Tag Archives: Chamber Choir

Was It Good For You: Suzannah Lipmann.

A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Suzannah Lipmann.

Suzannah Lipmann
On her metal: Suzannah Lipmann.

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When were you at Kent ?

2005 – 2009

What subject did you study ?

Social Anthropology with a Year in Japan

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I am a Minor-Metals trader.

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

Yes, I have weekly singing lessons and I am going to be singing Bernstein’s Mass with a choir from the Southbank Centre in  July at the Royal Festival Hall.  I also am in a band (Jazz/ Rock) with a family friend and my old art teacher from school!

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

In my first year I was a member of the Chamber Choir and in my final year I was a member of the Chorus and a permanent fixture in the first year of Jazz at 5 (Sept 2008 – Jun 2009).

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Singing with the Chamber Choir in 2005 in the Christmas concert in Cantebury Cathedral.

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

Take every opportunity and make time, because no matter how little time you think you have at uni it is nothing like life after uni when you work!  I missed a whole year of being involved with singing at uni, because I thought I didn’t have enough time.  This was a big mistake as that is a whole year in which you could have improved that bit more.  After uni it is so much harder to find a good auditioned choir with people your own age.  So definitely do as much as you can while it’s on a plate for you.  At the very least you can make friends with whom you share an interest which is rather rare. 

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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!

Was It Good For You: Miles Banbery.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Miles Banbery.

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Miles Banbery
Web-master: Miles Banbery

When were you at Kent ?

1990-1995 as a student – ever since as a member of staff!

What subject did you study ?

BA (Hons) in History and MA in Medieval and Tudor Studies.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I’m the Web Editor for the University of Kent.

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

I belong to two local chamber choirs (one of whom I occasionally conduct and more regularly act as rehearsal pianist for) and get involved as a ‘dep’ or ‘bumper’ with a variety of local chamber choirs, church choirs and choral societies. In addition, I sing in and organise a quartet who sing a monthly unaccompanied mass at a local church. Sometimes we grow to 8 or 12 members for special occasions but always stick to the 16th century English and continental European unaccompanied repertoire.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent

I sang in the University Chamber Choir and University Chorus as well as taking my turn conducting the Chamber Choir and the Big Band. In addition, I served as a committee member for both the Chamber Music Society and the Jazz and Blues Society. I also performed in the chorus for Tosca in the Gulbenkian and for The Pyjama Game in the Marlowe. Later on I also had the opportunity to be musical director to student productions of Cabaret and My Fair Lady as well as vocal coach for Joseph.

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

I gained hugely from the opportunities given to students to perform as soloists, gain experience of musicals and operas and also get to conduct/direct if they wanted. That kind of experience is invaluable and, whilst its tempting to keep standards high by using local semi-pros and pros, student experience and development is so important. The solo and conducting experience I got at Kent hugely improved not just my skills in those areas, but my confidence presenting in front of large groups of people and choir work is great for learning key team skills.

I also learnt how much comes to those who are willing to organise it themselves! Its no good waiting for others to bring opportunities to you!

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Difficult to pick just one! Chamber Choir tours to Prague including the one I conducted must be top, but I remember a wonderful Messiah in St. Peter’s Methodist Church and a wonderful Monteverdi Vespers in Wye Parish Church. I have to say how much I enjoyed the annual ‘Messiah from Scratch’. A great introduction to Kent for singers and players alike.

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

Take every opportunity to perform you can get without failing your degree! Also, don’t neglect your practice and technique like I did! 🙂

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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!

Was It Good For You: Jo Shave.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Jo Shave.

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Jo Shave
A cut above: Jo Shave

When were you at Kent ?

I was at Kent from 2006 – 2009.

What subject did you study ?

I studied English Language and Linguistics.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I’m currently taking a gap year to earn some extra pennies, before embarking on an MSc in Neuroscience, Language and Communication at University College London.

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

Sadly these days, my musical participation is limited to singing in my car and the occasional twang on my guitar. However, I still regularly attend concerts of all genres particularly recent University of Kent Chamber Choir concerts. It’s worthwhile listening from another angle, and particularly enjoyable to see the choir flourish in the years after you’ve gone.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I was involved across most aspects of the Music Society. I was a fully fledged Chorus and Chamber Choir member from 2006 – 2009 and continued the position of Chamber Choir Librarian for two years too. In my third and final year, I conducted the group ‘Sing!’ which was extremely successful. It was a huge achievement for myself and the performers and a fantastic way to promote the joy of singing. I also participated in the female Barbershop at ArtsFest each year and due to my Music Lesson Scholarship I was given a wealth of additional opportunities to perform and promote how the Music Society was crucial to my University experience.

