Jul 15

Get cape, wear cape – fly! Graduation week

It’s a busy week, with parents, family and friends thronging to Canterbury Cathedral for graduation ceremonies.

Many musicians are graduating throughout the week, including some here; congratulations to everyone celebrating their success over the past five days, as they pass through the doors of the Cathedral to become part of the world-wide University of Kent Alumni community.

Thanks for all your commitment and contribution to music-making here at Kent during your time; and remember: whatever you do, make music!

 

Jul 15

Strings attached: staff development takes a novel twist

Members of staff from the School of Law here at Kent came to the concert-hall yesterday for a spot of team-building and staff development with a twist.

IMAG0678 web

Organised by the Administration Manager for Kent Law School, Jill Holliday,  the hall rang to the strumming of ukuleles, as staff got to grips with playing throughout the afternoon.IMAG0677 web ‘The Law School decided it wanted to do something completely different for its end of year celebrations this year,’ says Jill. ‘The idea of something musical was originally a bit of a joke between the organisers but having discovered Musivate on line we decided to give it a go. It’s fair to say most staff approached it with a degree of trepidation, but once we all got going everyone had a great time! It was slightly surreal – sitting with over  fifty KLS staff singing along to The Lion Sleeps Tonight while strumming on a ukulele, but rather fabulous at the same time! It offered staff who have never picked up an instrument, or had the opportunity to use the Colyer-Fergusson Hall, to give this a go, which really added to the day.’

IMAG0679 web

Uku 2 web 20160714_142652 web Uku 1 web

Jul 11

Music, science and beauty in the everyday

Exploring the intersection between science and music this morning, in preparation for a project which will take place next spring.

4C533B31-5E10-4467-B71F-CA2D944D022C web

A combination of music and images from cutting-edge research in the School of Biosciences will aim to highlight moments of beauty in in the mundane, or more functional, aspects of the scientific environment. Bringing together piano works including pieces by John Cage, Tarik O’Regan and Philip Glass, the experience involves drawing out the aesthetics of the laboratory environment and the scientific process, aspects which are often overlooked or ignored.

8F7F26F0-597F-40E0-9F34-CA8FBFF48A06 webThe project, in collaboration with Dr Dan Lloyd in Biosciences, will be unfurled next spring.

B09AA176-0347-456A-BE37-39663932E08E web

Jun 28

Rock Choir in Colyer-Fergusson: a staff member takes part

We were delighted to welcome members of Rock Choir from Canterbury, Ashford, Deal, Folkestone and Thanet to give three sell-out concerts in Colyer-Fergusson last weekend, skilfully and energetically conducted by Kent alumnus, Jonathan Grosberg. Myfanwy Williams, Administrative Assistant to the Estates department, was taking part. A member of the former Estates Team Choir, here she reflects on her weekend singing in the concert-hall.


I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I got the chance to perform with Canterbury Rock Choir in Colyer-Fergusson Hall! When I joined the Estates Department I minuted the monthly project board meetings for the Colyer-Fergusson building at a time when the project was nearing its completion.

Rock_Choir_June2016

I knew that the choir had chosen a venue with outstanding acoustics which would show us off to best advantage, and it did not disappoint.  Family and friends loved the performances and so did I – every minute of it!  The choir sounded its absolute best and I’m still buzzing from the excitement of it all!  I don’t play a musical instrument, I’m not musical but I can sing in tune and love singing. To get the chance to perform in the hall was absolutely marvellous.

Jun 28

A WonderVille time: new WonderVille Festival comes to Canterbury next month

A brand-new festival is set to burst to life in Canterbury next month, as Jubilee Farm in Elham Valley welcomes the WonderVille Festival.

wondervilleee_header

Saturday 30 July will see WonderVille bringing live music, including Tankus the Henge (fresh from their appearance on the Greenpeace Stage at Glastonbury last week),  as well as a host of craft activities, interactive workshops, a mouth-watering collection of Kentish independent food stalls, handcrafted local beer, a curious cocktail cabin and more. Kent’s literary festival, Wise Words, will be there too with its Bell Ten Village and Poetry stage, where you can encounter poetry, film, and lantern-making. There’s a family-feel too, with face-painting, games, head-dress-making and other activities for younger visitors at the Kids Corner, and a delectable array of sweets and treats for small and big kids alike! All set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Rhodes Minnis.

