About Us

Riff Raff choir is run by Elaine Wilson. The current Riff Raff teachers are Elaine, Oli Poole (who joined in September 2013). Douglas V. Watts (who joined in February 2014), Jessica Samuel (who joined in September 2016), Louise Hunt (who joined in June 2017), Dan Pate (who joined in September 2017) and Peter Relph (who joined in September 2017). Julie Radnedge is the Riff Raff administrator and completes the Riff Raff team.

The majority of song arrangements sung by the choir are arranged by the Riff Raff teachers. There is a song suggestion box in the Members' Area, so the choir influence the songs the choir sings. For details of past and present repertoire and arrangers, please click on Repertoire in the menu above.

Riff Raff was originally co-founded by Elaine Wilson and Joe Blench in March 2010 with just one group in Clifton. Since then Riff Raff choir has gone from strength to strength, starting the Southville group in September 2010, the Bishopston group in January 2013, the Fishponds group in October 2014 and the Redland group in June 2017. Joe left Riff Raff in July 2013 to pursue other ventures.

The Riff Raff team bring a wealth of technical know-how to rehearsals, and they are always happy to answer questions about any aspect of singing.

Riff Raff has regular socials and is a friendly choir. We also encourage members to stay behind for a drink in the pub after choir if they'd like to. We have around 300 members over the various sessions ranging in age from 15 to 70, although the majority of the choir are in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Elaine, co-founder & director, will teach the Bishopston & Fishponds groups this term.

Elaine runs Riff Raff full-time and has taught all the groups at some point. She also runs and teaches on Sing Your Socks Off holidays. In the past, she's taught singing privately and performed with many singing groups. She has a PhD in Maths, is a qualified hypnotherapist and accountant! Her passion for music has outlasted it all.

She believes everyone should have fun singing and loves the enthusiasm of everyone involved in Riff Raff.

Oli teaches the Clifton & Southville groups.

Oli completed his BA and MA degrees in Music at the University of Bristol; he is Musical Director of Footlights Performance Academy and a Choir Leader of Handfuls of Harmony. He performs as a solo pianist and vocalist, teaches private music lessons, and has also been the Musical Director of many of the Bristol University Pantomime Society shows.

Oli loves the exuberance of Riff Raff and throws everything into his role.

Louise will teach the Southville, Clifton & Redland groups this term.

Louise studied Music at Southampton University and spent a couple of years in London pursuing music before moving to Bristol in summer 2015. Louise is a vocalist in function bands, duos and gospel choirs and teaches private vocal lessons. Most recently, she has been developing an original jazz/soul project, We Are Leif.

Louise has never wanted to do anything other than sing and always hopes she can inspire others with her passion for it!

Dan will teach the Bishopston & Redland groups this term.

Dan is Head of Music at Bristol Free School where he leads a range of vocal and instrumental ensemble groups. He studied Music Technology at LIPA, moving to Bristol in 2011 (when he also became a member of Riff Raff!). He has performed in many different groups, and is currently singing with Elaine and Oli in The Minor Setbacks.

Dan is always excited about getting people singing together and loves the fun and social atmosphere of a Riff Raff rehearsal.

Peter will teach the Fishponds group this term.

Peter Relph is an award-winning composer and his music is published by GIA publications. Peter studied for an M.Phil. at the University of Cambridge, before commencing his PhD at the University of Bristol. From 2016, he has been a member of the Senior Common Room, and Director of Music at Wills Hall, University of Bristol.

Peter loves all things singing and enjoys the communal, fun atmosphere at Riff Raff.

Julie sings in the Clifton group & has been the choir administrator since Feb 2013.

Julie is the person to contact for all choir-related issues. She is not from a musical background and sang for the first time in public when she joined Riff Raff at the beginning of 2012! Julie is also a photographer and makes & sells cards using her images.

Julie loves singing and believes it helps build self-confidence.

Doug taught the Bishopston & Fishponds groups from Feb 2014 to Jul 2017.

He read Music at the University of Bristol and now conducts Bitton Community Choir, the South Gloucestershire Carers’ Choir, he is Musical Director of Footlights Performance Academy, runs voice workshops and performs as a soloist for ensembles and choirs.

Doug loves being a part of Riff Raff, particularly when there’s an opportunity to throw in a dance move here or there.

Jess taught the Bishopston & Fishponds groups from Sep 2016 to Jul 2017.

Jess is a professional singer and performer who trained at the presitgious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, founded by Paul McCartney. Having moved to Bristol from London, she is now co-teaching Gasworks Choir as well as gigging across the country in various bands.

Jess loves the power of music and believes a good sing can do wonders for the soul!

Clare taught the Redland group in the summer term of 2017.

Clare completed a BMus and GradDipEd at the University of Melbourne, where she studied classical piano. She then turned her fingers to jazz gigging around Australia in a 5 piece combo. She moved to the UK in 2008 and turned her talents to choral direction, working with community choirs and the Military Wives Choir.

Clare believes singing brings people together, and can bring such a sense of well-being and connection to everyone involved in a choir.

Helen taught the Bishopston and Fishponds groups from May 2014 to Mar 2015 & Jan 2016 to Jul 2016.

She studied singing at the University of Leeds and Enschede Conservatory (NL) and is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. She teaches singing at Bristol Grammar School and is involved in projects with choirs such as the Chamber Choir of Europe.

She believes that everyone's voice has the potential to be beautiful and that singing, especially in a group, can be a true pleasure.

Leo taught the Bishopston & Fishponds groups from Apr 2015 to Dec 2015.

Leo is a professional recording and performing artist who also teaches singing privately. From a very musical background she has performed across the UK and Europe in bands and solo projects. Leo specialises in jazz, blues and pop music but loves to explore all musical genres.

Leo believes the sense of community found in Riff Raff is an absolute delight and something to be admired.

Carrie taught the Bishopston group at its inception from Jan 2013 to Feb 2014.

Carrie has played in a covers bands and sung at open mic nights. She also started The Carrie Freeman Band performing a mixture of covers and her own songs. She joined Naked Voices , a 16-part a cappella group, at its inception and met both Joe and Elaine through the group.

Carrie thinks singing is a fabulous way to relax.

Joe was the co-founder of Riff Raff choir and taught the Clifton & Southville groups from Mar 2010 to Sep 2013.

Joe has been a professional musician since 1999, performing with: The Twelve Tenors; the Eskys; and Naked Voices, along with Elaine. He has previously worked as a voice coach at the Centre for Voice, the Bristol Academy of Performing Arts and Stagecoach.