Charlotte Jeanneret, who studied at Kent last year in the School of English as an exchange student and played the flute in Concert Band and sang in Chorus in the Music department, looks back on her experience.
Music has been the highlight of my experience as an exchange student at the University of Kent.
I must say the many extracurricular opportunities are what made me choose Canterbury in the first place, but I never thought it would bring me so much joy and discoveries. Indeed, for example, I used to be stuck with the idea that I could not sing… But the openness of the University Chorus convinced me to take it up and I loved it so much that I am now considering joining the choir of my home university, here in Switzerland!
Although I still have nightmares about Goodwin’s Freefall [who chose that ?! Ed] Wednesday evenings with the Concert Band were always very entertaining and spurred me on musically more than any other ensemble I have ever been part of. I left for England with just one flute and came back with a piccolo also!
Finally, music at Kent has allowed me to meet beautiful people with whom I have loved practising, sharing stands and scores, and who have become awesome friends.
Recent graduate from the School of Psychology and Music Award holder, soprano Felicity Bourdillon, President of the Music Society 2021-22,reflects on being involved in extra-curricular music as part of her experience at the University.
When I joined Kent, joining the Music Society, and getting involved with the music department was one of the best decisions I made.
Felicity (front row, middle) with the Chamber Choir performing in the Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral.
During my time at the university, I sang in multiple choirs and was able to experience many different opportunities by singing in a number of unique and historical venues; singing in Canterbury Cathedral is always such an amazing experience! The Colyer-Fergusson building is such a special place for many members of the Music Department as it is where we came together for our rehearsals, concerts and where we share many student memories.
Minerva Voices, the upper voices chamber choir, singing at the University Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral
During my time in the music department, I gained so much confidence not only as a musician but as an individual. I was able to develop so many skills and found my singing abilities to improve greatly over the years I was at Kent as a result of the opportunities within the Music Department. This is due to being surrounded by so many other young musicians and the amazing music department staff that always encourage and support you to challenge yourself musically.
Filming a Scholars’ Spotlight in Colyer-Fergusson Hall during the pandemic
By being part of the music department and the Kent Music Society, I was able to meet so many lovely people; joining in first year as a fresher can be so daunting but the members of the music society were so welcoming. Meeting so many people who share the same passion and love for music making is such a lovely experience and working with them towards concerts is very rewarding. The music department is where I met many of my closest friends and to have all these shared music experiences, makes the friendships even stronger.
Felicity making her valedictory speech as the outgoing President of the Music Society at the Gala concert marking the end of Summer Music Week
Congratulations to everyone who graduated from the University in July, especially to the many musicians amongst the mortar-boards and gowns swirling around the Cathedral Precincts and celebrating their success. Included as part of the throng were the following:
We wish them – and everyone else who graduated! – all the very best for the future.
Former Music Scholarship student and singer, Marina Ivanova, recently appeared in the role of Papagena with Opera South East. As a Music Scholar, she sang in Chorus, Chamber Choir, and numerous Scholar recitals, including a masterclass with Dame Anne Evans; she was also a Music Prize-Winner in 2014. Here, she reflects on music-making and her recent role.
I read European Economics and French at Kent, and graduated in 2014. I had an amazing time as a Music Scholar at Kent between 2010 and 2014. One of my most memorable and exciting experiences was the Scenes from Mozart concert during Summer Music Week, and singing Vivaldi and Mozart in lunchtime recitals by University Music Scholars.
Since graduating, I have been actively seeking for new opportunities as a shorus member or a principal in opera productions. In 2016 I made my operatic debut at Brent Opera, in London, as the Singer in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. Since February 2017, I have been working with Opera South East in a production of The Magic Flute and I was delighted to appear as Papagena in the two performances last weekend! These were in the White Rock Theatre, in Hastings.
My intention is to develop further my operatic training and to continue working on new and exciting opera productions.
Kent alumna and former Music Scholar, Lena Younes, has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a community yoga centre in Brighton, where she lives and teaches.
Whilst studying Drama and History at Kent, Lena was a Music Scholarship student, singing with the University Chamber Choir and as a soloist in lunchtime concerts given by the Music Scholars, as well as making regular appearances in the Jazz @ 5 gigs.