WonderVille line-up: click to view

WonderVille line-up: click to view

FInd out what’s happening at WonderVille here, or follow the build-up to the festival on their Twittter stream here. The very best of luck to Canterbury’s newest festival – prepare for a ‘wonderville’ time when it all takes place on 30th July!

Jun 16

The last song: Minerva Voices at MEMSFest

The final musical hurrah of the term has seen members of Minerva Voices performing at the ancient Pilgrims’ Hospital in Canterbury earlier today, as part of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Festival curtain-raising Illuminating the Past: Gothic Colour day.

The Choir assembled in the priory garden this morning for the first of two sets; the latter saw them sing in the resonant acoustic of the refectory, bringing the historic stones to life in a variety of choral works, from medieval plainsong to Alvin Lucier’s Unamuno.

WP_20160616_003 WP_20160616_004 WP_20160616_005 WP_20160616_007 WP_20160616_013

IMG_0387_web

WP_20160616_021 WP_20160616_027 WP_20160616_029 WP_20160616_033

Led by Your Loyal Correspondent, together with assistant conductor, third-year Joe Prescott making his final appearance, it was standing-room only beneath the minstrel’s gallery.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in the choir for their commitment over the course of this year, and to the MEMSFest team for having us.

Jun 15

Outstanding contributions recognised at awards ceremony

One of the highlights of Summer Music Week is being able to recognise the outstanding contributions made by several students to music-making over the course of the year at the annual Music Awards ceremony.

Held after the Music Scholars’ Recital on the third day of Summer Music Week, this year the awards were excitingly scattered across the whole of the week-long music festival, as various prize-winners were away through either having the downright audacity to start gainful employment, illness or examinations – suffice to say, it made it much more fun, tracking the recipients down across the days, although it did afford the opportunity to sneak-present some of the prizes on the nominees at moments they hadn’t expected…

The Canterbury Festival Prize, which is awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music at the University was this year awarded jointly to Music Performance Scholars Cory Adams and Anne Engels. Hispanic Studies student Cory has been principal timpanist with the Symphony Orchestra, one of four players in a performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique back in March, and has also been kit and percussion player with the Concert and Big Bands. Anne, studying English and American Literature and Philosophy, has played principal flute in the Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band, a member of the Flute Choir and was the featured soloist in a Harry Potter-themed lunchtime concert earlier this year. Both students received their awards from the Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner.

Winner takes it all: Anne Engels; Faith Chan; Joe Prescott; Cory Adams;

Winner takes it all: Anne Engels; Faith Chan; Joe Prescott; Cory Adams;

The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, awarded to a student who has made a major contribution to organising music at the University, was awarded to India Bottomley, for her exceptional all-round, behind-the-scenes, kitchen-sink skills in administration and organisation as Chorus Manager. Having completed her degree in American Studies, India has already started employment in London, so we were especially delighted to be able to spring her award on her on the final day of Summer Music Week, when she came back to sing with the Cecilian Choir and Chorus.

WP_20160611_007

Chorus of approval: India Bottomley receives her award

Patron of the Music Scholarship Scheme, Dame Anne Evans, was present to award the John Craven Music Prize, which goes to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at Kent. The prize was awarded jointly to Music Performance Scholars Charlotte Webb and Ruth Webster. It’s fitting that they should both be receiving this prize – both are Music Performance Singing Scholars and both in their second year, reading Biomedical Science. Both students have this year sung in the University Chorus, Minerva Voices and Cecilian Choir, featuring prominently as soloists throughout this year in major concerts in music by Handel, Lully and Vivaldi. Charlotte also plays trumpet in the Symphony Orchestra and Ruth is a member of the Musical Theatre Society show choir.

