The accolade came as a complete surprise to the musical maestro, whose passion for music began at a very young age. “I absolutely love what I do and I have been fortunate and indeed privileged to be able to create a career out of my passion,” said Ashley. “For my work to be recognised and acknowledged by London College of Music is a wonderful accolade, and one that I am honoured to receive.”
Ashley is also founder and director of Adoro, a spectacular group of talented singers who all trained with Ashley and who regularly captivate audiences with their impressive vocal talents.
“My career has certainly been varied but I would have to say that the one part that has brought me the most pleasure over the years is working with students to develop their voices, supporting them through the examination process and ultimately seeing them realise their dreams,” said Ashley.
Being a catalyst at the start of a young person’s career is a pleasure and privilege. Seeing them realise their true potential fills me with so much pride.”
Discussing Ashley’s award, Hugh Sutton and Merv Young of the London College of Music commented; “Ashley has been a huge asset to music in Northern Ireland and to musical theatre in general and he continues to make a significant and lasting impact as a professional musician of integrity in Northern Ireland and beyond.
“Ashley has an enviable reputation as a sought-after teacher of singing and musical theatre who is able to relate and draw the best from all ages and stages, right through to fellowship level.
“The many testimonials we received from a variety of high calibre musicians who have worked with him and have experienced the consistent high quality of his work has confirmed his dedication to supporting the arts. This is a well-deserved award.”
Many of Ashley’s past students, originally from Northern Ireland, and now gracing the stages of the West End and Broadway Theatres, are more than willing to sing his praises.
One such student is Russell Dickson, currently on tour as Munkustrap, the principal character and main narrator in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. “To be decorated in such an honourable fashion as a Fellow of the London College of Music is the highest of honours, awarded not only for his talent and dedication as a Vocal Coach and Mentor, but because of his ability to change the lives of others,” he said.
“Ashley changed the course of my future and the futures of so many young people in Northern Ireland – His masterful coaching now reaches all over the world, from Belfast to London, from Europe to America. He is truly deserving of the highest honours for all he has done.
“I often meet past pupils of Ashley Fulton in the professional world and that’s further testament to his sheer impact in the world of Theatre. Ashley Fulton was, is and always will be a Legend of the Theatre World, and to be honoured so highly is only befitting of this brilliant man.”
Emily Dunwoody, another former student of Ashley’s who is currently starring in the iconic musical, Les Miserables commented: “I’d have been lost without Ashley, he guided me and prepared me for what lay ahead. This award is very deserving.”
Another former student, Ben Kerr, is enjoying life back at school performing in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical in the West End. He said: “I actually got offered a place at both drama school and to study medicine at the same time, Ashley believed in me and now I lead a wonderful life filled with joy, my life on the stage is very different to the one I would have led as a Doctor and I‘m thankful everyday for it, This Fellowship is definitely going to someone truly deserving of it.”