Category Archives: Was It Good For You ?

Profiles of, and interviews with, former musical students at Kent.

Was It Good For You: Anna Shinkfield

Continuing the series in which musical alumni look back on their musical life at Kent: this week, woodwind-player and singer, Anna Shinkfield.


 

Anna Shinkfield
Anna Shinkfield

When were you at Kent?
2007 – 2011

What subject did you study?
English and American Literature

What occupation are you now engaged in?
Arts Admin

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical activities now ?
I am not currently involved in anything musical at the moment but I am hoping to find something musical to get involved in soon!

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?
I sang in the Chorus, played Flute in Concert Band and Tenor Sax in Big Band all three years I was at Kent as well as receiving a Music Lesson Scholarship. I was also a member of the Music Society Committee in my second and final year.

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent?
I think my experiences with the Music Society definitely helped me decide on what I wanted to do career-wise and allowed me to get enough experience to do a Masters in London after my degree.
Everyone says get involved with something at University, join as many clubs as you can – it looks good on your CV. I’m sure I rolled my eyes and brushed these sorts of comments off before and during University. but I can definitely say that it is true as much as you might be bored of hearing it! I’m pretty sure my musical activities have been discussed a lot more than my degree ever has in interviews.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent?
I think that would have to be every ArtsFest really (what’s now Summer Music Week). Although spending the morning in Eliot Hall rehearsing and blowing up balloons then rushing between concerts in the afternoon meant I didn’t get to see much of what else was going on I think it was those sorts of days that really made me think that’s what I wanted to do in the future.

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?
Make the most of Music at Kent! I don’t remember the hours spent in the library or Monday mornings in lectures half as well as I remember taking part in rehearsals and concerts.
It can be easy to skip rehearsals especially with essay deadlines and exams but that two hours of music will always be more productive than sitting staring at a screen and will probably give you the break from revision that you need. The rehearsals throughout the week are an excellent excuse to stop staring at computer screens or forcing myself to read books I wasn’t particularly interested in and focus on something a bit different!
Looking back I don’t really remember the hours spent in the library or in lectures but I do remember the rehearsals, concerts and socials.

Was It Good For You: Siobhan Harper

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Siobhan Harper.

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Siobhan Harper
Skempton fan: Siobhan Harper

When were you at Kent?

I was at Kent from September 2006 until July 2009.

What subject did you study?

English Literature and Film Studies.

What occupation are you now engaged in?

I’m doing a Masters degree in English at the University of Exeter.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now?

I’m not sure I’d cope if I wasn’t doing something musical! After I graduated I was in the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus for a year, which was fantastic; we did loads of amazing pieces with some renowned conductors, and went on tour to Kuala Lumpur! Currently I’m in the Exeter University Singers, which is basically like a larger chamber choir. In fact, we’ve done a few of the same pieces that we did at Kent!

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent?

I was in the Chamber Choir and Chorus for the whole of my three years, in the society committee for the last two, and I had a singing scholarship and a music lesson scholarship. I also performed at Jazz @ 5, and at ArtsFest as part of Three Divas and a Piano. I think I had more contact hours with the music department than with my course!

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent?

Definitely most importantly, I made some of my best friends through the music society, friends that I still can’t seem to get rid of! Every crypt concert we’re reunited as a big group and it’s always one of the best nights of the year.

Knowing that I can handle doing a university course and being an active part of a society is fantastic. Both required so much organisation and time management, and it’s great to know that I am capable of handling those two disparate things. The knowledge that I wanted to be doing all things musical alongside all my work was also fantastic; music has always been such a big part of my life and I loved being able to continue with it at university.

And, of course, my balloon-blowing skills have come along in leaps and bounds, thanks to ArtsFest.    

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent?

