Dec 18

Wednesday: a festive musical finale to the term

The Colyer-Fergusson building rang to some festive music-making throughout yesterday afternoon, as various musical ensembles took it in turns to bid a festive farewell to the term.

The foyer-stage hosted a seasonal ‘Watch This Space,’ in which the Flute Group made its debut in carols and the ‘Dance of the Swans’ from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (well, you can’t have Christmas without Tchaikovsky, can you ?!); members of the Cecilian and Chamber Choirs sang a collection of carols; and the Trumpet Trio brought the lunchtime event to a jolly conclusion with popular tunes including All I Want For Christmas (Is You).

Later in the afternoon, it was the turn of the Big Band, directed by the irrepressible Ian Swatman, to treat a packed concert-hall to its now-customary seasonal Swing-along, featuring a guest appearance from our very own Sophie in a sassy rendition of Santa Baby and White Christmas, whilst the Brass Group led some communal carol-singing in robust fashion. The Big Band’s selection-box included a deft rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, a solo spot for baritone sax-player Adam Rose to open a bold arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and a lively Jingle Bells.

After the gig, audience and performers spilled out into the foyer for mulled wine and mince pies. A terrific day, concluding a very busy musical term; thanks to everyone who took part yesterday – it’s a wonderful testament to the ethos of music on the Canterbury campus, so many students, staff and members of the local community coming together in various groups to enjoy collective music-making.

We’ll be back in the New Year with details of events throughout the spring and summer; it promises to be an exciting six months ahead, judging by the draft of the forthcoming brochure; see you in January, and from all the music team – a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 17

Pictures (and music) at an exhibition 2: Beach Creative

Members of the Cecilian Choir sallied forth from campus into Herne Bay this week, as guests at Beach Creative arts centre, for a festive lunchtime of carols.

Ranging from the plainchant Hodie Christus natus est to popular seasonal favourites such as God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, a packed gallery space hosted an enthusiastic audience.

The Choir sang amidst the colourful backdrop of the December exhibition at Beach Creative, ‘Gold,’ which provided a myriad colours and textures as a visual enhancement of the programme of carols.

Our thanks to the board of Directors at Beach Creative for the invitation to perform, and to Mandy Broughton and Mandy Troughton for making us so welcome. We look forward to taking future musical events into the gallery next term.

Dec 14

Alumni soloists return for December concert

The termly concert by the University Chorus and Orchestra last night saw three musical alumni returning to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall.

Soprano Caroline Kennedy, tenor Andrew Macnair and bass Piran Legg came back to Kent for a performance of Mozart’s Vespers, joined also by mezzo Bethan Langford. whilst the Orchestra furnished the remainder of the programme with Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute and Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

Under the baton of Sue Wanless, the Orchestra delivered a sprightly and rousing reading of the Beethoven, in particular with an agile second movement that deftly steered clear of the more usual funereal tempi often heard in performance. The concert also saw second-year violinist Chantelle Yau making her debut as orchestral leader.

The next time Chorus and Orchestra perform, it’ll be in the august surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral for Verdi’s Requiem as part of the University’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations. And That Famous Bass Drum Bit..

Dec 11

Pictures (and music) at the exhibition: carols in Studio 3 Gallery

Studio 3 Gallery resounded to the sound of Christmas earlier today, as members of the Cecilian and Chamber Choirs took a festival programme of carols across to the School of Arts’ Jarman Building.

An enthusiastic audience was treated to a mixture of carols old and new, ranging from Ravenscroft’s seventeenth-century Remember, O Thou Man to Lauridsen’s sumptuous O Nata Lux and the enduringly-popular Ukrainian carol, Carol of the Bells.

The ravishing choral colours were given extra lustre by the current paintings on display in Studio 3, Rose Hilton’s Give Life To Painting (about which more here). Afterwards, audience and performers mingled over refreshments to explore the paintings further still.

Our thanks to Katie McGown and Denise Twomey for the invitation to come and perform; there are exciting plans afoot to develop a series of music events in Studio 3 throughout next term; watch, as they say, this space…

Dec 10

Wolcum, Yule! Lost Consort opens seasonal musical calendar

The seasonal musical calendar was opened last Friday, as the University Lost Consort brought the ancient undercroft of the Pilgrim’s Hospital in Canterbury alive to the sound of Benjamin Britten.