Music biosciences prizes web

Biosciene brilliance: Charlotte Webb, Ruth Webster and Jonathan Butten with patron Dame Anne Evans

The First-Year Prize went to trombonist and Music Performance Scholar, Jasper Rose, in recognition of someone who has made a significant contribution to music during their first year at the University. Reading Criminal Law on the Medway campus,Jasper has played in the Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Band, and has been the featured trombone-player in the Big Band this year. Jasper was unwell on the day of the ceremony, so again a lighting-strike presentation was unleashed at the rehearsal for the Concert and Big Band gala the following day; Jasper received his prize from the Director of Music, Susan Wanless.

Top brass: Jasper Rose receives his award

Top brass: Jasper Rose receives his award

The remarkably cumbersomely-titled (but no less valuable, for all that!) University Music Awards Committee Prize, for a student who has made a special contribution to music, ended up being a three-way split – the Committee has the unenviable task of allotting the prizes, and it’s often difficult to choose between nominees – between second-year woodwind player, Jonathan Butten, second-year cellist Faith Chan and final-year trumpeter and conductor, Joe Prescott. Each student is a Music Performance Scholar, and has in their way made a particularly valuable contribution – Jonathan (reading Biomedical Science) is principal oboist in the Symphony Orchestra, but the award was given to acknowledge his exceptional cor anglais playing in Symphonie fantastique in the Cathedral Concert, and as oboe soloist in concerts with the String Sinfonia in concerti by Vivaldi. A Law-reading cellist with the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia, Faith’s prize recognises her immense skill as the solo continuo player in major performances of Baroque repertoire this year. Joe’s award is in honour of his contribution across so many areas of music – playing trumpet with the Concert and Big Band, his role as student conductor of Minerva Voices, and as Music Director for Musical Theatre Society showcases and productions. He has also sung with Chorus, Cecilian Choir and Chamber Choir, and is the outgoing President of the Music Society this year. He also played the Last Post for the annual Remembrance Day gathering. The prizes were presented by Chair of the Music Award Committe, Dr Dan Lloyd, and Dame Anne Evans.

Music prizes 1 web

The award-winners together with violinist Lydia Cheng after the recital, together with patron Dame Anne Evans (l) and Canterbury Festival Director, Rosie Turner (r)

As host of the ceremony, Dan Lloyd, remarked, the prospect of yet another committee meeting isn’t necessarily one to lighten the spirit, but the annual convergence of the Music Awards Committee is one that is all about celebrating student success, recognising their achievements and the impact of their music-making throughout the year. This year has been a particularly fine one; many congratulations to the winners.

Images: Dr Wei-Feng Xue / Dan Harding

Jun 13

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week – the final two days

The final two days of Summer Music Week witnessed a tremendous flurry of musical activity both in Colyer-Fergusson and beyond, as the week-long music festival celebrating the end of the University year brought staff, students, guests, alumni and members of the local community together.

An intense forty-eight hours of rehearsing and performing began on Friday at lunchtime, with members of the Musical Theatre Society performing on the foyer-stage.

IMG_3114 IMG_3115

Later the same day, the Cecilian Choir, Sinfonia and soloists filled the church of St Michael and All Angels at Harbledown with a feast of Baroque music, featuring choral works by Vivaldi, Handel and Lully, and instrumental concerti featuring oboists Jonathan Butten and Dan Lloyd from the School of Biosciences, violinists Lydia Cheng (Law) and Claudia Hill (Politics and International Relations), and arias from Charlotte Webb and Ruth Webster (Biosciences – again!). A sultry encore from the Sinfonia took a packed and delighted audience to Argentina for a scintillating rendition of Piazzolla’s Libertango to conclude. And  as if they hadn’t done enough playing, members of the Sinfonia provided a little light music during the post-performance reception…

WP_20160610_013

Dan Lloyd (l) and Jonathan Butten rehearsing Vivaldi Double Oboe Concerto

WP_20160610_004 WP_20160610_018 WP_20160610_023 WP_20160610_027 WP_20160610_030

With the end in sight, rehearsals continued first thing on Saturday morning as the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra and Minerva Voices prepared for the final event of the week, the annual Music for a Summer’s Day. Arriving audience-members were treated to a performance by the unstoppably energetic String Sinfonia on the foyer-stage prior to the afternoon gala concert.