One particularly wonderful memory is of Jacob Barnes, Chamber Choir’s accompanist for my first two years of university. In our first crypt concert in 2007, Jacob performed, and it was the highlight of the concert; he was an extraordinary musician and we were all blown away by his performance. I wasn’t lucky enough to know him as well as others did, but I have the deepest sympathy for his friends and family. Rest in peace, Jacob.

My musical experience at Kent was so rich, it’s far too difficult to pick just one memory. So I won’t:

Every Chamber Choir crypt concert, and every post-concert trip to the Buttermarket. Paris Tour 2008. African drums in the cathedral crypt. All of Sue’s quotes that we noted down gleefully in every Chorus rehearsal. Sop Central. Tippett Spirituals. Every committee handover meal. Chili con Carne. Sneaking into the VIP tent at ArtsFest. Every chamber choir rehearsal in the OTE. Eric Whitacre’s Sleep. When my party popper didn’t go off during the ‘Champagne Polka’. Here Come The Girls. Having the chorus sing me ‘Happy Birthday’ on my 21st. Howard Skempton, and the signed photographs. Boozy Ss. Staying up to watch the sunrise after ArtsFest 2008.

What an unforgettable experience.

Was It Good For You: Yasmeena Daya

Presidential: Yasmeena Daya

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University. This week, former Music Society President Yasmeena Daya.

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When were you at Kent ?

I was at Kent from September 2007 through to June 2010.

What subject did you study ?

Joint Honours Film and Drama Studies.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I have just finished working as an intern for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (the 4th film in the series). For two and a half months, I worked with both the Locations and Publicity departments. It was such an unbelievable opportunity, I got to work with and meet so many amazing people and they were all so friendly that it was like belonging to a giant filmic family.

Straight afterwards, I landed another job working for a Publicity department, but this time at the Dubai International Film Festival 2010! This was a similarly incredible experience; I managed and handled several projects completely independently- it was stressful and scary but very rewarding.

Both opportunities were immensely enlightening and exciting- within the space of 3 months I had worked on a Paramount film set, walked my first red carpet, met and worked with legendary talent on a daily basis and attended a film festival awards ceremony!

A couple of weeks ago, I auditioned for a role in an upcoming play to be performed in Dubai. I was accepted into the cast and we are currently in the rehearsal process! The date has not been set yet but the performance should be sometime in February.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

Since leaving University, I’m afraid I have not had the time. But I intend to get into contact with my Dubai-based singing teacher now that I am no longer working the mad hours that I was during M:I 4 and DIFF. I am also always on the look out to join any singing groups in the region and have signed myself up for one that will hopefully get started sometime soon.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I was awarded the Music Lesson Scholarship for singing lessons for the three years that I studied at Kent. I also auditioned (and annually re-audiditoned!) for the Chamber Choir. I was lucky enough to go on tour to Paris with the Chamber Choir in my first year- a Chamber Choir year, and trip, that I will never forget. I was also involved in Chorus and in a couple of smaller concerts- lunchtime concerts, scholarship concerts and charity sing-songs. In my third year, I was voted in as Music Society President- a position I was very sad to have to give up at the end of the year!

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

I gained so much from my Kent music experience that I don’t know where to begin! I learnt a lot about myself, about how much I am actually capable of doing (a joint honours degree and a lot of extra-curricular musical activity can be immensely time consuming)! And, as a result of this, I learnt that I don’t like having nothing to do; I would rather be running to a rehearsal in the rain or getting ready for a concert in the Cathedral or organising a meeting about hoodies, than sitting around at home.

Of course, most importantly, I gained the ability to continue being musical alongside my undergraduate degree. I did not have to study music to continue singing, something that has been a part of my life since I was nine. I was so relieved to be able to carry on singing and to do so in such a friendly environment.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

It is really difficult to pick one. Besides singing at the annual Carol Service held in the beautifully candle-lit Canterbury Cathedral, my most memorable experience would have to be Chamber Choir. I would look forward to every Tuesday night when the Chamber Choir would meet in the awkwardly shaped OTE and rehearse. In fact, wherever and whenever the Chamber Choir would get together, it was always memorable- it is impossible to forget our hilarious and scrumptious picnics!

