Ceremony to recognise outstanding contributions to University music

At this time of the year, as the academic year draws to a close, the University takes the opportunity to recognise the contributions to its musical life from a few outstanding students. At a ceremony last Friday, five students were awarded prizes in honour of their efforts.

Presented by Kerry Barber on behalf of the Canterbury Festival, the Canterbury Festival Prize, which is awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution, was awarded to Kathryn Redgers. In her last year studying History,and a University Music Scholar, Kathryn has played principal flute (and piccolo) in the University Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band; she also appeared as soloist in part of Mozart’s Flute & Harp Concerto with the Camerata in a lunchtime concert, and this year has been President of Music Society.

The Colyer-Fergusson Prize, which is awarded to a student who has made an outstanding contribution to organising music-making at Kent, was presented by the Hon Jonathan Monckton, Chair of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, to Aisha Bové. A final-year student, studying English & American Literature and English Language & Linguistics, Aisha has worked tirelessly on behalf of music throughout her time here, including being Orchestral representative in her second year and Secretary of the Music Society in this, her final year. She is also Principal cello in the Symphony Orchestra and plays in the String Sinfonia, String Quartet, and sings in the Cecilian Choir. The award is in recognition of her all-round behind-the-scenes organising and administrative skills.

Emma Murton receives her prize from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Keith Mander
Emma Murton receives her prize from Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Keith Mander

The University Music Prize, for a returning student who has make a major contribution to music at Kent, was awarded jointly to Emma Murton and Steph Richardson. Emma is in her second year studying Drama, and a University Music Scholar; this year, she has been the student conductor of the Chamber Choir, singer in Chamber Choir and Chorus, harpist in Symphony Orchestra and soloist in Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and part of Mozart’s Flute & Harp Concerto in lunchtime concerts.

Steph, also studying Drama, in her third year, is also a University Music Scholar, and has provided the professional polish as the singer with the University Big Band; she also sings in Chamber Choir, conducts Sing!, and has this year formed vocal trio ‘The Canterberries’ which has sung at informal lunchtime concerts, as well as being the vocal coach for the Musical Theatre Society’s production of Rent last term.

The final prize, the University Music Awards Committee Prize, given to a student who has made a special contribution to music at Kent, was awarded to the indefatiguable Jack McDonnell. In his final year studying Music Technology, it’s no exaggeration to say that Jack has revolutionised the musical life of the Medway campus, in his role as this year’s President of the Medway Music Society and Secretary last year, including setting up regular performing nights at Coopers (the campus bar), organising events, arranging deals for music students with shops in the town, and generally raising the profile of music at Medway.

Jack Mcdonnell (l), Steph Richardson, Aisha Bove with Keith Mander, Jonathan Monckton and Kerry of Canterbury Festival
Jack Mcdonnell (l), Steph Richardson, Kathryn Redgers and Aisha Bové with Professor Keith Mander, the Hon Jonathan Monckton and Kerry Barber of Canterbury Festival

(Alas, such is her diligence, Emma couldn’t stay until the end of the ceremony, as she had to dash back to her job!)

The Music Awards Committee has a difficult decision to make each year, a task made almost impossible in the face of the large numbers of students who participate regularly, and with such vibrant enthusiasm, in all the music-making that goes on at the University. But it’s a chance for us to pay especial tribute to a few who have made a significant impact through their involvement in the musical life of the University, and our thanks and congratulations to them.

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