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Singer Stephen Hits The High Notes

Posted on: 05/03/2018

A bus driver who admits to belting out classics at the wheel when he has no passengers on board is heading to India to sing with the famed Bournemouth Symphony Chorus.

Stephen Ballantine, 31, who has driven for Yellow Buses for nine years, is one of the star vocalists in the choir.

The bus company helped enable him to go on the concert tour by changing his rotas so he could rehearse and giving him the time off for the trip.

The tenor will now sing in concerts in Mumbai and Jaipur accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of India.

He will be singing masterpieces by composers including Beethoven, Haydn and Handel.

Stephen is not the first bus driver to find his vocals in his vehicle – legendary 1960s’ crooner Matt Monro drove buses in London before he found fame.

Stephen said: “I started with the Dorset Youth Choir when I was ten and that became the Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus.

“I have been singing with the adult Chorus for some years now and the opportunity to tour India was something too good to miss out on.

“I do sing in my bus when there is no one on it, but passengers might get a bit annoyed if I sang when they were on board.

“I really am grateful to Yellow Buses for helping me out and giving me the necessary leave to take part in the tour.”

Carolyn Date, Chorus Manager, said: “Stephen is a wonderful tenor – and they are hard to find.

“We toured India in 2015 and they have invited us back and we will be performing in two of the great cities.

“To do tours like this requires employers to be helpful and understanding and Yellow Buses have really assisted Stephen.”

Fiona Harwood, from Yellow Buses, said: “We have always supported the arts and have a gallery bus and poetry bus in service.

“We also try and help our staff where we can and are delighted that Stephen is travelling with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus.”

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