In addition to all of this, I can’t forget being part of the committee every year, and especially in my final year. It was such a great experience getting to know our amazing 09/10 committee and I especially loved working so closely with the fantastic 09/10 execs; Secretary Suzy and Dan ‘Troy’ The Treasurer.

What would you say to current musical students at the University ? (optional!)

Don’t think twice: just sign-up!

I was really late in auditioning for Chamber Choir and the Scholarship and, out of shyness, I only attended my first Chorus rehearsal because someone else went with me.

In retrospect, I can’t imagine missing out and studying at Kent without being a part of the Music Society. I made so many friends through Music Soc, people I’m still in touch with today, despite how far away Dubai is.

I’m really glad I overcame my initial shyness and just went for it, I guarantee I would have left Kent a much less confident, outgoing, and musical (!) person had I not.

If you’re an alumnis and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!

Was It Good For You: Susannah Wharfe

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Susannah Wharfe.

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When were you at Kent ?

Lady Sings the Blues: Susannah Wharfe

I was at Kent from September 2008 – November 2009.

What subject did you study ?

I studied for a Masters in International Conflict Analysis.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

Officially, as in my paid job, I work for a Social Mechanics Agency, called Kinship Networking.  We’re based in Shoreditch, London, and look at providing solutions for businesses using ‘socialness’.

Unofficially I have two other ‘jobs’ – helping run an up-and-coming theatre company called Pilotlight Theatre, as well as writing and recording my own music, and playing whenever I can.

(For note, I perform under my nickname, zanna wharfe)

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

I’m still heavily involved in music, but mostly from a personal, solo perspective.  I’m currently writing my own material, as well as helping out with backing tracks and covers for various little projects.  I’ve also got a MySpace page. I’m heading into the recording studio soon to start recording my own stuff, which is ridiculously exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time!   Fingers crossed in time it might be my primary profession!

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I was an avid singer – singing with the Chamber Choir as well as regularly joining the team for the inaugural Jazz @ 5 sessions.

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

Singing at Kent reinvigorated my love of it.  I’d not realised how much I’d missed having music in my life till I was thrown back into the deep end and got involved again.  It also reminded me how exhilarating it is to stand up in front of people and bare your soul, so to speak.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Singing at The Orange Street Music Club for our charity concert.

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?

Just enjoy it.  As they’ll drill home to you, there’s no official music department, and that’s what makes it so exciting, and friendly!  If, in the long term, it’s really want you want to do, then do it.   Just keep practicing, keep performing, but know your strengths.  There’s a fine balance between realism and the dream world – and you have to keep one foot in each at all times; a tough, but ultimately fulfilling thing to do.

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f you’re an alumnus and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!

Was It Good For You: Mariah Mazur.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Mariah Mazur.

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Mariah Mazur
Mariah Mazur

When were you at Kent ?

2002 – 2006

What subject did you study ?

Drama and Italian, Joint Honours

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

Management Consulting. Self-employed harpist.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

Yes, I play with chamber orchestras, symphonies, teach harp lessons, as well as many other events and concerts.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I played in the Orchestra for four years, and was also the recipient of music scholarship.

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

Being the recipient of a music scholarship at Kent provided the opportunity for me to study with harp professors at the Royal Academy of Music, an incomparable experience.  I was also able to perform in such unique and varied settings, encouraging my confidence as a musician. The connections that I made and the experiences I enjoyed continue to enrich my life today.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

The opportunity to perform Mozart’s Flute and Harp concerto to a sold-out audience in the Gulbenkian Theatre was the paramount occasion of my time studying at the University of Kent.

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If you’re an alumnus and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!

Was It Good For You: Robert Rumble.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Robert Rumble.

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Robert Rumble

When were you at Kent ?

2003-2006

What subject did you study ?

