Tag Archives: Concert Band

Supporting an international student musician: Aline Kellenberger

One of the excellent facilities the Music department is able to offer is particular support for international students involved in extra-curricular music at the University, thanks to the Barry Wright Legacy fund. Here, woodwind player Aline Kellenberger reflects on her experience with the University Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band this year.


One year ago I started to plan my Study Abroad at the University of Kent. As I was looking into all the different societies the university offered, I saw the music society with the Orchestra and the Concert
band. That day I decided not to join as it would be complicated to bring my oboe with me, both in luggage space and out of fear of something happening to my instrument.

I arrived in England last September for the autumn term, I joined different societies, met new people and overall enjoyed my time abroad. But two weeks into the term I already missed playing music. So I decided to get into contact with the Music Administrator of Kent, Sophie Meikle, and asked if I could rent an oboe for myself. She immediately answered me and told me that the music department would like to rent it for me. A few weeks later they also offered to rent the cor anglais!

One of the greatest things here at Uni has definitely been being able to practice together with so many people. Due to Covid all group rehearsals and concerts over the last years were cancelled, so it felt
really great to play with other people again. Especially being able to perform the Christmas Concert at the end of last year’s term together with the choir in front of an audience! I have now started my second term here at Kent and have another three months to look forward to playing with the Orchestra as well as the Concert band. If somebody had told me one year ago that I would get to play in the
Cathedral of Canterbury I would have not believed them.

The Symphony Orchestra rehearsing before the concert, conducted by Dan Harding. Photo: Jeni Martin

I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome I got from everyone in the music society and especially for this opportunity. Since I am an exchange student I was not able to bring my own instrument with me, this was due to the amount of luggage I could bring with me. The University of Kent gives me the chance to not only study abroad and improve my English, but also allows me to continue my hobby of 17 years. Playing with the Orchestra as well as the Big Band gives me new experiences, helps me keep up with practice and helps me improve my English. It is also a very good opportunity to improve my own skills by playing with so many different people.

Members of the Symphony Orchestra backstage before the performance

I decided to come to the University of Kent specifically for its language department and now I am so happy that I got the
opportunity to also join the music department.

Aline Kellenberger, University of Bern

In pictures: Summer Music Week 2021

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.

Big Band: Sunday Swing

 

Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital
(read the programme here)

 

Music Scholars’ Evening Recital: Canterbury Cathedral

(read the programme here)

Closing concert: Music for a Summer’s Day

(read the programme here)

With thanks to all the performers, audiences, staff and technicians who made this all possible. An especial farewell and thanks to all those who were performing for the final time.

Images: © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Summer Music Week 2021: rehearsals are underway

For the first time since December, we’re able to resume in-person rehearsals once more, as we come together in preparation for this year’s somewhat smaller (but no less welcome!) Summer Music Week.

It’s the first week of term, and at first the Chamber Choir and String Sinfonia have begun rehearsals, as well as some of this year’s Music Scholars in preparation for various recitals.

Photo: Flo Peycelon

Wednesday night saw Concert Band and Big Band back in action:

Photo; Jonathan Stott

And Thursday saw the Symphony Orchestra coming together tutti for the first time since March 2020:

Photo: Ian Swatman

rbt

It’s a very welcome return to music-making! Follow the pictorial story through the term over on our Pinterest board here; Summer Music Week is on its way…

Online rehearsals bring music-making to life once more

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.

Scholar’s Spotlight: Jonny Easton

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…

Find out more: Weds 18 September

With Welcome Week about to burst into vibrant activity here at the University, make sure you come along to Colyer-Fergusson on Wednesday 18 September to find out about getting involved in extra-curricular music, whatever you are studying.

Between 11am and 3pm, members of the music staff and the various Music Societies will be on hand to enthuse about the many opportunities to get involved in music as part of student life at Kent. Visitors can look round the award-winning Colyer-Ferguson concert hall, practice rooms and band room, as well as learn about the differing ways in which to become a part of music: whether it’s singing with Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir or the upper-voice choir, Minerva Voices; instrumentalists can join the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band or Big Band, and there are other music societies active during the year including the Musical Theatre Society.

Plans for the Wednesday event include live music on the foyer-stage throughout the day, and there’s the possibility of a Scratch Orchestra play-through of popular film scores, and even choruses from Messiah.

