Craig McLeish has been Musical Director of Young Voices UK for over 19 years, composing, selecting and arranging a varied programme of music for large school choirs to sing together in arenas across the UK with live band and solo artists. He has directed many of the UK’s top artists including Beverley Knight, Tony Hadley, Candy Staton, All Angels, Mavis Staples, Alexandra Burke, Miss Dynamite, Katie Melua, Lemar and many more. Young Voices have expanded internationally and Craig’s arrangements are sung by children in Germany, South Africa, Trinidad and the USA.
Craig is the director of the Milton Keynes Community Choir and Milton Keynes Youth Choir and also a new classical venture entitled TGI Choir.
He is gaining reputation as an innovative and energising workshop leader for team building and staff engagement activities. Recently working with school trusts, guest choirs and the Association of British Choral Directors.
‘I’ve Known Rivers’ is a recently published work to words by Langston Hughes, along with ‘Gaelic Blessing’ for upper voices. July 2018 saw 3 world premieres: A new community choir work for the 50th Anniversary of Milton Keynes entitled ‘Diver-City’, ‘Sing Again’ to commemorate the 21st birthday of Milton Keynes Community Choir, and ‘Bicycle Bellero’ for the MK International Festival. In 2020 a new work for upper voices ‘Beyond The Horizon’ will be performed in both Plymouth UK and USA to mark 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower.
ChoirCommunity.net is Craig’s own website which enables choirs to access his own arrangements as well as those of carefully selected UK based arrangers. The addition of individual learning tracks for each voice part is a huge part of its growing success and it has received a warm welcome from the choral world.
Moo Music is one of the UK’s leading pre-school music education sessions for 0-5 years. Over 125 original catchy songs have been created by Craig with more on the way for 2020.
Craig’s musical life began as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral under Barry Rose, and was the first treble to be chosen to sing solo at the prestigious annual Messiah. He began composing at the age of 10 and his Responses for 4 trebles are sung to this day.
After a degree at York University he returned to London to study at the Guildhall and sang again at St Paul’s as a tenor. At the time he was also arranging and copying music for West End shows such as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, and played bass guitar for various groups. This led to a spell in the cult pop band ‘Fat & Frantic’, who shaved the top 100 twice with the whimsical anthem ‘Last night my wife hoovered my head’. He also worked as musical assistant for David Heneker (Half a Sixpence) and David Fanshawe (African Sanctus).
Craig has recently been commissioned by schools to help them write songs with children engaging fully in the process. It is something that Craig is passionate about, as is evident from this recent quote:
'Craig, thank you so much for coming in to work with us. The song went round the staff WhatsApp group at 6.45 this morning and was played to the children in assembly. The Year 3s and 4s were so excited to sing along and very proud of what they had achieved. This will definitely be a song that we song for many years! We absolutely love it!' - ‘Didcot Primary’