Continuing the series highlighting some of this year’s University Music Schlolars. This week, percussionist Christopher Murrell.
My musical aspirations started quite young with the hope to learn the trombone at primary school. However I was told I was unable to, due to being…*ahem*…Too Short! I soon turned to a more rebellious idea and upon starting secondary school at the Littlehampton Community School (later renamed “The Littlehampton Academy”) I applied for lessons in Drum Kit. Before even starting kit lessons I joined a Steel Band that my Form Tutor (also the head of music) was setting up. The steel band performed at many types of venue, from local fetes and school concerts, to very honourable performances on our Paris tour in 2009. These included the stage outside “Notre Dame” and the Fantasy stage at Disneyland Paris! During my 5 years with the band I had played various accompanying parts as well as being one of the key solo players for numerous pieces. I left the band after leaving school to go to Worthing College for my A-levels (including Music A-level).
In addition to the steel band I was also involved with: the school orchestra for the Christmas productions, the school funk band, the school jazz band, the school samba band, and a Rock band I formed with a friend. The Rock band started off with just 2 of us and after only 6 months together, we came runners up in our school’s Battle of the Bands. We then found a keyboard player, and a year later we placed first and won a £200 recording session at a local studio. We recorded 2 EPs in our time together, all our own songs written by our lead guitarist.
I owe a lot to one of my school music teachers, Steve Winter, who invited me to join a band he played with, The Littlehampton Concert Band. This was the most important opportunity I have ever been given because it introduced me to the orchestral world of a percussionist and helped me to achieve Grade 6 Trinity guildhall (with distinction) followed by Grade 8 Trinity guildhall (with distinction). I later joined the Southdowns Concert Band as the principle drummer, under the direction of Tom Hodge MBE BMus(Hons) LRSM AMusTCL CTABRSM, who is Warrant Officer 1 of the royal marines band service.
Upon starting the University of Kent as a Physics student, I have been showered with musical opportunity. From being chosen to drum alongside the current drummer for the Concert Band and Big Band, to a potential place in a folk band, to being chosen to perform in the band for the Musical Theatre Society’s production of “RENT”. I am enjoying being a part of the University music scene and all I can do is be proud of what I achieve.
Read the other profiles in the series here.