Our Music Director
Benjamin Gaughran BMus PGCE MA FRSM MMus
Hailing from the United Kingdom with ancestry from Trinidad and Tobago, British-Caribbean conductor Benjamin Gaughran (pronounced [gɔk-rən] / ‘gohk-ran’) began his musical studies as a pianist, spending several years as an accompanist for a variety of choirs and musical theatre companies as well as giving solo performances. During this time, he studied voice with British opera singer Margaret Preece and BBC Singers member, Graham Titus. His performance as a singer have comprised both classical and musical theatre contexts, including the role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Artful Dodger in Oliver! Benjamin has enjoyed singing with many choirs including The City of Birmingham Choir, The Royal Holloway Chorus, and more recently, The University of Michigan Chamber Choir.
Benjamin earned a Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree from Royal Holloway, University of London where he began his career as a choral conductor. Mentored by Rupert Gough, he was the first student conductor of the Royal Holloway Founder’s Choir and also conducted The Royal Holloway Early Music Ensemble and Singers. In addition to these and other university conducting positions, Benjamin has conducted a variety of community choirs, public school choirs, musical theatre companies and other ensembles across the United Kingdom and in the US. He has been fortunate enough to study with some of England’s finest choral conductors including Amy Bebbington, Manvinder Rattan and Sarah Tenant-Flowers.
Alongside his music experience, Benjamin has extensive experience as a senior school leader and administrator (MA) as well as arts administration management and leadership roles.
Benjamin has held several church music posts within a variety of denominations ranging from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Catholic tradition and currently the First Congregational tradition. He was a Church Organist/Pianist, Director of Music and Choir Director in congregations across the United Kingdom for nearly 20 years before moving to the US. Benjamin is currently the Director of Music at The First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor having previously served as the Minister of Music in The First Congregational Church of Chelsea.
Conductor. Educator. Artist.
As an active choral conductor, Benjamin was previously the music director of The University of Michigan’s (U-M) prison outreach choir, Out of the Blue, assistant conductor of The University Choir and conductor of The Michigan Youth Chamber Singers. He has also been the Opera Chorus Master at U-M. He is currently an associate conductor of The Orpheus Singers and music director of the Arts Chorale and conductor of The Women’s Glee Club at U-M. In the community, Benjamin is the music director of the Women’s Chamber Chorus based in Ann Arbor. He is often invited to guest conduct at choral camps and programs in the US. As a certified teacher (PGCE), he regularly works as a clinician at local schools in Michigan and adjudicates at choral festivals across the state.
Benjamin is a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music (FRSM) in Choral Conducting- a prestigious position held by a select number of people in the United Kingdom and abroad. He completed his master of music degree (MMus) in choral conducting at U-M and has the distinct pleasure of continuing his doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting with Dr. Eugene Rogers at U-M.
Inclusivity. Excellence. Inspiration.
Benjamin’s approach in his work as a choral conductor has always been to ensure all people feel included regardless of their musical experience or background. He sets high standards and strives for excellence in all the ensembles he leads. Through his methods he inspires those he works with to realize and achieve their potential.
Outside of his love of music, Benjamin considers his role as husband to Kerry and father to five beautiful children to be his paramount responsibility. Along with spending time with his family, he enjoys learning to cook traditional food from his ancestral home of Trinidad. Benjamin and his family love to travel, eat good food, play games and generally enjoy life!
For more information about Benjamin, please visit: www.benjamingaughran.com