an enviable reputation as a champion and leading interpreter of traditional English music, as well as a creative innovator of new work.

Out in the wide world John has contributed music, song, and dance to a great number of plays in the theatre, on radio, television, and film. As a session player his squeezeboxes can be heard on hundreds of recordings.

During the Lark Rise & Candleford days at the National Theatre, John was in on the earliest discussions that eventually led to the formation of Home Service, and has remained in close contact with most of the ensemble. He played with John Tams in Umps & Dumps, with Graeme Taylor & Michael Gregory in his own band, with Rory McFarlane in Richard Thompson’s Band, with Howard Evans, Roger Williams, and Paul Archibald in Brass Monkey, and done numerous sessions with Andy Findon for the TV series The Irish R.M. So – it should work!

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Graeme Taylor - Electric Guitar, Vocals, Composer, Original Brass Arrangements

Graeme’s musical career began age 17 in 1971, as founder member of ground-breaking band Gryphon, which Melody Maker dubbed 'The 13th-Century Slade', the only band to be featured on all four BBC national radio stations in the same week, The band went on to make five best selling albums, to do major tours of Europe and the US, presenting their own compositions at the Madison Square Garden, and supporting Yes and the Mahavishnu Orchestra at the Houston Astrodome. Gryphon appeared at a highly successful sell-out reunion concert in 2008 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, their first gig for 32 years. 

Graeme played with an assortment of rock and R&B bands from the mid 70s through the 80s, notably singer songwriter John B.Spencer, with whom he maintained close associations until John's untimely death in 2002.

In 1977, Graeme joined forces with Ashley Hutchings, Shirley Collins, Philip Pickett, John Tams and Michael (Greg) Gregory, resulting in the formation of a new Albion Band, and with the addition of Dave Mattacks and Simon Nicol from Fairport Convention, the making of the classic album Rise up Like the Sun. 
With John, Ashley and Greg, together with Bill Bryden's team at the National Theatre, he was instrumental in the making of The Mysteries and Lark Rise to Candleford, for which a distinctive English brass section was added, and for the show's revival in 2000, Graeme assumed the role of Musical Director and wrote original music.

He continued working with John and Greg, forming the critically acclaimed Home Service, which took these concepts much further.

He has been Music Director War Horse at the New London Theatre for the last 3 years.

Recently Graeme has formed two new bands, one with singer/actress Denise Black, The Loose Screw and another with Strawbs guitarist Dave Lambert, called Zeus, which played their debut concert at Twickenham Rugby Ground in September 09 to standing ovations.

Additionally, he has written music for library albums, engineered and produced albums for other singers and bands in his inspiring purpose-built home studio in south west London; has done live, TV and session work with such diverse artistes as Long John Baldry, Tim Rose, Julie Covington, Kiki Dee and Rebecca Storm. He was the guitarist in the big band masterminded by Gareth Valentine for the hit West End production of Anything Goes (2003-4), played bouzouki for Robert Lindsay's

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Michael Gregory - Drums, Percussion

Michael Gregory was a founder member of the 70’s group, Fuchsia, who recorded for the weird, wonderful and short-lived Pegasus label. A recent renewed interest in Fuchsia credits them as being one of the forerunners of “psych-folk” and “acid-folk”, so……sorry about that. After Fuchsia, Michael Gregory spent the next two years as a session musician(a lot of it for Transatlantic Records) and playing in various bands on London’s then thriving pub-rock circuit.

A phone call from Ashley Hutchings saw him spend the next eight years in the Albion Band. He was a core member of the creative nucleus of the band which produced several great albums, in particular “Rise Up like the Sun”. Along with John Tams, Graeme Taylor and Howard Evans, his Albion days ended as they morphed into Home Service in the early 80’s.

Since then, he continued to be involved with other projects including John Spencer’s Alternative (with Graeme Taylor and Jon Davie), the Maddy Prior/Rick Kemp Band (a brilliant but, sadly, unrecorded group), and the John Kirkpatrick Band (Fledg’ling Records). More recently, he and Graeme Taylor have featured with The Green House Band on their two albums “Mirage” (Market Square Records) and “Big Sun” (Fledg’ling Records). He is currently playing and recording with the Ric Sanders Group.

Over the years, he has managed to pay for all this fun by playing in countless productions on the London Theatre scene.

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Rory McFarlane - Bass Guitar, Double Bass, Vocals

Rory is a freelance double bass and electric bass player who recently worked with Katie Melua, touring extensively in Europe, and with Damon Albarn onWonder.land, Honest Jon’s Review and his opera Monkey: Journey to the West.

