An exciting new project this year is the development of Invicta Voices, a Choir formed from University alumni and former Chamber Choir members under the direction of last year’s student conductor, Matt Bamford. The Choir met for the second time earlier this week, and here’s what Matt had to say.
This week saw the second rehearsal of Invicta Voices, a chamber choir formed of University of Kent Alumnus. The choir, who are resident in London, meet bi-weekly and explore a wide range of choral music from Byrd and Hassler right the way through to more contemporary music from Gjeilo and Whitacre. The idea for an alumni choir first came about after discussions that many members of last year’s choir were graduating and moving to London and wanted to carry on singing together. The establishing of the choir has fallen hand in hand with the University’s 50th anniversary year and the choir are looking forward to our inaugural concert in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall next year.
Our first rehearsal was surrounded by a buzz of excitement and also nerves – not knowing who would turn up, whether the ‘hurricane’ weather would delay people, would people find the venue, do we have enough music… As people arrived it was a case of saying hello to people we had never met and also people who we may not have seen for over four or five years. The most surreal moment came as we sang Barnum’s Dawn. The colour of the piece really suited the sound that the choir made and one of the members commented how strange it was to be singing with ‘familiar faces’ once again. This is one of the most fantastic things about an alumni choir – each member has now carved out, or is in the process of carving out their career and the next steps of their lives yet when we come together and sing we can take a step back to university life whilst looking forward to our upcoming concerts as a newly formed choir.
During our second rehearsal things really took off as we spent two hours getting through as much repertoire as we possibly could. New pieces for all included Ola Gjeilo’s Northern Lights. The choir had the confidence to really sing through the colourful harmony and our ‘choir sound’ began to identify itself. A real excitement also came as we sang through all of Barnum’s Dawn a capella for the first time.
We are incredibly excited to be officially launching the choir at our inaugural concert in March. The opportunity to return to Canterbury and sing in the fantastic Colyer-Fergusson will be a very special occasion for all those involved. Including those who fundraised for the hall in the early stages but are yet to see the new building. With a wide range of repertoire to explore before then, the hard work can now commence.