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

My University experience just wouldn’t have been the same without the Music Society. From that first Freshers Open evening I was hooked as everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Of course, the music itself was fantastic too. I relished the opportunities to perform in the Cathedral each year, and sing music I hadn’t sung before. In addition, touring to Paris with the Chamber Choir in April 2008 was a brilliant experience and opportunity. The Music Society certainly helped me to mature from a Fresher into a Graduate in a huge number of ways. Most importantly, I left University with a huge number of very close friends and it is wonderful to be able to stay in contact and meet up as regularly as possible. We often sit and sing tonnes of pieces from years gone by and reminisce about the ‘good old days’.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Without doubt, my most memorable musical experience at Kent was the Chamber Choir 2008 tour to Paris. I was extremely lucky to be involved in such a rewarding experience, and the choir and company were fantastic. There have been so many other opportunites too, but Artsfest each year has to be one of the best events on earth! A whole day filled with musical activities is a dream come true! I especially loved the performance of the finale of Die Fleidermaus in the Eliot Hall in my final year; it was the best and only way to say goodbye to the best three years of music-making.

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

Get involved! One of the best ways to be a part of the Music Society is to join the Committee, so stand for election and go for a college rep, or if you’re feeling ambitious go for an Exec position like President or Secretary. Take full advantage of the opportunities you are given no matter what ability or instrument and enjoy yourselves to the full!

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If you’re an alumni 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: Rebecca de Verenne.

Continuing the series profiling muscial alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Rebecca de Verenne.

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Rebecca de Verenne
Phat Choons: Rebecca de Verenne.

When were you at Kent ?

2001-2005

What subject did you study ?

Drama and Theatre Studies

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

Personal Assistant and Administrator with a Nursing/Residential Care Home Group for elderly clients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Also currently studying to be a Hypnotherapist (graduate May 2010) and Psychotherapist (graduate May 2012).

If music is not your profession, are you involved in any musical activities ?

I sing in the car on the way to work. Current imaginery collaborations include Florence and the Machine, Dizzee Rascal and Bloodgroup.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

Co-Founder of the Phat Ladies along with Heather Salisbury and Amy Smith, Chamber Choir 2001-2004, Summer Operas, University Chorus, Supported by the Music Department with a bursary in singing 2001-2004.

What did you gain from your musical experiences at Kent ?

More confidence, met lots of great people.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Cartwheeling across the Gulbenkian stage in silver hot pants with three other girls posing as waitresses for Die Fledermaus. Also all the time I spent with my fellow five Phat Ladies both during performance and practice.

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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!

Was It Good For You: Mitesh Khatri.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Mitesh Khatri. 

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Mitesh Khatri
In tune with the times: Mitesh Khatri

When were you at Kent?
2002 – 2005 

What subject did you study ?
Computer Systems Engineering 

What occupation are you now engaged in ?
Music – currently finishing my 2nd postgrad year at the Birmingham Conservatoire. I’m hoping to stay in the music industry as either a teacher or, preferably, an opera singer. 

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

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?
I sang with the University Chorus and Chamber Choir, both for three years. I was also assistant conductor to the Chamber Choir for one year. I was involved with the Music Society for all three years at uni, and I also received a bursary for singing lessons for three years. I was also a member of a barbershop quartet that was set up by four of us, called Fortunes (or possibly FourTunes, I’m not sure which!). 

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?
It gave me a release from the academic side of being at university, and in doing so also helped me get through uni by providing me with the opportunity to continue doing something I had already been doing, and that I already enjoyed. Since being Kent, and partly because I was involved with the music so heavily, I’ve never really looked back from singing, and I’ve continued to have lessons and sing with amateur groups, and go on to do a postgrad degree and aim to make singing my career. 

