BA(Hons.) MMus QTS
Mark was brought up in Dudley, West Midlands and studied piano with Molly Childs. He then went on to read music at the Universities of Roehampton and East Anglia. Whilst in London, he studied piano with Peter Croser and organ with Richard Stangroom. It was his work with the latter that led to a deep and abiding interest in Choral Conducting and a Master of Music Degree in Choral and Orchestral Conducting.


As an accompanist, he was an organ scholar at three London colleges. He has worked with teachers at both the Royal Academy and the Royal College of Music. He has appeared at the Wigmore Hall and many other well known venues in and around London.


As a conductor, he has also appeared at many London venues conducting both choirs and orchestras and has worked with such notable conductors as Owain Arwell Hughes, Jeremy Jackman and Kuno Areng.


Calvin became the principal accompanist for the SEMVC in January 2017. Prior to that, since 2000, he was the deputy accompanist, joining the Choir for many of their concerts and tours.


He is privileged to have worked with Mark Jefferson for the Irving Stage Company and Bury Operatic Society, playing keyboards in the orchestra pit for various musical theatre shows.


His enthusiasm and flair for improvisation together with Mark’s artistry and musicianship brings new life to the Choir’s repertoire, as well as introducing more modern and contemporary pieces with the aim to encourage younger members to join.


His main profession is working for the Classical Ballet Faculty as a ballet accompanist for vocational students at Performers College in Essex, one of the main dance and musical theatre colleges in the country. He also works for Dance East in Ipswich for the Centre of Advanced Training in Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and for the Royal Ballet School Primary Steps outreach programme in Bury St Edmunds. He is a registered accompanist for the ISTD and the RAD. He often works as a company pianist playing for company class for Sir Matthew Bourne’s Red Shoe Company when they are on tour around the country.


Other engagements include playing lounge piano at the Lavenham Swan, and accompanist for the Jubilee Ladies Choir in Stowmarket.


Simon Shirm started playing the guitar in a school rock band called Dry Ice in Barnet, north London aged 14. Dry Ice supported both the Stranglers and Charlie in concert before the band broke up and Simon played jazz guitar for a number of years around the hotels of London. Simon didn’t play guitar for many years but now is part of a local cover band named Quaff as well as supporting other local musicians. His contact with SEMVC started when he was part of an act at one of our ‘Sing for your supper’ events which are held every year. He now performs with us regularly.