Staff Management Team

Nicole O’Donnell – Chief Executive

Nicole joined NCCGB as Chief Executive in October 2019, having worked in both the commercial and charitable sectors during her career. Nicole spent many years working as a Project Manager before switching to the charity sector. She joined NCCGB directly from the Oxfordshire Playing Fields Association where she was instrumental in helping to improve community facilities for young people across the county.

Nicole accepted the opportunity to join NCCGB as she particularly liked the ethos and aims of the choir. She is committed to enabling our young people to develop and extend their experiences. Nicole is fully behind the holistic approach of NCCGB. Equal importance is placed on excellent quality music teaching, allowing young singers to develop their singing under the tutelage of experienced and inspirational teachers, and on high quality pastoral care. This enables our choristers to have opportunities to develop socially, and make friends for life, whilst also having fun. Nicole will continue to put this at the heart of her work for NCCGB.

Nicole is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day management of NCCGB, working closely with the Board of Trustees and the staff management team.

Dan Ludford-Thomas – Musical Director

Dan enjoys a busy schedule as a conductor, chorus master and singing teacher in London. He directs a wide variety of choirs from professional ensembles, church choirs, chamber choirs and large symphonic choruses. He performs regularly in major concert venues across the country including Birmingham Symphony Hall and The Royal Albert Hall. In 2012 he conducted over 300 singers and the Forest Philharmonic in a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Royal Festival Hall. In 2014 he conducted over 200 singers in a performance of Verdi’s Requiem in the Fairfield Halls, returning with the same forces to put on Mendelssohn’s Elijah in 2016. In 2017 he conducted over 300 Singers and the London Mozart Players in a performance of Bach’s B minor Mass at the Royal Festival Hall.

Dan was the Chorus Master for the Choir of the Enlightenment, preparing them to sing Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Marin Alsop at the 2013 BBC Proms. He returned as Chorus Master for Marin, preparing the Choir of the Enlightenment to perform Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody and Triumphlied at the 2015 BBC Proms. In 2018, Dan returned to assist Marin, preparing the Choir of the Enlightenment for 2 performances of Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem with the OAE, the second of which took place at the Royal Festival Hall and was subsequently broadcast on Radio 3.

In 2012 Dan worked as a choirmaster on BBC2’s The Choir: Sing While You Work and then became the Artistic Director of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir enjoying success as the co-producer and musical director for the Choir’s 2015 Christmas Number One Bridge Over You. He returned in 2013 to work on BBC2’s The Choir: Sing While You Work series 2 as choirmaster to Citibank Choir, with whom he has continued as the Musical Director; highlights include performing at the Hammersmith Apollo and a series of concerts in New York. In 2015 Dan worked behind the scenes as choirmaster for The Choir: Gareth Malone’s Great Choir Reunion.

Dan is currently Head of Vocal Studies at Dulwich College, Musical Director of Concordia Chamber Choir, Musical Director of The Hackney Singers, and Director of Music of Lewisham Choral Society.

Dan joined the NCCGB staff in 2012, since when he has conducted both the Senior Choir and the Tour Choirs. In September 2018, Dan was delighted to take up the post of Musical Director of the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain.


Harriet Smith – Head of Pastoral Care and Designated Safeguarding Lead

Harriet has a long association with the National Children’s Choir, going back over 20 years to when she joined the choir at age 11. Since then she has sung with both the junior and senior choirs and been employed by NCCGB as a Pastoral Carer, Singing Teacher and Assistant Conductor. She is now delighted to be taking up the post of Head of Pastoral Care and Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Outside of NCCGB, Harriet works as a Head of Year, Music Teacher and Designated Safeguarding Officer at a large secondary school in Lincoln. She very much enjoys the pastoral care side of her job and ensuring that all young people are given the support they need to achieve to the very best of their capabilities.

Harriet has a particular interest in mental health and is trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is looking forward to getting to know all the members of NCCGB and supporting them to enjoy all the courses and opportunities that are open to them.



Nicole, Dan and Harriet head up our team of talented and inspirational music and pastoral staff, who are all committed to ensuring that our young choristers get the most out of their time with us.