She's played with a range of jazz groups, wind orchestras, function bands and for shows such as Guys and Dolls, Chicago and Bugsy Malone, but it's big band playing that is Helena's first love. She joined the Lancashire Students' Jazz Orchestra as a teenager, first on tenor sax and then moving to baritone, and there Helena developed a love for belting out a beefy bari bass-line, and as the rest of the band will tell you, she certainly doesn't shy away from those low notes!
Singing with the band is something relatively new for Helena. Having previously sung in choirs and on backing vocals in various bands, she knew she could hold a tune but never had the confidence to sing lead. With the support and encouragement of the band, she stepped out from behind the bari and is now one of the lead vocalists with the big band. She also sings backing for the other vocalists, and even does the odd song with the wind orchestra. There's no stopping her!
"There's no feeling quite like being on stage entertaining a crowd of people, watching them dance and sing along to the band. It's such a buzz and I'm so proud to be part of such a great group of musicians. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with GMP - not only do I get to do something I love, I get huge satisfaction from helping charities and communities across the North West."
Helena works in Communications for the Environment Agency. In addition to volunteering with GMP, she is a keen baker and runs the Manchester North branch of the Clandestine Cake Club. She occasionally blogs about her baking exploits, and she also runs the GMP band website!
You can follow Helena on Twitter @HelenaHellie