BA in History

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

Business Archivist – Marks & Spencer.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

No, but I’m considering joining my local choral society.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

University Chorus 2003-2006, Choral Representative 2005-2006

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

It is certainly an excellent feature of my CV in the ‘hobbies and interests’ section.  I feel this has helped in job interviews.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

The 2005 & 2006 Colyer-Fergusson concerts (Verdi Requiem & Mozart).

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?

Embrace and enjoy the Kent Music Society – I have nothing but happy memories from my time in the society.

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If you’re an alumnus and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!

Was It Good For You: Suzy Walton

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Suzy Walton.
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When were you at Kent?
September 2007 – July 2010

What subject did you study?
Mathematics

Suzy Walton
She's got your number: Suzy Walton

What occupation are you now engaged in?
I am currently doing a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University – training to be a Secondary School Mathematics teacher!!!

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now?
Kent University cannot get rid of me as I’m still involved in the Concert Band and Big Band this year! Having recently acquired my own tenor saxophone, I could not pass up the opportunity to continue playing in the Big Band. I’ve also become involved in the school bands at my first placement school which gives the students an opportunity to see me out of a teaching role.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent?
When I was looking at universities to apply to, one of the most important things to me was whether or not they had a Music Society for me to continue playing my clarinet, hence why I fell in love with UKC. During my first week at university, I sought out the society and joined the Concert Band. In my second year I joined the committee as the Darwin College Rep. and in my final year I managed to juggle being the Music Society Secretary with my Maths degree! I also borrowed a friend’s tenor saxophone during her year abroad and taught myself enough to join Big Band!

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent?
During my time in the Music Society, I met so many new people who all had a passion for making music – like me. Without being involved in the bands I would not have had as good a time at Kent as I did. It’s lovely to still be in contact and to still be able to take part. Being able to play in the bands on a Wednesday is exactly the break I need from a stressful course!

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent?
My most memorable musical experience has to be Artsfest 2010. Knowing that it would be my last official Artsfest as a member of the University of Kent made it more special than any other. Despite the fact that I was running round all over campus sorting things out, I still thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Performing on the main stage was fantastic and being able to see my friends in the audience. I was also asked to do the honourable task of pulling the party poppers during the Champagne Polka. Thank goodness it all went according to plan! Finally, being outside, watching the fireworks with the rest of the committee was the best bit. I’d worked closely with Yasmeena Daya, the President for 2009/10 and standing there with her, reminiscing on the year was so lovely.

What would you say to current musical students at the University?

Get involved whole-heartedly in the University of Kent and get a well-rounded experience. But most importantly, get a good mix between studying and enjoying yourself.

Was It Good For You: Dominic Del Nevo

A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Dominic del Nevo.

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When were you at Kent ?

2002/2003 – 2004/2005

What subject did you study ?

Politics & International Relations

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

Pensions Administration.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

Dominic del Nevo
Married to the job: Dom del Nevo.

Yes – I have recently taken on the position of choir director at St Paul’s Church in Canterbury.  I also sing with a couple of Canterbury-based chamber choirs.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I sang with the Chamber Choir for two years and conducted it in my final year.  I was the Secretary of the Music Society in my secnd year.  I also sang with the University Chorus, and did the occasional stint of barbershop singing.

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

It was certainly a lot of fun, and I gained some great friends (and a fiancée, now wife!) in the process.  I was able to take advantage of some brilliant opportunities – singing and conducting in the Crypt of the Cathedral, and solo singing in the Cathedral and elsewhere.  The experience of conducting the Chamber Choir is one of the reasons why I’m now conducting a church choir every week.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Being involved in the first ArtsFest – it was so different from ‘just’ the Prom concerts of previous years, and a really exciting and unpredictable event…plus the weather was perfect!

What would you say to current musical students at the University ? (optional!)

Come and join St Paul’s Church choir!  But seriously, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, you may not get another chance.

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If you’re a musical alumnus and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!