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London Vocal Group
Steven Brooks

Tenor

Biography by Dr Theo Rettic:
Steven Brooks was only four years old when he was bitten by the music bug. His parents were devastated. How could this happen? Luckily none of the other animals on their farm in Belgium were infected by this bug (except one lonely duck that turned out to be brilliant at tap-dance). So they sent him (Steve, not the duck) to music school, hoping that he would share his story with other children and so find a cure against this horrible noisy bug. Unfortunately this wasn’t a help at all, the bug grew stronger and made him choose the piano as instrument to express his distress.

His First Full-Scale Musical

At the age of 12 the doctors decided it would be better for him to enter the Lemmensinstituut (an elite music college) where he would be under constant supervision of some of Belgium’s best musicians. It was here that he wrote his first full-scale musical “Poor Martin!” and the pantomime “Who Knows Where…” What the doctors couldn’t foresee was that now Steve had access to an unlimited amount of instruments, “why not go for the biggest one in the world?”, the bug whispered in his ear… so he chose pipe-organ.

After 5 years “piping-the-organ” he became bored of it and as soon as he received his first prizes in music history/ analysis/theory and sight reading, Steve went for the “smallest” instrument in the universe: “The Human Voice”! “Open your mouth, noise comes out, it’s simple as that”, he thought. He was wrong. Continuing his studies now at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, he focused his training on Opera, Composition, Conducting and Orchestrating. Long days…short nights…working towards his Master Degrees… During his study in Brussels he composed and conducted several pieces for orchestra, piano, voice and wrote/directed two more children’s musicals: “Pickpockets” and “The land of Falado”, a musical performed by 350 children! Steve realized that the bug would never leave him alone. This was confirmed one early morning in November 1999 after he received a phone call from the Flemish Radio Choir to offer him a permanent position as first tenor.

CD Recordings

The next two years the bug made him do very silly things, like performing with the Radio Choir, Huelgas ensemble, make various CD recordings, start his own company “Shomunt” (a company specialising in shows/music and entertainment on demand), oratorio, Lieder recitals, absurd theatre,… but it was after performing in several operas that his distressed parents decided the bug had crossed the line. They asked the best doctor in Belgium for his advice. “I’m very sorry”, he said, “but there is only ONE thing we can do with someone suffering of a musical/absurd humour disease: deportation and isolation!” “Hum, there are only TWO things we can do with someone….”, he corrected himself, “deportation, relocation and isolation!” So they sent him to an island. (Steve again, not the doctor!)

While in England, Steve continued his quest to find other victims of the music bug. He disguised himself as Don Jose in Carmen, as Anichino in Beatrice di Tenda, infiltrated Opera Holland Park, but no one shared the same symptoms. So he started to compose and play the piano for children’s ballet classes at Vacani, Marylebone Ballet school, Chelsea Ballet School and Queen’s College Preparatory School. It was for the latter that Steve composed/produced and directed his first West End production, the musical “Shadows”, which premiered in Bloomsbury theatre in June 2005. And suddenly there it was… a tiny ad in a newspaper…: “wanted: classically trained high tenor, with good sense of humour…please bring a piece of music keeping that in mind” “Nah, nothing for me, I don’t have British humour”, Steve thought. “Just stop whining and do the audition!”, the bug yipped in his head.. So Steve went – reluctantly – to the audition and sang the wonderful aria “I never harmed an onion”, by Ralph the dog of the Muppet Show. And he got the job as high tenor with Cantabile…(of course it was the audition for Cantabile, what else had you expected??) Steve had finally found three other victims infected by the music/comedy bug, and together they will make sure that plenty of other people will get bitten during their concerts, and so spread a world of music and joy.

The End

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