Tag Archives: Chamber Choir

Buy one, get one free: two choirs go to Littlebourne.

The good citizens of Littlebourne got more than they bargained for when they wrote to me last Autumn, inviting the Music Department to provide a concert for them. Last week, to their surprise, not one but two choirs arrived at St. Vincent’s Church, Littlebourne, for a concert of choral music. 

Chamber Choir
University of Kent Chamber Choir 2010

The evening was shared between the University’s Chamber Choir, who were returning for the second year running, and an ensemble new to the University, the Cecilian Choir. Directed with authority by third-year Drama student Amy Clarke, the Chamber Choir explored a varied repertoire, ranging  from Schütz’s eight-part German Magnificat for double choir, and Bruckner’s Os Iusti to the wonderfully luminous Lux Aurumque by Whitacre, featuring some ethereal top notes from the sopranos. Tučapský’s Five Lenten Motets brought a suitably seasonal feel to the concert, and the concert ended with a lyrical rendition of Vaughan Williams’ folk-song settings. 

Cecilian Choir logoThe occasion was also the inaugural concert for the University’s Cecilian Choir, founded back in November as an opportunity for students, staff and alumni to make music on a smaller scale as a companion to the University Chorus. The group is a fine example of the nature of music-making across the university community observed in a previous post.  Directed by Dan Harding, they gave a spirited performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, with a profound exploration of the dissonances of the second movement, Et in terra pax hominibus. There was also high drama in the Domine Deus, Rex coelestis which pitches a solo voice against a beseeching chorus. Soloists were drawn from students and staff alike. The choir also sang two short but colourful motets by Howard Skempton, who is fast becoming a favourite of the University concert programmes. 

St. Vincent’s Church has a window in the south aisle dedicated to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, after whom the Cecilian Choir is named, and it was a fitting place for the choir in which to make their debut performance. The saint would have been delighted to hear the music of both choirs, we hope. 

Congratulations to all the musical staff, students and alumni who took part. I wonder how many choirs will turn up next year ?

The programme for the entire concert can be viewed here.

Was It Good For You: Tom Millinchip.

A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Tom Millinchip.

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When were you at Kent?
I was at Kent from 2004-2008.

Tom Millinchip
Society Man: Tom Millinchip

What subject did you study ?
I studied French.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?
Currently working for Majestic Wine in Chester but going to Christchurch to do a PGCE in September.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?
Where possible I try and keep up with my singing and am part of a local chorus and Church choir.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?
I was a member of the Chamber Choir, Chorus, Concert Band and Big Band and was Secretary of the Music Society in my second year.

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?
Having come from a musical family, music is in my blood but I didn’t expect to be heavily involved with anything when I first started at Kent.  This however changed as soon as I realised how welcoming and rich music-making at the University was.  My experiences and friends made through performing and socialising were/are invaluable and will be with me for the rest of my life.  Music is an exciting hobby and is a perfect way of getting to know knew people and learn new skills.  In terms of helping since I’ve left, I now have the confidence to join new groups and choirs where possible and working as part of the Committee in the Music Society has helped with my administration and leadership skills.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?
There have been so many, ranging from being involved in the first ever ArtsFest to performing in such a prestigious venue as Canterbury Cathedral.  The main highlight for me however was helping to organise and then going on the Chamber Choir tour to Paris in my final year.  Not only was the choir that year top notch (if I say so myself) but we were lucky enough to sing in La Madeleine and an English Church near the Champs-Elysées.  The experiences and company were unforgettable.

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?
I would say to them that they should just get stuck in no matter what instrument or what level of ability.  Being involved in such a large society and department will provide unrivalled experience and enjoyment and everyone should make the most of the opportunities that they are presented with.

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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: Gerard Collett

Gerard Collett
Hitting the right notes: Gerard Collett. Photo: Aubrey Kurlansky.

Beginning a new series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, we feature Gerard Collett, who recently returned as a soloist in the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert earlier this month. 

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When were you at Kent ? 

I studied at Kent from 2001 to 2004.   

What subject did you study ? 

I took a combined degree in Philosophy and History and Theory of Art.   

What occupation are you now engaged in ? 

I am an opera singer.   

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?  

I conducted the University Chamber Choir, and sang in the University Chorus, and also sang in the Summer Opera Projects.   

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

The value of working as part of a company, whether it was the Chamber Choir or Chorus, or as part of the Music Society in general, and the shared sense of satisfaction of a job well done are lessons I gained from my time at the university.  There is no better or more beneficial contrast for a student who must sit in front of a computer or in the library writing essays, than to make music with other students and lecturers, usually from different disciplines.  Music is a great leveller – we are all created equally, and so can be equally creative.  I strongly believe that.  It can also be great fun!   

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ? 

 I couldn’t pick one, but my most memorable and happy musical experiences were rehearsing for the opera productions.  I think there is something special about the Kentish Summer, there was a real end-of-year-joy in our summer productions.  A close second would be a well deserved beer in Simple Simons’ – (now ‘The Parrot’)… which is a musical experience of sorts…   

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

 To current musical students I would definitely say, 

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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!