it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say this, but our new What’s On pages are now live with all the details about the Autumn term concerts!
Live music is back in earnest for the new term, as our Lunchtime Concert series welcomes sitar player Jonathan Mayer, a recital of music for viola de gamba by Asako Morikawa, the Deptford Rivieras in a post-launch party for their latest CD, and a special extra concert featuring the Glyndebourne Touring Orchestra and Pit Perfect, including a post-concert workshop with student string-players.
The December concert by the Chorus and Orchestra has a sparkling seasonal flavour, including music by Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams, and the term finishes in rousing fashion with the customary Christmas Swingalong featuring the Big Band and the evergreen Ian Swatman.
It was marvellous to get back to music-making at the end of term, to bring musicians and audiences together for the annual musical farewell to the University’s academic year. Many thanks to the University photographer, Matt Wilson, for capturing the events throughout the course of the week.
The first two events in this year’s Summer Music Week have got the series off to a flying start; at the weekend, the Sunday Swing with the University Big Band, conducted by Ian Swatman, and vocalist third-year Elle Soo, went down a storm!
The event was also the inaugural livestream direct from Colyer-Fergusson and had a lively online audience watching at the time – since then, it has gone on to garner (at the time of writing) well over 800 views – if you missed it, you can see it below or watch it here:
Yesterday saw the first of two Scholars’ Recitals (the second takes place on Friday in Canterbury Cathedral); a selection of this year’s Music Performance Scholars presented a programme including a classic number made famous by Etta James, some sparkling French flute repertoire, and closed with a vivacious duet for two violas by Telemann.
Many thanks to all the performers involved in both events; it’s great to be back making live music in Colyer-Fergusson once more and welcome audiences through the doors; and it’s not over yet…
The Big Band was rehearsing on Sunday ahead of its event on Sunday 6th June, Sunday Swing, which will launch this year’s Summer Music Week.
Willing victims as always, the players, conductor Ian Swatman, together with third-year Social Anthropology student and singer, Elle Soo, gamely agreed to allow us to use the opportunity to test the livestreaming facility, in order to share the concert online (a limited audience capacity means we aren’t able to accommodate the usual Full House that greets the Big Band events).
Whilst the ensemble was working, the technical crew was working tirelessly behind the scenes to set up and test the cameras, microphones, lighting and streaming platform around the musicians; and I’m pleased to say that it worked. There were some spine-tingling moments as live music lifted into the concert-hall once more after so many months without it, and it was lovely to see the audience-seating back out in the hall, something we’ve not seen since March 2020!
Thanks to Thomas, George and Joe, we’re delighted to say that, for those who can’t join us in person at 2.30pm this Sunday, we will be able to share the event live online. Watch the event live on YouTube here (see also below) – thanks to Ian and the players for heroically acting as our digital guinea-pigs as we usher in the new Digital Age in Colyer-Fergusson Hall…
We’ve reached the end of our first week of music-making – but a different way of making music in these different times. Since Monday, Chorus, Chamber Choir, Concert Band, Big Band and Orchestra have all be taking place online, and it’s been great to see people accessing the resources and taking part.
There’s a great sense that, wherever people are – in their rooms, in their homes around the local area – that we’re able to come together once more, in order to tackle repertoire, keep making music, and be working creatively.
Many thanks to the various tutors who have been leading these online rehearsals, filming their virtual rehearsals and still keeping everyone engaged, as we start to get the musical term underway.
Continuing the series profiling this year’s new Music Performance Scholars and Award Holders. This week, first-year trumpeter reading Italian, Jonny Easton,
I began playing when I was very young, as both my father and grandfather are brass players. I started trumpet lessons in Year 2 and was in the school band by Year 3. At that point there were about 18 of us in it (with an extraordinarily heavy trumpet section… the word cacophonous springs to mind…) By the time I left the school in Year 13, however, the junior school band that I was helping run had about 45 kids in it, and the senior one also had around 40 players.
My school had an excellent music department, and I was hugely lucky to get the opportunity to perform with Black Dyke Mills Brass Band, the Royal Marines Band, The London Mozart Players (for a remembrance concert in which I provided a solo accompaniment to a massed choir; an incredible experience), London City Big Band, and Jason Robello and his Trio.
Although I predominantly play the Trumpet, I was the Soprano Cornet in my school brass band for the entirety of my time in secondary school and sixth form, which I enjoyed tremendously as the Soprano part tended to be a little more interesting than the solo cornet’s.
I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to go on tour with my school brass band several times, to Paris, Italy, Austria, Barcelona and Prague, all of which were awesome trips (especially as I had a good group of friends there too!)
From the age of 11, I have spent many an hour each Christmas carolling with Salvation Army musicians, often playing leading parts but also at times playing second or third melodies.
Since finishing school, I kept up my playing, albeit to a lesser extent, while working at a Prep School in my gap year. I was helping out in ensemble rehearsals, providing a little extra tuition for a few of the boys before their music exams, and also standing in (very suddenly and without much notice!) to accompany their end of year shows. Admittedly, a lot of this job consisted of chasing down boys who had forgotten to come and see me when we’d agreed on a break time – they were always, however, exceedingly apologetic.
Since starting at the university, I’ve been involving myself in a number of groups: Symphony Orchestra; the Big Band; General Harding’s Tomfoolery (a 1940’s style swing band); the Concert Band; and at times dropping into a brass ensemble. Concert preparation was underway by Week Two, and before Christmas the Orchestra, Big Band and Tomfoolery group each had a concert – it was demonstrated to me quite how nice it is to perform in a space like the new(ish) concert hall.
Coming up before then end of this term is an Orchestral concert in the Cathedral (we’re playing Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony and Durufle’s Requiem – both massive pieces which will be awesome to play in such a venue), a joint Big Band-Concert Band concert in the Colyer-Ferguson hall, and a Tomfoolery lunchtime concert – with dancers! I will also be playing in a chamber orchestra children’s concert of Peter and the Wolf; which I rather hope they’ll be resurrecting David Bowie to narrate…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.