The University Cecilian Choir is preparing to take part in the centuries-old tradition of Choral Evensong next month, when it will sing the service at Canterbury Cathedral on Tuesday 15 February at 5.30pm.
Comprising students, staff and alumni, the choir will also be welcoming back a handful of former students from near and far to sing; as well as an in-person congregation, the service will also be livestreamed on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel for those who would like to watch online.
Amongst the repertoire will be the lovely anthem, Peace I Leave With You, by the American composer, Amy Beach. Join the Choir live or online in a few weeks’ time, as they sing evensong at the heart of the cathedral city in what promises to be a lovely occasion with singers past and present.
After so long without them, it’s genuinely exciting to be back with musical events as the Christmas season starts to unfold.
The Cecilian Choir, comprising students, staff and alumni launched the Advent season with a sequence of plainsong and carols at St Michael’s Church, Hernhill, a meditative candlelit event interspersed with periods of silent reflection; there was a wonderfully atmospheric moment during one such moment, when the church clock struck on the hour at eight o’clock.
This year’s Chamber Choir, Minerva Voices, returned to the Cathedral on Monday 6 December, for the first time since December 2019, to sing for the University Carol Service; always a special event in the university calendar, drawing its community together in a modified, COVID-safe manner that was nonetheless a very welcome opportunity to come together at this time of the year. Congratulations to final-year Psychology student and Music Award Holder, Felicity Bourdillon (above, fifth from the right), whose solo verse to open ‘Once in royal David’s city’ lifted clear into the Cathedral Nave at the start of the service.
And last night, members of the String Sinfonia were in action in a fearless concert showcasing the versatility of music for string orchestra, including Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and some light-footed folksong arrangements by John Rutter.
We’ve still a week of events to go before the term ends; but it’s great to be back.
We[re delighted to present the film of Sure on this Shining Night, a recital given back in June in the Quire of Canterbury Cathedral by some of last year’s Music Performance Scholars during Summer Music Week.
Given under COVID-compliant restrictions to a small audience as part of a much-condensed series of events marking the end of the musical year at the University, the recital is now available to view online; ranging from Scottish bagpipe music to works by Samuel Barber, Fauré, Mendelssohn and finishing with two contemplative pieces for piano quintet by Olafur Arnalds, the performance was a testament to the commitment of the musical community at Kent last year to continue rehearsing and performing where possible during such challenging times.
The Music department is grateful to Chris Wenham for creating the film, and to all the performers who took part.
Congratulations to all the students, staff and alumni who were a part of the University Cecilian Choir‘s service of Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday.
It was the first time the Cecilian Choir has sung at Canterbury Cathedral, and as seasoned choral evensong singers will know, it’s quite a discpline to learn; the pointing and flexibility of psalm-singing, the need for security in delivering the unaccompanied Responses, and the constant having-to-be-on-your-toes throughout the service so you are ready for what comes next, with the right music in the right order, able to pluck the note of your chord from the intoned sentence from the Precentor. Not withstanding the additional challenge of singing in split formation across an extremely wide aisle in the Cathedral Quire, in mixed-voice arrangement without the security of singing amongst others of your voice-part. And all in front of an expectant congregation, fitting your contribution flawlessly into the well-oiled machinery of the Liturgy…
The Choir rose the occasion marvellously, particularly in Stanford’s Canticles in C and Elgar’s Ave Verum Corpus, a heady blend of lyricism and stirring ensemble singing.
It was lovely to welcome back some former members of the Choir and University alumni to take part; thanks too to organist Charles Francis, Organ Scholar and sixth-form pupil at St Edmund’s School, for playing for the service.
We are back at the Cathedral this Friday night, as the University Chamber Choir performs in the sonorous acoustics of the Cathedral Crypt to launch this year’s Summer Music Week...find out all that’s coming up 31 May – 8 June here.
Two events in three days with which to catch up, Loyal Readers!
Last Saturday brought the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra together in a programme combining music from the past with reimaginings from a modern perspective: Vivaldi’s dramatic iMagnificat, two of Handel’s bombastic Coronation Anthems, Walton’s recasting of Bach in The Wise Virgins, Matthew King’s orchestral vision of Mozart’s piece for mechanical organ, and Respighi’s light-footed Ancient Airs and Dances Suite no.2.
Director of Music Susan Wanless wielded the baton in front of the assembled masses to a packed house, and it was lovely to welcome back some familiar faces and musical alumni to take part in the performance.
Last night, it was the turn of the University Chamber Choir to participate in the Carol Service, an evocative event at Canterbury Cathedral bringing together members from across the University community in a programme of lessons and carols to explore the season of Advent.
Second-year Music Scholar, Hannah Ost (pictured here in rehearsal), launched the service in energetic fashion conducting Gaudete.
Elsewhere, Your Loyal Correspondent directed the eighteen-piece choir in a lyrically colourful setting of Lullay My Liking by Will Inscoe, a sixth-form pupil at St Edmund’s School, and a deft Ding Dong! Merrily on High. Earlier on, second-year postgraduate Law student and Music Scholar, Helen Sotillo, ushered in the Christmas season with a clarion-clear solo verse of Once In Royal David’s City – as it lifted into the upper reaches of the Nave, the season unfurled above the heads of the assembled congregation, stood in an expectant, candlelit hush.
Next up: tomorrow brings a Christmas lunchtime concert with the Flute Choir and Minerva Voices, and later the annual festive knees-up that is the Big Band’s Christmas Swingalong. Well, it IS the season…
Congratulations to the University Chamber Choir, which on Tuesday sang Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral.
The event was the first time in the history of the University that the Chamber Choir has taken part in the centuries-old tradition of choral evensong, and an auspicious occasion held in the very cradle of the Anglican church itself.
Directed by Deputy Director of Music, Dan Harding, the choir sang music by Stanford, Smith and Fauré, to a packed congregation, comprising regular attenders and parents, as well as overseas visitors, in the Cathedral Quire.
The Chamber Choir is back in action on Friday 1 June, and indeed back in the Cathedral, when it launches this year’s Summer Music Week festival with a performance in the Cathedral Crypt at 7.30pm; see all that’s coming up as part of the annual music festival celebrating the end of the University year here.
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!
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.