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?
In December 2003 we did a performance of Carmina Burana in Eliot College, and I was the tenor soloist for it. That was my first solo experience with a full orchestra and it was one ofthe best things I’ve ever done. I’ll never forget it. There were also a number of Cathedral Concerts in my final year, the university’s 40th anniversary. The ones that stick out are the Verdi Requiem and the Elgar Nimrod Variations. I have to also say that everyone I worked with was so friendly and it was all so much fun! 

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?
Don’t underestimate what you can get from people like Sue, both on a musical and personal level. She’s put her heart and soul into music making at Kent and she does a terrific job. The variety of musical opportunities at Kent don’t present themselves outside university life so easily, and some are just less easily accessible. If you want to try your hand at something musical or if there’s a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do but never been able to, then Kent ‘s the place to do it. It’s only because Kent doesn’t have it’s own music degree or department that anyone can get involved with projects and productions, and people do it for fun and to enjoy it, not to prove themselves. Everyone worked together, and had a great time doing it. So just dive in and see what you can find!

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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!

Alanya Holder is ‘Wrapping up Spring.’

Be My Guest: an occasional series featuring guest posts and contributions. This week, a look back over the musical events of the Spring term, the second article from second-year Law student and recently-elected President of the Music Society, Alanya Holder.

Wrapping Up Spring.

“Sometimes I forget I’m doing a Law Degree…”

When I first sat down and thought of everything musical that has happened over the last term I realised that if I talked about every single one in detail, this blog post would never end. So instead here is a whirlwind tour of the Spring term with the Music Society… 

University Chorus and Orchestra
University Chorus and Orchestra in Canterbury Cathedral: Photo: Robert Berry

January began with everyone complaining how much they had eaten over Christmas and how none of us at Chorus could make sense of the Szymanowski Stabat Mater. With the Cathedral Concert only a couple of months away, nerves set in immediately and adrenaline kept us all going until the day. However I must admit that by the day we had come to love the Szymanowski in a strange kind of way and I definitely loved the Poulenc Gloria. A fellow musician, Chris Gray has written a fantastic blog post all about the Cathedral concert day – one of the longest days of my life, but a fantastic one.

So a few weeks into term, not much going on – I know, let’s have a SOCIAL! The Music Society had a ‘blues’ themed social at the Orange Street Club. It was blues night at the club, and the Society all came dressed in blue – or as a Blues Brother in one case (good effort Andrew Bailey!) And as we all danced the night away, I was contemplating my first concert of the term – the Concert Band and Big Band annual concert in the Gulbenkian Theatre.

University Big Band
Good Times Roll! The University Big Band

The band concert is well known for being a night of fun and fantastic music, this year featuring the singing sensation Crystal Cowban! However while the concert all looks fantastic and sounds even better, few know of the hours and hours of preparation that go into it! In the weeks running up to the concert it’s a mad rush making sure that there are enough copies of all the music and trying to tie people down to saying if they are definitely performing so that a seating plan can be made! On the day instruments pile into a van and make their way to the theatre, chairs are stolen from seminar rooms because there just aren’t enough and generally everyone rushes around like a headless chicken until we sit down to rehearse in the afternoon. Similar goings-on after the concert make the day long and hard but definitely worth it – even if my clarinet playing skills are not something to shout about. [Not true! – Ed.].

Sing!
Altogether now: Sing!

Something new for me this year was singing in ‘Sing!’ a student run choir that performed in the Gulbenkian Cafe as a warm-up act for the concert. We sang such greats as Lean on Me and a Disney Medley. More to come from ‘Sing!’ at ArtsFest and next year.

At the end of February (yes I’m only up to February!) I took the plunge and volunteered to sing at Dan Harding’s ‘Jazz at 5’ – a brilliant innovation which got me listening to some different kinds of music and gave me the opportunity to sing solo, something I haven’t done for over a year. I sang two songs by Fairground Attraction and Why don’t you do right by Peggy Lee. I’ve loved watching all my friends take part in Jazz at 5 and couldn’t have asked for a better experience in life when I got up there and did it for myself.

Two days after this was the Chamber Choir Crypt Concert. This was my first year in the Chamber Choir and it has been tonnes of fun! Amy Clarke has been a fantastic conductor this year and the Cathedral Crypt just made the evening so special. That evening truly was one of those nights that gives you a shiver down your spine as you’re doing something you love, with people you love in a place that you can’t help but love! Can’t wait for next year…

And finally to my last concert of the term – the Littlebourne Concert. This was a great opportunity for the Chamber Choir to have another chance to sing our repertoire in another location and for a good cause. We were also joined by the Cecilian Choir who sang Vivaldi’s Gloria. This was fantastic, a piece that is a personal favourite of mine.