Following her degree, she moved to Dublin, Ireland, to pursue a PhD in Early Modern History, for which she received a postgraduate scholarship from the Irish Research Council. She kept up her musical aspirations by singing and playing violin in a blues band and teaching herself guitar.
She went on to move to Cork, taking her studies with her, together with fellow Kent alumnus Richy Batten and their dog Fëalin (who loves music & yoga), where she began a regular yoga practice. After spending some time travelling in a van, they landed in Florence, Italy, where they stumbled upon and trained in a fun and creative form of yoga called ‘The Rocket.’
The Rocket is deeply rooted in the Californian music scene as well as traditional Ashtanga Yoga – something that very much appealed to a former music scholar! The Rocket System – and yoga in general – completely transformed Lena’s life. Coming from a background of long-term illness, she saw her body and life transform… So she made the decision to let go of her doctorate studies and focus on her personal practice and teaching skills.
After moving to Brighton in February 2016, Lena and Richy started their yoga business, LoveLightYoga, providing unique yoga instruction in the vibrant and creative seaside city. They are now ready to expand and are crowdfunding to open their own yoga studio in an innovative space – sharing with people from Brighton and beyond the yoga experience they received thsemelves in Italy and Ireland.
Find out more about Lena’s campaign here; we wish her every success!
It’s a busy week, with parents, family and friends thronging to Canterbury Cathedral for graduation ceremonies.
Many musicians are graduating throughout the week, including some here; congratulations to everyone celebrating their success over the past five days, as they pass through the doors of the Cathedral to become part of the world-wide University of Kent Alumni community.
Thanks for all your commitment and contribution to music-making here at Kent during your time; and remember: whatever you do, make music!
Congratulations to Svenja Glass, who graduates today having completed her MA in Comparative Literature with the School of European and Cultural Languages.
Svenja also studied at Kent during her Erasmus year, and has been a dedicated member of the alto section in the University Chorus. Currently undertaking a teacher training course back home in Berlin, Svenja graduates in this afternoon’s Congregational Ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral, along with many others, but this morning she couldn’t resist popping in to Colyer-Fergusson to re-visit her accustomed ‘seat’ for Chorus rehearsals…
Congratulations to everyone graduating today, and to Svenja – thanks for all your commitment to Chorus – Vielen Glückwunsch!
About to finish her MA in Comparative Literature, her second postgraduate degree, having finished a Master of Education (English and Maths) in Berlin last year, Svenja Glass looks back on her involvement in music at Kent.
I was here first in 2012/13 as an Erasmus student from Free University Berlin (just like Max Mergenbaum, funnily enough, only I came via the English Department!). At that time, I studied English and Maths in Berlin, but on coming to Kent I just attended seminars in English Literature (and German Translation and Danish …). Then I went back to Berlin to finish my M.Ed. and decided to come back to Canterbury because I had enjoyed my year at the University of Kent so much – especially the music-making.
On the occasion of the valedictory concert in June we were given tags to write down our best memory related to music at the University of Kent – 50th anniversary of the university, 50 memories. It goes without saying that it is impossible to choose just one single memory, but it certainly offered a welcome opportunity to re-live what made 2014/15 so special for me.
I sang in the University Chorus, and I enjoyed every single rehearsal (did you know that Popocatépetl is a volcano in Mexico? Say the name eight times as fast as you can!). To quote Sue: “an hour of singing will do you a world of good,” and this is absolutely true, particularly in the face of several essay deadlines approaching at once (Dies Irae!). Performing Verdi’s Requiem in the Cathedral with around 180 other singers and the University Symphony Orchestra was, of course, epic!
Moreover, I took the chance to go to a variety of concerts (I think I never went to so many concerts), especially exploring some more modern music, which I would not normally have dared to attend. Walton’s Façade, performed by the CantiaQuorum ensemble in November and featuring some Canterbury-VIPs as readers is just one fantastic example.
Naturally, the best concerts were the ones in which my friends performed. The high standard of music-making at the university is simply amazing. And talking about friends, I met a lot of wonderful people from all possible subject areas – economics, biomedical science, you name it, and we had a perfectly marvellous time playing the piano together , for instance, or singing Christmas carols on campus and in town. After all, the best thing about Music at the University of Kent is spending your free (or not-quite-so-free-but-rather-busy) time with a lovely bunch of people who share a great passion for music.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.