Meet the team

Sarah Browne

Dr Sarah Browne

Sarah is head of Shropshire Music Service. Having first trained as a pianist and vocalist, Sarah has worked extensively as a conductor, arranger, musical director, and educator. She began her career in education teaching music in primary, secondary schools and sixth forms, before successfully managing large performing arts and media departments in the further and higher education sectors. Sarah has published several articles, and her first book Staging Rebellion in the Musical, Hair was released in September 2022.

  • Passionate about: providing music-making opportunities for children and young people
  • Favourite composers/performers: Jason Robert Brown, Sting
  • Loves: snorkelling, Star Wars, cats
Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson is business manager for Shropshire Music Service. She has worked for the service as finance and administrative manager for 14 years. Sarah started her accountancy qualifications in 2003 after studying business at college. She has always loved to sing and has been a member of numerous choirs.

Sarah strongly believes music should be part of every child’s journey and is particularly passionate about promoting music for those with additional needs. 

  • Passionate about: my family
  • Favourite performers: Pink, Adele
  • Loves: dogs, aeroplanes and motorsports

Vin Whyte

Vin Whyte is senior music technician at Shropshire Music Service. He has previously worked as a music technician and facilitator in the FE sector, a teacher of guitar, as well as a freelance live sound and studio engineer. 

  • Passionate about: music education
  • Favourite composer: Don Van Vliet
  • Loves: playing guitar
Karen Kirkland

Karen Kirkland

Karen is lead teacher for performance and events. Karen is a professional musician, published composer, and teacher. She began her teaching career in secondary education before joining the music service. Having first trained as a pianist and woodwind specialist, Karen is now a multi-instrumentalist, conductor, arranger, and choral director, teaching across all areas of the music service, in primary, secondary and further education settings. 

  • Passionate about: providing the highest quality music education and performance opportunities for young people
  • Favourite composers: John Williams and Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Loves: golf, my family (most of the time), dogs

Dr Elly Hughes

Elly is lead teacher for teaching and learning. With an interest in songwriting and sound recording at school, Elly studied acoustic engineering at the world-leading Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. She began teaching primary music, singing and piano in Cornwall, highlighted through work with English Touring Opera, iOrchestra and professional Samba Mestre Sean Hooper. Elly works across a wide range of educational settings in Shropshire, from EY nurseries to sixth form, leads Shropshire Youth Choir, and has a particular interest in SEND and inclusive music education.

  • Passionate about: people
  • Favourite band: Living Colour
  • Loves: sushi and The Scottish Colourists

Julie Lewis

Julie is our events co-ordinator and administrator. She's been working for Shropshire Council since 2005 and has been an administrator with Shropshire Music Service for the last five years.

Julie co-ordinates all music service events and is currently learning to play the drums.

  • Passionate about: growing her own veg
  • Favourite Composer: Paul Weller
  • Loves: dogs, sewing and swimming

Emma Wilding

Emma is an administrative assistant for Shropshire Music Service. She has worked for the music service since 2014. Once a student learning the oboe with a music service teacher, she was delighted to return to Shropshire Music Service to work alongside some of her old teachers!

  • Passionate about: her children 
  • Favourite band: You Me At Six
  • Loves: cake, plants, lie ins! 

Mike Clowes

Mike is an administrative assistant and peripatetic music teacher. He has worked as a freelance musician in the past and is now focused on working in education.

  • Passionate about: developing young musicians
  • Favourite band: Rage Against the Machine