WP_20160611_001 WP_20160611_003 WP_20160611_008 WP_20160611_012 WP_20160611_014

The combined forces brought a programme including a zestful medley from My Fair Lady, besuited butlers bearing drinks during music from Downton Abbey, rousing music by Elgar, a Norwegian ballad, final-year Harriet Gunstone as guest soloist in the Champagne Polka, all culminating in a rousing rendition of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ (including an encore conducted by third-year Cory Adams making a rare sortie from the percussion section to the front of the orchestra), and the shedding of a few tears as we all realised that this was, for those who are graduating, their final performance at the University.

WP_20160611_015 WP_20160611_017 WP_20160611_018 WP_20160611_019 WP_20160611_021The reception afterwards saw performers, audience, family and friends mingling in the marquee, as well as the presentation of the Music Society Awards – a spirited tongue-in-cheek affair with prizes for ‘Most Likely To Be Seen On A Night Out’ and ‘Best Dressed’ among the commendations – and the raiding of sumptuous racks of cakes and scones, as the week drew to a close, whilst Minerva Voices and a jazz group provided some spontaneous musical entertainment.

WP_20160611_022 WP_20160611_023 WP_20160611_024

Summer Music Week higlights all that making music at the University embraces: students making extra-curricular music and friends during the year; students, staff, alumni and the local community coming together on a weekly basis to work together towards termly public performances; the recognition that music-making holds a valuable place in University life in terms of making friends, developing performing and organisational skills, bringing the community together to work towards a public-facing event that represents the University in ambassadorial fashion. Where else might you find a senior Registrar, the director of the Development Office, the head of the International Office, a first-year from Blackpool reading Drama, a second-year from Malaysia reading Law, violinists from Toronto and Zimbabwe, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, and local residents combining to let their hair down ?! It’s a terrific whirlygig, a snapshot of all the creativity that thrives both on- and off-campus throughout the course of the year, but it’s also a sad time, as we bid farewell to many who have become a vital part both of the Music department and the wider University during their time at Kent.

To all the leavers, we wish you the very best for the future in Life After Kent; to all those returning (or indeed joining!) us in September; rest assured, we’re now planning for another vibrant, action-packed, stressfull (!), creative, and ultimately rewarding year. To those moving on: we’ll miss you.

Ave atque vale.

 

Jun 09

Summer Music Week: Day Five

Congratulations to the String Sinfonia, directed by Elina Hakanen, who made Studio 3 Gallery resound to bustling lunchtime concert on Day Five; bristling Bach with soloists Lydia Cheng and Claudia Hill, lyrical Borodin, and closing with fiery, passionate Piazzolla.

WP_20160609_006 WP_20160609_009 WP_20160609_010 WP_20160609_011 WP_20160609_012 WP_20160609_013

Day Six tomorrow features the Cecilian Choir, Sinfonia and soloists in a Baroque extravaganza out at St Michael’s and All Angels, Harbledown.

Jun 09

All That Jazz: Summer Music Week Day Four

Colyer-Fergusson got that jazzin’ feelin’ yesterday, as Day Four of Summer Music Week saw music on the foyer-stage from the Sax Quartet and guests, followed by society hep cats, in the afternoon.

WP_20160608_004 WP_20160608_006(1) WP_20160608_007 WP_20160608_009In the evening, conductor Ian Swatman led the Concert and Big Bands in a roof-raising finale to the ensembles’ year.

WO-0770_web WO-0776_web WO-0792_web WO-0794_web WO-0833_web

WO-0821_web

WO-0862_web

Summer Music Week continues today with a lunchtime concert from the String Sinfonia in music by Piazzolla, Borodin, Bach and more in Studio 3 Gallery.

Evening photos © Peter Cook

Older posts «