One of the excellent facilities the Music department is able to offer is particular support for international students involved in extra-curricular music at the University, thanks to the Barry Wright Legacy fund. Here, woodwind player Aline Kellenberger reflects on her experience with the University Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band this year.
One year ago I started to plan my Study Abroad at the University of Kent. As I was looking into all the different societies the university offered, I saw the music society with the Orchestra and the Concert band. That day I decided not to join as it would be complicated to bring my oboe with me, both in luggage space and out of fear of something happening to my instrument.
I arrived in England last September for the autumn term, I joined different societies, met new people and overall enjoyed my time abroad. But two weeks into the term I already missed playing music. So I decided to get into contact with the Music Administrator of Kent, Sophie Meikle, and asked if I could rent an oboe for myself. She immediately answered me and told me that the music department would like to rent it for me. A few weeks later they also offered to rent the cor anglais!
One of the greatest things here at Uni has definitely been being able to practice together with so many people. Due to Covid all group rehearsals and concerts over the last years were cancelled, so it felt really great to play with other people again. Especially being able to perform the Christmas Concert at the end of last year’s term together with the choir in front of an audience! I have now started my second term here at Kent and have another three months to look forward to playing with the Orchestra as well as the Concert band. If somebody had told me one year ago that I would get to play in the Cathedral of Canterbury I would have not believed them.
I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome I got from everyone in the music society and especially for this opportunity. Since I am an exchange student I was not able to bring my own instrument with me, this was due to the amount of luggage I could bring with me. The University of Kent gives me the chance to not only study abroad and improve my English, but also allows me to continue my hobby of 17 years. Playing with the Orchestra as well as the Big Band gives me new experiences, helps me keep up with practice and helps me improve my English. It is also a very good opportunity to improve my own skills by playing with so many different people.
I decided to come to the University of Kent specifically for its language department and now I am so happy that I got the opportunity to also join the music department.
Aline Kellenberger, University of Bern