An opera singing hair stylist who once sang with Aled Jones will be swapping her scissors for a microphone as she serenades clients at a salon’s grand reopening.
Mezzo Soprano Faith Reade, who works for the Francesco Group hair salon in Chester, will be hitting the high notes when she performs a range of opera classics to mark the salon’s jubilant return to its Bridge Street premises later this autumn.
The basement of the salon was devastated by a flood a year ago this October which prompted a major refurbishment project to restore it to its former glory.
During the building work, the salon temporarily switched business to a vacant hairdressing unit in Watergate Street and staff and clients are looking forward to toasting their triumphant return during a glamourous celebration party.
Apprentice hairdresser Faith, 20, who is tipped to become a top stylist by her bosses, is currently combining her on-the-job training with an intensive eight-week course at the Francesco Group Stafford Academy in Stafford but few of her staff, trainers and clients are aware of her secret singing talent.
The former Upton High School pupil, who lives in Hoole, joined Chester Cathedral Choir at the age of 10 and has performed on television on countless occasions over the years – including a live appearance on BBC1 on Christmas Day – as well as travelling across Europe with the choir.
She has also sung alongside Welsh singer Aled Jones, best known for ‘Walking in the Air’ – the song from the children’s animation classic The Snowman – in Chester Cathedral and has regularly sung on BBC Radio 4.
Now that her voice has reached maturity, Faith continues to sing with Chester Cathedral Nave Choir and is looking forward to bringing her operatic talents to an unsuspecting audience.
“I don’t tend to tell a lot of people about my singing,” admitted Faith, who originally embarked on midwifery training at West Cheshire College in Ellesmere Port before changing her mind to hairdressing.
“I guess I don’t like to sing my praises too much. An old boss once asked me to sing to his customers a week before Christmas. The shock on their faces was a picture – they didn’t expect a hairdresser to be able to sing opera and they were quite surprised.
“I’m a little bit nervous about doing it again but also excited. I’ve sung solos in the cathedral and I know how to calm my nerves so I think it’ll be ok.
“There will be quite a few people there but I already have a few things in mind to sing.”
Her boss and Francesco Group Chester salon director Matt Haylor said: “Faith is our very own little superstar and it is always great to have such talented members on your team.
“Faith is showing a lot of promise in her training to be a fully qualified stylist with us and so it appears she has a lot of talent both on and off the stage.
“I think we will all be hugely proud of her performance at the grand opening of our newly refurbished salon later this year which we are all so pleased to return to.”
Faith, who also plays the piano and has performed regularly alongside other UK-based choirs including Manchester and Liverpool Cathedral Choirs, said her most memorable experience as a chorister was performing live in La Madeleine Church in Paris.
“It’s like a different world when you’re there and singing,” said the former head chorister.
“Singing live on television has also been another highlight of my life so far and singing with Aled Jones. He was very down to earth and really genuine.
“He performed ‘Walking in the Air’ from The Snowman and we were able to sing different songs with him. I was only 10 or 11 at the time but it was really good.
“I always loved singing in assembly when I was younger and singing hymns. My grandmother introduced me to choir singing and suggested I join Chester Cathedral Choir and that’s really how I got into it.”
Faith is due to fully qualify as a stylist in March and currently spends Tuesdays through to Thursdays on her course in Stafford, while Saturdays are reserved for the Chester salon.
“Music has always been in the background, but I’ve also always had a passion for hair. I used to do my friends’ ‘prom’ hair or bridesmaids’ hair,” she said.
“I love it. The people I work with are so lovely and we all work so well as a team. We all get along.
“We’ve all pulled through a difficult time and we’ve all stuck together. Everyone is just really looking forward to getting back to our former salon which is going to look fantastic.”
For more information about Francesco Group Chester, go to www.francescogroup.co.uk/salons/chester.php