We look forward to welcoming you through the doors of Colyer-Fergusson during Welcome Week, and especially next Wednesday – come and find out how to make rehearsing and performing a part of your university experience, whatever course you may be studying!

Summer Music Week details now online

We’re very pleased to reveal the full line-up of events for this year’s Summer Music Week live online this morning!

Launching on Friday 31 May with a sonorous concert by the Chamber Choir and Consort in Canterbury Cathedral Crypt, our musical farewell to the academic year unfolds over the next eight days to include a trip to the seaside with the University Big Band at Deal Bandstand, a recital by University Music Scholars, a Gala concert with the Concert and Big Bands, the String Sinfonia and Chamber Choir in the premiere of Between Worlds exploring music and science by Anna Phoebe, all culminating in the annual Music for a Summer’s Day with the Chorus and Orchestra bidding a tearful farewell to this year’s music-making.

See all that’s to come, grab your tickets and help us celebrate another musical year in the life of the University as it draws to a festive close. The brochure will be available shortly…

Scholars’ Spotlight: Euan Bonnar

Continuing the series profiling current Music Performance Scholarship and Music Award holders at the University of Kent. This week, first-year Biochemistry student and Music Performance Scholarship brass-player, Euan Bonnar.


My musical journey began very early, aged four, with piano lessons at school. Although it would eventually become a secondary instrument later, I immensely enjoyed being able to learn and perform what were initially very complex pieces for such a small person. Looking back, it is easy to see that my love for the piano sparked my passion for music, with endless hours spent either hammering out scales or a wide variety of pieces. I vividly remember my eccentric piano teacher at the time handing me Bach’s ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier,’ telling me to take a look and play around with some of the pieces. Much of my early musical life was spent pursuing a solo venture, rather than any ensemble playing. The closest I got to playing with other musicians on the piano was performing in the Portsmouth Music Festival with my brother, who ironically is now a much better pianist than I ever was.

I picked up the Baritone as a second instrument halfway through Junior School and began to play in the school’s orchestra. Although the sound produced was crude in retrospect, I enjoyed playing with the type of ensemble and would return to playing in this setting much later in the form of brass ensembles, dectets and concert bands.

Throughout the rest of my school years, I learnt both instruments at the same time. However, there came a point where I had to choose a primary instrument to focus my efforts on as my workload increased. As I had recently achieved Grade 6 in the piano, I decided to put it on the back burner and continue with the Euphonium as my primary instrument. As I was learning outside of the school system, my only ensemble playing was with the school orchestra. However, in the final weeks of secondary school, I spoke to Jock McKenzie about my plans for ensemble playing at Sixth Form, and if I would be interested in joining his ensembles in the new academic year. Having been playing with his student and orbiting his ensembles for the past five years, I couldn’t wait to play in the calibre of the band that he conducted.

During my time at Sixth Form, I joined in on every musical opportunity I could; taking AS Music, joining the Porchester, Gosport and Fareham Youth Band and the Sixth Form’s Dectet. Although I had come very late to the party in terms of ensemble playing, I grabbed every opportunity with both hands and learned a completely new way of playing my instrument. The PFGYB played an amazing variety of pieces which vastly expanded my appreciation for music, and although I missed my solo opportunity in Holst’s ‘Second Suite in F’ in the summer concert as I was on the way back from my Gold DofE expedition in Snowdonia, it still was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget.

A highlight of my time playing the Euphonium was when I was invited to participate in the ‘Low Brass Day’ at the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth, hosted by the British Trombone Society. This day was attended by professional musicians including David Childs, Les Neish, Simon Minshall, Robbie Harvey, as well as many members of the Royal Marines Band School. The day included masterclasses from the invited professionals and was based on a variety of techniques and topics and was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

As a biochemistry student here at Kent, I enjoy music as an extra-curricular activity as a way to stay in touch with my creative side between lectures and long periods of study. I take part in the University’s Concert Band (pictured in rehearsal, below) and Pops Orchestra but have also formed my own Brass Ensemble to continue to play the type of music that I played in the brass. I am very grateful to be the recipient of the Music Performance Scholarship, which has allowed me to purchase a new euphonium to use at University and continue to fuel my passion for music alongside my studies.