Sarah-Ann’s first professional gig was soloing Faure’s Pie Jesu aged 13 years
old in the village of Barrow-Upon-Soar. She was paid in flowers which, at a
time before smart phones, seemed quite marvellous. After completing her
music degree, posies seemed less financially sensible and to accompan her
weekend Oratorio solo engagements she completed her PGCE and accepted
a position running a Secondary School Music Department in Walsall (West
Midlands). Here, thanks to 1200 fantastic, "in her face" teenagers she trained
her first (but not last) Award Winning Vocal Ensemble. In her fourth year her
sixth formers gave her a leaving card which said:
Follow your dreams where ever they go
Nurture them, Care for them,
let them flow.
Upon reading it, she cried, went to the Head's office, knocked on the
A new life as an Opera Singer and a Grass Roots Choir conductor
Up-skilling from a weekend Oratorio performer to a full time Opera singer at
Birmingham Conservatoire was a brutal transition. No alcohol, no passive
smoking ('Adieu' Saturday night clubbing) no caffeine, no fatty foods.
However, Sarah-Ann’s diligence was rewarded with a Birmingham
Conservatoire Oratorio Prize and Birmingham Festival Recital prize. After
graduating (again) she sang for the Japanese Embassy in Paris, performed in
the critically acclaimed Birmingham Opera Company’s Othello (aired on BBC
2) with Graham Vick and Stephan Barlow and Pitti Sing-ed in a sell out
Mikado at Bristol’s Colsten Hall. She soloed alongside Royal Opera House’s
Rodney Earl Clarke, West End Star Rhydian and BBCs Catherine Bott (OK so
it was only one solo musical line with Mrs Bott but it was an EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT ONE!). Alongside rehearsals and performances Sarah-Ann
continued to train Grass Roots Choirs. She was awarded choral conducting
scholarships with Stephen Jackson of the BBC Chorus and Master Clases
with international conductor David Lawrence. Sarah-Ann conducted her
second Award Winning Choir at The Magic of Music at the Royal Albert Hall.
The choir was subsequently flown out to Gratz to represent England at the
World Choir Games.
Sarah-Ann Cromwell: Diva is born!
Sarah-Ann wanted to share Music’s giggles with a different audience. She
wrote, produced and starred in the cabaret: Diva Gigs: A Week in the Life of a
Diva and toured it round the UK's festivals culminating at the Edinburgh
Fringe. She attracted Monmouth Festival's largest Classical audience, had
sold out venues in Birmingham and Ludlow and returned with 4 star reviews
(one from London Time Out no less) Buxton’s Spirit of the Fringe Award,
Cheese n Crackers 2014 prize and became Britain's First Award Winning
Operatic Comedian: Diva!
The London Quartet
Enjoying this music/comedy mash up Sarah-Ann pondered what to do next.
An audition appeared in her inbox from a Quartet in London looking for a
Soprano. She started to type up her extremely sensible Operatic CV. A
thought struck her, she deleted her personal statement and typed:
If you are looking for a cardboard cut out soprano with tits, teeth and
zero personality....I’m probably not the best Diva to call........
The three gentlemen saw the funny side and Sarah-Ann started learning
music as the Cantabile’s 1st Lady Soprano!