Prior to this he worked with Tom Waits on his opera The Black Rider in London, Sydney, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

For eight years he was the regular bass player for Nigel Kennedy and he has been a band member for Richard Thompson, Marianne Faithfull and for Hollywood actor Tim Robbins.

He has toured, recorded and performed with many other artists including the Magic Numbers, Loudon Wainwright and Tanita Tikaram, and he has performed in many London west end shows including currently The Lion King, Billy Elliot and Wicked.

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Andy Findon - Reeds

Andy Findon is Europe's most recorded flute player who can be heard on countless movie and TV soundtracks, alongside albums for a long list of international artists. His own releases include groundbreaking and innovative premieres, including his own arrangements of work by composers such as Michael Nyman. Andy is the longest serving member of The Michael Nyman Band, playing baritone saxophone and flutes on Michael's soundtracks and concert tours since the early 1980's.

Other formative influences were gained working for well known British Dance Band leaders Joe Loss, Nat Temple, Eric Delaney and Sidney Lipton whilst and shortly after studying at the Royal College of Music, following membership (as principal flute) of The National Youth Orchestra. He was also a founder member of the Myrha Saxophone Quartet with John Harle in the late seventies.

Thus, although training originally as a classical flautist, these experiences led his career to diversify, covering almost every musical genre, duetting with Pat Metheny, playing with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Tony Bennett, Cilla Black, The Beach Boys and Katherine Jenkins to name but 5 widely contrasting performers. Andy also appears regularly performing works by Karl Jenkins and other successful composers, such as Hans Zimmer, performing the solo Duduk in live performances of his Gladiator movie score. In 1998 Andy performed tin whistle live in the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham and was Mike Oldfield's recorder player (in Dulci Jubilo) at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. 

Among many appearances in London's West End theatre, he has worked on shows and projects for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, notably featuring on The Beautiful Game, Bombay Dreams (by Indian composer A.R Rahman) and recording Sir Andrew's "Variations" theme tune for The South Bank Show alongside his brother, Julian. Andy played on the movie soundtracks of musicals, including Phantom Of The Opera, Sweeney Todd, Cats, Evita and Mama Mia. He appeared on the 25th anniversary DVD performances of Sir Cameron Mackintosh's Les Miserables and the 2009 DVD of Chess at The Royal Albert Hall.

He is also in Acoustic Earth (with Pete Walton, James Turner and Olivier Award winning Lorna Want) and plays regularly with the major London Symphony orchestras as well as chamber orchestras and groups across the capitol. He is a close collaborator with pianist/composer Geoff Eales and is pioneering Geoff's significant flute repertoire with the Nimbus album "The Dancing Flute".

Andy is also known as London's foremost "ethnic" instrumentalist, performing on a kaleidoscopic array of unusual woodwind instruments, alongside the more common instruments of the flute, saxophone and clarinet families. He has contributed extensively to the “Spitfire” sample library with work on both orchestral and ethnic instruments, including the release of the “Andy's Kitbag” series. As a composer, he has produced and performed hundreds of music "library" tracks which are played across the media regularly.

He has recently composed and performed the music for the "Pampers" worldwide advertising campaign.

Andy is a "Pearl Flutes International Artist" and the proud owner of the platinum flute built for Geoffrey Gilbert in 1950 by Charles Morley.

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Roger Williams - Tenor & Bass Trombones, Euphonium & Tuba

Since leaving the Royal Academy of Music (where he won the Open Brass Prize and developed a taste for real ales) Roger's career has encompassed almost every aspect of the music business.

He has played with most symphony and opera orchestras in the UK, including a 20 year stint with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. He co-founded the modern music ensemble Music Projects / London in 1980, played with Capricorn for many years as well as the London Sinfonietta, and has appeared as a soloist in the Purcell Room and the Queen Elisabeth Hall. He has also played with the Philip Jones Brass ensemble, and the English Brass Ensemble.

Roger has worked extensively in the West End, playing in the orchestras for the long running "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Original Production), "Evita", "Starlight Express" and "Saturday Night Fever", and last but most certainly not least Bill Bryden's wonderful production of "The Mysteries" at the NT where he had the good fortune to meet the other lads whose stories are told hereabouts!

In addition to much session and film work he's toured with major artists such as Sammy Davis Jnr., Shirley Maclaine, Bob Hope, Billy Eckstine, Michael Ball and Dionne Warwick, Two of the "3 Tenors" and a memorable US tour with the Irish Tenors.