And so the term comes to a close…I’ve sung, I’ve played, I’ve watched and I’ve organised. This term has been hectic and stressful but also wonderful. I’ve made some really good friends and been given new and amazing opportunities. I will never forget my time with the Music Society at Kent University – it has been my life this last term! I don’t think my parents will forget it either, as they have been at every single concert I’ve been involved in – dedication and a half!

Sometimes I forget I’m doing a Law Degree…

Was It Good For You: Hannah Widmann.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Hannah Widmann.

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 When were you at Kent ? 

Hannah Widmann
Still ahead: Hannah Widmann

2005-2008

What subject did you study ?   

BSc Psychology  

What occupation are you now engaged in ?  

I am still studying, and have changed fields only slightly. At the moment I’m busy doing research for my MSc thesis in London, my MSc is in Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics at the University of Amsterdam.  

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

I am still an avid choral singer, and will sing in whatever group that will let me. Luckily, I found a nice chamber choir in Utrecht, not far from my new Dutch home, and have been singing with them for the past 1.5 years. Also, I find most of my friends this way, so gatherings have a tendency to go musical after a drink or two!  

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?  

I was a member of Chorus and Chamber Choir in all three years, and was lucky to receive a Music Lesson Scholarship for singing lessons. I, also sang in several smaller groups (Ladies’ Barbershop, madrigal groups), went to every single Music Society social, and was generally one of those people that you see involved at every concert (not always musically… but I can shake a bucket nicely!). I was also Secretary to the Music Society in 2007-08. I had a brilliant time!

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

Apart from making what I believe to be great music, I had the best time socially. I met most of my Kent friends through the Music Society, and am still in touch with lots of them. I lived with several “music geeks” in my final year, and sharing this hobby that filled most of our social calendars made it such a fun house to live in! I still use music and singing to kick-start my social life in a new place, and one of my first actions in Holland was to look for a decent chamber choir- it had been so central to my life at Kent! And yes, it worked. Choral people are just so likeminded.  

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?  

Oh, there were so many special moments, it’s very hard to pick just one. Musically, my final year in Chamber Choir and the (if I might say so myself) excellent performance at that year’s Crypt Concert spring to mind. The choir really gelled, and the knowledge that we’d go to Paris with this programme made us all work extra hard. It really was a fantastic night.  

A very corny moment, but surely another one of the highpoints of my time at Kent were the carol services in the Cathedral.  The candlelit procession through the Nave, while singing “Once in Royal David’s city” was always a very touching experience.  

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

Make the best of your time at university, and just enjoy the ride.  

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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!

Was It Good For You: Sylvia Hinds.

A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Sylvia Hinds.   

Sylvia Hinds
On song: Sylvia Hinds

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When were you at Kent ?     

2001-2003    

What subject did you study ?    

English and American Literature, BA Hons    

What occupation are you now engaged in ?    

I work for the University of Kent – in the Admissions Office    

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

I still sing in Canterbury – both for the University, and in a couple of local chamber choirs.    

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?    

I was a member of the Music Society. I sang in the Chamber Choir, and the University Chorus, and I took part in the 2003 Summer Opera.    

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

I transferred to Kent in my second year, and found meeting people quite hard as everyone already knew each other, and my friends were limited to those I met on my course. Once I joined the Music Society, I made a whole new group of friends. Musicians are generally sociable people, and joining the Society helped me find a place at university away from my classes. It also made me want to spend more time at university – I felt part of life on campus, which I hadn’t felt up to then. I went to the library between classes and rehearsals, so it probably helped my grades too.    

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?    

Singing in the Summer Opera was fun, as was performing with the Chamber Choir.    

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

Join the Music Society! Joining a choir or orchestra on campus is a great way to let off steam, make friends, and make great music. Getting involved with the Music Committee looks great on your CV, and the social events are always fun, if a little crazy. Making music once you graduate isn’t always so easy, so cheap, or so much fun, so take advantage now. I also met my fiancée in the Chamber Choir, and we’re getting married in October, so if you’re single, the ‘Sue Wanless Dating Service’ is still going strong…

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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!