Jayne May-Sysum

About Jayne
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Born in Eastern Green, Coventry, Jayne lived in the Midlands until she was 11. Then, she and her family moved first to Warwick and then Leamington Spa. It was evident from a young age that Jayne was very musical. At school, she was a member of the choir, the madrigal group and she played several instruments – violin, recorder, guitar and the piano. However, her initial study on leaving school was far removed from music. She actually went to Loughborough University, graduating with BSc Hons in Banking & Finance. For those of you who know Jayne, you won’t be surprised to read Jayne’s perspective on this …

"Being at University was fantastic. I had a great time and met wonderful friends. Memories of happy times there will stay with me for good BUT (and this is not meant as any insult for those in the banking industry!) Banking and Finance is definitely NOT something that fires me!!"

Having said that, she has absolutely no regrets. If she hadn’t gone to Loughborough University, she would not have worked during her year-out at Barclays Bank, Leamington Spa AND she would not have met there a certain man. That certain man became and is her best friend and husband, Philip.
After Loughborough, Jayne took up a career in the pensions industry with the then Noble Lowndes. It was a successful career but again, not the place for Jayne long term. Whilst working for Noble Lowndes, Jayne joined a local amateur operatic group and began taking singing lessons with Stuart Smith in Leamington Spa. THIS, Jayne soon discovered, was where her heart lay. She was soon winning in festival competitions in Warwickshire and the West Midlands and taking lead roles in a number of operatic and musical productions. Jayne remembers very well the day when she knew she just had to pursue this path. She recalls telling Stuart Smith that she really wanted to give it her very best shot to become professional.

"I remember feeling on the one hand nervous of what I was about to ask him but on the other, so very determined. I just said exactly how I felt and asked his opinion. If he felt I was deluding myself, I asked him to be honest and just tell me. His response – ‘You should go for it!’ That was all I needed to hear."

From there, it all happened quite quickly. Jayne was playing Casilda in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. In the audience there happened to be none other than John Mitchinson who, at that time, was Head of Vocal Studies at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. A message got through to Jayne that she should audition and so, off she went to Cardiff, sang for John Mitchinson, and was offered a place at the College on the same day. She has not looked back.
Since then, she has amassed a wealth of experience and repertoire performing in opera, operetta, oratorio, as well as in musical shows. It is a life she adores and whilst getting there has required much stamina, patience and hard work, she also knows that she is very blessed.

"How many people are able to say that their work is also just the greatest pleasure? I sing for my supper. You can’t call that work. can you?!"