Roger's work on the Jazz Scene has included playing with Stan Reynold's "World's Greatest Swing Band", Carla Bley, Hermeto Pascoal, John Surman (Brass Project), Stan Tracey's Big Band, and Colin Town's "Mask Orchestra".

In 1982 he was invited by his old friend the late Howard Evans (who was also instrumental in setting up "Home Service") to join "Brass Monkey" and 5 albums later we're still going strong! Following this he played on Albums for Ralph McTell, Maddy Prior, John B Spencer, Dagmar Krause and lately Eliza Carthy.

Currently he is attempting to stave off "semi-requirement"!

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Nigel Barr - Tenor & Bass Trombones, Euphonium & Tuba

Nigel was just 14 when he gained an LRAM on Euphonium, Denis Wick was one of the adjudicators. At the Guildhall Denis and Peter Gane encouraged a switch to Bass Trombone stating “You’ll never make a living playing the euphonium”. So, by 1984 when he graduated he had already held the Bass Trombone chair in the International Staff Band, World Youth Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. On leaving the Guildhall Nigel embarked on a freelance career which encompassed several West End Shows, various orchestras and many recording sessions, this was coupled with an entrepreneurial streak that saw the world famous Barrlines Gigbags born.

One day in 1988 Nigel was asked to do a concert with the Michael Nyman Band - he was soon offered the permanent job and commenced what turned out to be a pivotal friendship with Andy Findon. During his 28 years with the MNB he has undertaken tours all over the world and also became Michael’s manager in 1992 a position he held for over 20 years.

The management side of Nigel’s business became more and more important and at one point he was managing the careers of over 20 composers for film and TV including Dario Marianelli (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice), Michael Nyman (The Piano, End of the Affair), Barrington Pheloung (Inspector Morse), Chris Gunning (Poirot, Middlemarch) and many others. Nigel’s management consultancy credits include Robbie Williams, Rugby World Cup, Blue Planet, Dubai World Cup, Gladiator, Fayrouz, Microsoft, The Voice, X Factor and Queen.

Currently Nigel is continuing his business as a freelance player, music consultant and commercial mediator and is thrilled to be invited to play in Home Service.

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Steve King - Keyboards, Vocals

Steve has enjoyed a diverse music career working in a wide range of genres. He has toured America as a member of Virgin signed band Fingerprintz with whom he recorded the album Beat Noir. He also toured the US with Adam and the Ants playing the most prestigious venues including Radio City Music Hall in NYC and the Universal Amphitheatre in LA.

His session credits include Tracy Ullman, Kirsty MacColl, Desmond Dekker, Geno Washington and a critically acclaimed jazz album with Helen Shapiro.

He got to know Graeme Taylor through the R&B band The London Apaches and Graeme invited him to join the Home Service initially working as part of the band at the National Theatre on Don Quixote and The Mysteries, and composing music for both shows. He has since taken part in numerous productions at the NT.

He recorded two albums with the Home Service and took part in the filming of the Mysteries for Channel 4 and the Holy City for BBC Scotland.

As well as keyboards Steve plays accordion and tenor sax and has arranged and co-produced with Richie Milton a number of highly regarded R&B albums for Richie Milton and the Lowdown where he and Dick Hanson (of The Rumour Brass) comprise the horn section.

Steve also finds time to practice as a litigation lawyer and has been involved in acting for a number of major names in the music business including Sting and Elton John.

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Paul Archibald - Trumpet & Flugel Horn

Paul's principal positions have included the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestra of St John’s, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and London Sinfonietta. Paul now performs chamber music with Trio D'Art, Carnyx Brass, Fibonacci Sequence, recitals with pianist Helen Reid and a particular focus towards his group, English Brass and its associated English Brass Academy. He is a prize winner of the Toulon Prix de Concours.

Paul has recorded many soundtracks including Batman, Chicken Run, Shrek, Shrek 3, Lord of the Rings, Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd and has recorded for many artists including, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Oasis and Joni Mitchell. He is also a member of Brass Monkey and joined Home Service in 2011.

He is Artistic Director of Brass Classics, his own recording label, and his discography includes Joie de Vivre, Divertissement, Proclamation, Hodie Gloriosa,and Peter Maxwell Davies’ Trumpet Sonata. His recording of the Shostakovich Concerto No 1 for piano, trumpet and strings with Alain Lefèvre (piano) and the London Mozart Players was awarded Canada's prestigious JUNO award for best Classical Album in 2010. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, London.

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