Nov 20

A trip down Memory Lane…

Congratulations to Svenja Glass, who graduates today having completed her MA in Comparative Literature with the School of European and Cultural Languages.

WP_20151120_001Svenja also studied at Kent during her Erasmus year, and has been a dedicated member of the alto section in the University Chorus. Currently undertaking a teacher training course back home in Berlin, Svenja graduates in this afternoon’s Congregational Ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral, along with many others, but this morning she couldn’t resist popping in to Colyer-Fergusson to re-visit her accustomed ‘seat’ for Chorus rehearsals…


Congratulations to everyone graduating today, and to Svenja – thanks for all your commitment to Chorus – Vielen Glückwunsch!

Nov 19

Tis almost the season…

With the festive season lurking just around the corner, rehearsals are really beginning to pick up pace here in Colyer-Fergusson.

Last night, the Big Band were in festive form as they cracked open seasonal swing arrangements for their already-sold-out Christmas Swing-along next month. Earlier in the week, Minerva Voices were getting into performance mode as they wielded Carols for Choirs, preparing to sing at the University Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral in mid-December.

And yesterday afternoon, the hall rang to the sound of buoyant choruses from Handel’s Messiah as the String Sinfonia and Cecilian Choir came together ahead of their ‘A Baroque Christmas’ concert on 4 December.


Even the Flute Choir was getting into the seasonal spirit earlier in the day, with some sparkling carols for the Watch This Space event on the foyer-stage at the end of term. With Chorus and Orchestra also learning Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell, t is very nearly the season to be jolly…

Nov 12

Winter is coming: the Sinfonia in rehearsal

In rehearsal yesterday, the String Sinfonia as it prepares for its first concert of the year next month.

IMG_0283The players were working on sections of Handel’s Messiah, as well as Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ with soloist Elina Hakanen, developing some of those rigorous and dramatic tutti sections alongside the more lyrical central movement. The group is also preparing Vivaldi’s Double Oboe Concerto with soloists second-year Jonathan Butten and lecturer in BioSciences, Dan Lloyd (pictured).

The concert on Friday 4 December opens the Christmas season in Colyer-Fergusson with some sparkling music of the Baroque; details here, come and launch the festive period with us and some popular musical favourites.

Nov 06

The Unsemble next week: help us raise money for Children in Need!

Our very first scratch band, the Unsemble, will meet for the first time at lunchtime on Friday 13 November when we come together for a light-hearted playing of the Pink Panther theme in aid of this year’s Children in Need appeal.

pink_pantherIf you’ve ever started an instrument and then given up, or not played for many years, then this is for you! It’s all about taking part – the more terrible a player you are, the better! Come and join in at 1.10pm when Colyer-Fergusson Hall will resound to a ‘performance’ unlike anything it has seen hitherto. We’ll even provide kazoos if you haven’t got an instrument with you, and there promises to be an unmissable brass section…


Here’s a short promotional video for the occasion, featuring the highly-accomplished brass-playing of Nicholas Thurston and Your Loyal Correspondent. What could be more enticing…

Oct 29

CantiaQuorum back next week

Our resident ensemble, CantiaQuorum, returns to Colyer-Fergusson next week for the first of two concerts this term.

Next Wednesday’s lunchtime concert sees seven members of the group in a programme including Saint-Saens’ Septet in E flat major and Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, in which Stravinsky returned to his ballet Pulcinella, which itself re-imagined music by Pergolesi.


Furley Page logo

Sponsors of the Lunchtime Concert series

Admission is free with suggested donation of £3; more details online here.

Oct 29

Strings attached: the String Sinfonia in rehearsal

The String Sinfonia has launched again this year, and we’re busy working hard in preparation for the concert at the start of December.

A Baroque Christmas will see the ensemble performing excerpts from Part One of Handel’s enduringly popular Messiah with the Cecilian Choir and Scholarship singers, as well as two instrumental works by Vivaldi, including the seasonally-appropriate ‘Winter.’