The audience filled the historic space to bursting for a performance of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, in which the choir was joined by harpist and fourth-year student, Emma Murton, conducted by Dan Harding. First-year alto Ruth Webster captured the mournful air of the dissonant ‘That Yongë Childe,’ whilst third-year soprano, Gabriella Grandi, lulled the listener in ‘Balulalow.’ After the opening plainchant, ‘Hodie Christus natus est,’ had died away, the choir launched into a vibrant ‘Wolcum Yole!’ and moved through the lyrical ‘There is no rose’ through to the fierce ‘This Little Babe;’ the challenging ‘In Freezing Winter Night’ rose and fell in the hushed confines of the packed undercroft, before the evergreen ‘Spring Carol’ and the animated ‘Deo Gracias’ led into the reprise of the plainchant, and the piece dissolved amidst the ancient stone.

Credit to Emma for deftly delivering a tricky harp-part, and to the whole ensemble for a spirited and enthusiastic way in which to begin the Music department’s musical Christmas.

Photos © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Dec 04

Busy week ahead 2.0

Next week is the penultimate week of term, and the events are starting to come thick and fast;

Weds 10 Dec, 1.10pm; the Musical Theatre Society presents a lunchtime of carol-singing on the foyer-stage – admission is free

Thurs 11 Dec, Studio 3 Gallery, Jarman Building, 1pm; the Cecilian Choir presents a festive lunchtime of carols amidst the current exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery over in the School of Arts’ Jarman Building, followed by refreshments; the event is free, details on Facebook here

CarolsintheGalleryPlasmaScreenSaturday 13 Dec, 7.30pm; the University Chorus and Orchestra will be joined by musical alumni in the end of term concert featuring music by Mozart and Beethoven.

PAnd there’s more to come the following week as well; see everything that’s to come on our What’s On page here.

Dec 03

Image Gallery: Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments in concert

The long reach of history was felt in the Colyer-Fergusson concert-hall today, as the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments wove ancient magic in the last of this term’s lunchtime concerts.

Clare Salaman and Benedicte Maurseth brought not only an exotic range of instruments to the concert, but a wonderfully exploratory sense too; as Clare revealed during the performance, the idea of the programme arose from a desire to explore what musical connections and creativity might have been shared between Scandinavia and the north of England, and combined music by Marais and Purcell with traditional Norwegian folk-music. Both musicians demonstrated wonderful finesse as they drew light-footed musical arabesques before a spell-bound audience.

Afterwards, the players must have felt like pop stars, as the  stage was mobbed by an eager audience keen to learn more about the Hardanger fiddle, the hurdy-gurdy and the nyckelharpa.

The programme finished with two medieval carols in a nod to the current season, and was an evocative way in which to draw this term’s lunchtime concert series to a close.

The series returns next term, details will be published in the New Year.

Nov 27

Busy week ahead…

Two events coming up next week;

Strange and Ancient Instruments

Strange and Ancient Instruments

Wednesday 3 December sees the last of this term’s Lunchtime Concerts from the Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, in an exploration of Renaissance, Baroque and traditional Norwegian music – 1.10pm, admission is free with a retiring donation. Here’s fiddle-player & singer with the group, Benedicte Maurseth, in interview:

And on Friday 5 December, the Lost Consort launches our musical celebrations for the festive season with a candle-lit performance of Britten’s enchanting Ceremony of Carols for upper-voices and harp, with harpist Emma Murton, conducted by Your Loyal Correspondent, in the historic setting of the undercroft of the ancient Pilgrim’s Hospital in Canterbury. Admission is free, with a retiring collection in aid of the Hospital.

Lost Consort Britten WS

Details about both these events online here.

Nov 26

We heard the people sing…Musical Theatre Society at lunchtime

A rousing rendition of Do You Hear The People Sing ? brought the Musical Theatre Society’s lunchtime foyer gig to an energetic completion earlier today.

Led with spirit by this year’s Music Director, second-year Joe Prescott, the Society entertained listeners with a small selection of songs which will feature in their showcase, Time After Time, on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December.

Details about the showcase and tickets online here.

Nov 25

Time After Time: Musical Theatre Showcase coming in December

The Colyer-Fergusson Hall is looking forward to welcoming this term’s Musical Theatre Showcase on Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 December.

Join a cast of around fifty talented performers as they promise to take you on a evening’s odyssey through a dazzling host of memorable songs, including pieces from Les Miserables, We Will Rock You and West Side Story in ‘Time After Time. The Society presents a sneak preview of some of the songs in a free lunchtime concert on the foyer-stage tomorrow (Weds) to whet your appetite for what’s in store.

Tickets for the showcase are a mere snip at £8 or £5 for students, and can be snapped up here. Meanwhile, here’s a teaser-trailer of the Society working hard in rehearsal…

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