Category Archives: Building for the future

The new Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performance project.

Chorus of approval

Last night saw the last of the ‘first’ rehearsals in the new Colyer-Fergusson concert-hall, this time the turn of the University Chorus.

There was a general air of wonderment as members came through the entrance lobby into the new hall, waiting to be seated on the new choral risers.

Everyone waits to be seated

First to be seated were the tenors and basses, ably regimented by ‘Director of Choral Seating,’ Steve;

Seating the tenors and basses

Followed by the ladies of the alto section:

The alto section

And finally the ladies of the soprano section:

The Sopranos

And with everyone seated:

Tutti: this year’s Chorus

Now the hard part is over, the work can begin! 🙂

First rehearsals: a look back with the conductors

As the first week comes to an end, the conductors of the various ensembles reflect on their first rehearsals in the new concert-hall;

  • conductor of the University Concert and Big Bands, Ian Swatman, takes a look at Wednesday night’s session and ponders acoustics and the urge to wear slippers over on the Big Band blog, ‘On the Beat.’
  • conductor of the University Chamber and Cecilian Choirs, Dan Harding, considers the joys of singing Britten and stepping in sedate circles over on the choral blog, ‘Cantus Firmus;’
  • conductor of the Symphony Orchestra, Susan Wanless, reviews last night’s rehearsal on the Orchestra’s blog,’Playing Up!’.

Stand by for the last ‘first’ rehearsal with the University Chorus on Monday night…

A week of firsts…

So far, it’s been a week of firsts.

Moving into the new building on Tuesday, Tuesday night saw the first Chamber Choir rehearsal in the new concert-hall.

University Chamber Choir

Yesterday, Day Two of the move, saw the Sirocco Ensemble meeting for the first time this year in one of the upper rehearsal rooms:

Sirocco Ensemble

Following this was the inaugural rehearsal of the newest departmental ensemble, the University String Sinfonia, which became the first instrumental ensemble to use the new hall.

Strings attached: the String Sinfonia

And finally, in the evening, Concert Band and Big Band came into the new building for each of their first rehearsals here.

Band substance: Concert Band

Today is Day Three, which will see the Cecilian Choir rehearsing in the hall this afternoon, followed by the Symphony Orchestra tonight. Which will leave Chorus to meet in the hall on Monday of next week for the first time, and we’ll have run the gamut of all the current ensembles trying out the new building. Plus the development of the building’s social spaces as its furniture is installed.

What an amazing week; and it’s not over yet…

The big day: we’re on the move

The day is here, and we’re moving into the new music building as I write – literally. I’m standing amongst various items of furniture in the new foyer, which we’re gradually dispatching to the various practice-rooms, watching the modular staging being put together that will form a performance area in the new foyer.

As is customary, we’ve been carrying chairs hither and yon; I’m sure that’s in our job descriptions somewhere. And former Music Society President and tuba-player alumnus Chris is back, helping oversee moving equipment from Eliot into the new hall.

Rehearsals will start in the new building forthwith; exciting times beckon… Follow pictures from the day on Twitter.

(Now back to the chairs…!)

New building: latest images

The excitement’s getting almost unbearable, as the date for moving in to the new music building looms ever closer; in the meantime, here are photos from last Friday’s site visit.

View from the foyer balcony towards the Gulbenkian
Looking down the foyer towards stairs to first floor
Rooflight in the concert-hall
View from the balcony behind the audience seating towards choral risers

See a full gallery of all the images from the project, by clicking the album below.


New building: look, no hoardings!

There was a very exciting moment partway through this week, when the hoardings around the construction site were removed; hitherto, the building has been largely hidden behind giant boards (bearing, it has to be said, though, some terrific photos of some of the Music Scholars, courtesy of @mickelous). Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the boards were taken away to reveal the exterior of the building’s reception area and practice rooms.

Exterior of the entrance

In the image above, the nature of the front of the building is finally revealed; the north-east corner boasts large windows around the social space, and the view continues down past the entrance lobby along the foyer; the windows along there will afford views of the foyer-space and its small performance stage. The walkway alongside will be bedecked with trees and a grassed area, in what has already been christened ‘The Boulevard’ by the Director of Music.

View along the northern aspect

Above, you can clearly see the northern facade, leading around to the western-side car-park; this section houses, beyond the social space, the ground-floor practice rooms and kitchen, and above, the first-floor ensemble rehearsal rooms and staff offices.

With the move into the new building now only a few weeks away, we’re starting to get very excited indeed; we hope you are too…

New building: latest images

The floor is down in the new concert-hall, and yesterday’s site visit really set the levels of anticipation running very high.  In the company of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Keith Mander and his assistant Marianne, the Director of Music and myself toured the construction site and saw the character of the hall really beginning to emerge.

Concert-hall floor from the rear balcony, looking towards the lighting-box

Pictured above is the flooring, covered temporarily to protect it whilst further work carries on. Light floods in from the recessed roof-light, as well as from the large windows to each side of the hall. The overall effect is of a light, airy space, enhanced by the lightness of the wooden panelling adorning the walls.

Concert-hall, from the rear balcony looking towards the large window on the western side
Panelling adorning the balcony wall

The foyer space, shown here from the balcony at the top of the stairs to the first floor, is taking shape nicely, and will offer a terrific, intimate space for chamber performances on its modular stage.

Foyer space from balcony, towards stairs to first floor, behind which is the social space; at the top of the stairs, entrance to large rehearsal room


Let there be light: the concert-hall roof

See a full gallery of all the images from yesterday, and throughout the project, by clicking the album below.