String Sinfonia Oct2015

Strings Attached: String Sinfonia in rehearsal

Barring a few of the players who were away yesterday, here is the group in the hall, which yesterday resounded to joyous choruses from the Handel oratorio, and also includes the department’s new harpsichord, played by Your Loyal Correspondent. The ensemble seems to have a natural stylistic empathy with Baroque repertoire, and has already developed an exciting sound.

Come along on Friday 4 December (details here) to hear them in action; on the strength of these early rehearsals, it already promises to be quite something…


Oct 26

Brass cheek: preparing for Unsemble Children in Need next month

Some serious preparation has been taking place this morning, as some of the Music staff had a brass sectional rehearsal, led by the Deputy Director of Music’s son, himself a budding trumpet player.


IMG_3579_webTo the astonishment of Ian Swatman, Jonty put the Director and Deputy Director of Music through their paces in a bid to form a fledgling brass ensemble for the department’s Children in Need event on Friday 13 November.

Open to anyone who’s ever started an instrument – and then stopped! – or only taken up to Grade 3, the Unsemble will be getting together for a scratch performance of ‘The Pink Panther’ theme on the day to raise money for this year’s Children in Need appeal.

Come along and find out how we get on (there’s even the prospect of two sousaphones adding to the brass section, and the Music Assistant on viola); and if you’ve an instrument yourself, come and take part!

Pudsey BearMore details here.

Oct 16

Latest on the choral blog

With the start of the new academic year, choral life at the University has also burst into renewed life; over on the choral blog, Cantus Firmus, we take a look at our newest ensemble, Minerva Voices, an upper-voice auditioned choir which has begun rehearsing ahead of a busy year; the Cecilian Choir has also sprung into bloom as it starts rehearsals on Handel’s Messiah for a Christmas Baroque concert in December; and the ‘In-Choir Within’ series introducing choral singers at the University continues with an introduction to first-year soprano, Alice Scott.

Cecilian Choir 2015

Cecilian Choir 2015

With the University Chorus also at work in preparing Vaughan Williams’ rarely-performed The First Nowell, you could almost say that the music department is on song… Read all about it on Cantus Firmus here.

Oct 13

The Unsemble: come and play The Pink Panther for Children in Need!

Have you ever taken up an instrument – and then stopped ?! Did you get to Grade 2, or even 3, and then give up playing ?

Pudsey BearWell, if you did – then the Unsemble is for you! Next month, as part of Children in Need, we’re inviting any instrumentalists amongst the students, staff and alumni who didn’t progress beyond Grade 3 to come and take up their instrument once more, head to Colyer-Fergusson Hall at lunchtime on Friday 13 November, and join in a scratch group performance of The Pink Panther theme – all in a good cause!

(Yours Truly will be borrowing his son’s cornet for the occasion, and there’s even the promise of a member of the Health and Safety team bringing a sousaphone… What could possibly go wrong ?! )

pink_pantherAll this musical mayhem will take place from 1.10-1.30pm on Friday 13 November; if you don’t have an instrument (or have actually progressed beyond Grade 3!), then you’re welcome to come along and listen; come and find out how we all get on…Find out more online here, and join up to the Facebook Event page here.

Oct 01

Baroque masters next week at Colyer-Fergusson

Next week brings a brace of Baroque performances from some renowned musicians to Colyer-Fergusson.

Naomi Okuda Wooderson

Naomi Okuda Wooderson

Our new Lunchtime Concert series launches next Wednesday with a recital from Baroque recorder specialist, Naomi Okuda Wooderson, accompanied by Tom Foster; the programme includes Bach, Telemann and Handel, and features our new harpsichord in its first formal outing. Admission is free, with a retiring donation.

Pinnock_Nov2015The Baroque theme continues at the weekend with a performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas under the direction of distinguished performer and conductor, Trevor Pinnock, in a preview of the concert which will be appearing at London’s Wigmore Hall the following week. The chorus for the performance is none other than Tenebrae, one of the country’s foremost vocal ensembles; the concert also promises a Purcellian miscellany of songs and dances.

Details about both concerts can be found on our What’s On page online here. To whet your appetites, here’s Sarah Connolly singing that famous lament…


Sponsors of the Lunchtime Concert series

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