A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Jo Pearsall.
When were you at Kent ?
1989 to 1992 to study – from 2002 as a member of staff
What subject did you study ?
What occupation are you now engaged in ?
Administrative Assistant, Central Secretariat, University of Kent
If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?
Yes: I am a member of the University of Kent Symphony Orchestra, strategically placed at the back of the first violins. I also sing with the Cecilian Choir, a small group of staff, students and alumni that’s a new venture this year, and I’ve also sung at Jazz @ 5. I am a member of a chamber choir in Canterbury called Cantemus. I also do other bits of singing and playing here and there.
How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?
I was President of the Music Society! Actually I couldn’t begin to list all of the music that I was involved in whilst at Kent, even if my poor old memory could remember it all, but highlights were singing in summer opera projects, playing in the Symphony Orchestra, singing with the Chamber Choir including a particularly memorable trip to Prague, playing in the orchestra pit of The Pyjama Game at the Marlowe Theatre, playing for various other dramatic performances and singing at ad hoc occasions including in local churches and at high table dinners.
What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?
A huge amount of experience both musically and organisationally that has stood me in good stead to this day and probably led to my getting my first proper job.
What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?
Probably having a small solo part in the opera Die Fledermaus in 1992 at the Gulbenkian Theatre. A gorgeous dress was made specially for me to wear which was too exciting! I have been mercilessly mocked about my “acting” skills ever since.
What would you say to current musical students at the University ?
Enjoy yourselves, take part in lots of musical activities and organise some too and remember that the friends that you are making whilst making music now are probably the ones you will still have in twenty years’ time, so make sure you look after each other.
If you’re a musical alumnus and would like to be featured, please get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!