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The other side of life: Anne Jones, category manager at Waitrose

Published:  16 November, 2016

Just like the extra-curricular activities many of our children get stuck into after school, having time to unwind or pursue other interests can bring extra energy and inspiration to our passionate industry.

In this month's Other Side of Life feature, we spoke to Anne Jones, category manager for wines, beers and spirits for Waitrose about how wine, women, singing - and The Hobbit - all bring back special memories. 

Did you find music, or did music find you?

I started as a small child. Mum's a piano teacher and I got involved in a choir early on. I won a choral scholarship to study music at university and I was in the choral society, and my specialism is in early music. I sang with a group called Tenebrae while at university and for some years after, doing lots of tours.

What gigs have you had since?

I've done cruise ships, all sorts of tours, session work on film soundtracks - I've done some dreadful films - but I love that for films you go into Abbey Road...

I worked with a choir that did Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and also a track for Gladiator the Musical, which never made it to release. And I did backing vocals for a hip-hop group called Deltron 3030, which involved a major stage at Glastonbury.

Is your singing life all film biz and rock 'n' roll?

No, I have Sunday singing job, I sing at the Royal Military Chapel on Birdcage Walk. But I also do various bouts of ad-hoc singing, mostly choral and classical.

I've just come back from tour, two weeks in the Middle East, where I do a lot of work with a group out there with Palestinian children and choirs, and we help run a bursary to bring talented Palestinian children over here. It's called Choir of London, I started doing it back in 2004 and then every year or so I've been out for a another tour.

Are wine and song a good fit?

I started working for Waitrose while doing my finals, and by a selection of happy accidents ended up in the wine-buying team in 2008. I was in the wine society at university - I always said wine and music go really well together!

What does your singing future hold?

I've performed at some of the greatest venues in the world, particularly from a classical perspective, and I'm lucky to sing at a top level while maintaining a great job. So I'd like to continue having a really varied repertoire and experience, combining wine and song. And doing backing vocals for Skin Contact, of course, is fantastic fun. It's really nice to perform with friends in the trade.

... in association with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte