Stoke CMS Alumni

Caroline Ferry

My first experience with CMS was joining the City Youth Training Choir around the age of 7.

Shortly after, I had the opportunity to start violin lessons whilst a pupil at St Teresa’s Primary School. From that point onwards, CMS became a huge part of my life, and I spent at least two evenings each week singing in choirs (I later moved up to the Youth Choir) and playing with the orchestra and string orchestra. CMS gave me some amazing opportunities! I played or sang in so many concerts at the Victoria Hall that I lost count, took part in workshops with professional musicians from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, performed as a soloist with the string orchestra, dressed up as a Victorian to sing Christmas carols at the Gladstone Pottery Museum, and even sang as an urchin in a professional opera company’s production of Carmen at the Regent Theatre (at the age of 8!).

The staff at CMS were always so friendly and supportive, even to go beyond the CMS’s own ensembles. At the age of 16, encouraged by my teacher (who continued to teach me right through to Grade 8) and other CMS teachers, I successfully auditioned to become a member of the Hallé Youth Orchestra, and added weekly Sunday rehearsals in Manchester to my busy after-school music schedule.

After sixth form, I studied Music at the University of Manchester, and it was while there that I discovered that I enjoy organising concerts as much as playing in them! I graduated in 2011 with a First Class degree and moved to London to begin my career in Arts Management. I worked for five years at the prestigious Wigmore Hall before becoming Personnel and Planning Manager for the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, with whom I have had the opportunity to tour all over Europe and beyond, and to work with some of the most famous musicians in the classical world.

I don’t believe I would be where I am today if it hadn’t been for CMS and am hugely grateful to all of the staff who supported me during that time. I don’t really sing any more (except perhaps in the kitchen!) but when I’m on home turf I still enjoy playing the violin with friends and in some great amateur orchestras in London.