Congratulations to all the members of the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra on Saturday’s electrifying return to Canterbury Cathedral. For the first time since 2019, the annual Colyer-Fergusson concert resounded in the Cathedral Nave, and we were delighted to welcome back several alumni to take part.
Thank you also to our fantastic soloists: soprano Rachel Nicholls, mezzo Emma Stannard, and two Kent alumni, tenor Andrew Macnair and bass-baritone Piran Legg.
For the first time since 2019, the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra return to the magnificence of Canterbury Cathedral in March, for the annual Colyer-Fergusson Concert.
Named in honour of Sir James Colyer-Fergusson, the yearly event has been sorely missed; the Music department is very excited at the prospect of returning to the heart of the cathedral city once more this March, and to add to the occasion we’re looking forward to welcoming two alumni and former Music Scholars as soloists.
Haydn’s dramatic Nelson Mass, written in the shadow of Napoleon’s advancing army, will feature tenor Andrew Macnair and bass-baritone Piran Legg.
Andrew arrived at the University of Kent in 1987 to read Physics, and was a Music SCholars as well as President of Music Society and Chamber Music Society. Numerous concerts, several operas, eight years and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance later, he took up a career in singing after Kent, and has been singing with the Royal Opera Chorus, Covent Garden, since 2006.
Hailing from the seaside town of Whitstable, Piran studied History at Kent; he moved onto the Opera School at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has since performed extensively in opera
around the UK and abroad, working as a soloist with companies such as Wexford Festival Opera, Garsington Opera, Scottish Opera and the LSO.
Bringing together musicians amongst the University community of staff and students, as well as members of the local community and alumni, the concert in March will be something to remember, as we pass through the doors of the Cathedral for the first time in three years to fill the space with Haydn’s epic mass setting, coupled with the youthful vigour of Mendelssohn’s first symphony.
Congratulations to the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, together again for the first time in two years on Saturday for a sparklingly seasonal concert.
A sold-out house and an enthusiastic audience greeted the combined musical forces, embracing students, staff, alumni, and members of the local community in a programme including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols with baritone Simon Thorpe, and Tchaikovsky’s glittering Nutcracker Suite.
Thank you to everyone involved; a delight to be back making music together! We’re back next term with Haydn and Mendelssohn in Canterbury Cathedral…
A standing ovation from over six hundred people greeted the end of yesterday’s concert by the University Camerata in L’Eglise de Notre Dame in the heart of the city of Calais.
The Camerata is a real cross-section of the University community, comprising undergraduate and postgradudate students, staff and alumni, all coming together to represent the University in public concerts throughout the year. Yesterday’s performance was the result of an invitation earlier this year by Calais city council to bring the two cities of Calais and Canterbury together, to recognise and celebrate the cities’ shared history (Calais was once part of the Diocese of Canterbury) and to make cultural connections (see previous post here).
An early morning start saw the coach-load of musicians leaving Colyer-Fergusson in various stages of wakefulness (well, 6.30am on a Sunday can be a little early for some…), with a welcome coffee at the Folkestone terminal of Le Shuttle enlivening the group further still on its way to an 11am (French time) rehearsal in the church beneath glorious November skies.
Music by Elgar and Warlock was soon swirling around the nave of the magnificent church, with later on the strains of Marcello’s Oboe Concerto lifting into the roof courtesy of Professor Dan Lloyd, who joined the string group on oboe, stepping out of his busy schedule as Deputy Head of the School of Biosciences.The Camerata’s international make-up mirrors that of the wider University community, with members from Germany, Lithuania, France and Canada, including an Erasmus-student cellist; the Schools of Psychology, Law, Mathematics and Biosciences were also represented by the ensemble’s constituents, many of whom are either current or former University Music Performance Scholars. It’s a testament to the nature of extra-curricular music-making at Kent that it transcends boundaries – geographical, hierarchical, institutional – as it creates communities working together in rehearsal and performance.
The concert, part of the city’s current festival, drew over six hundred people to witness the power of collaborative creativity which lies at the heart of the University’s vision. We’re already looking forward to the second event in our planned collaboration later in the year.
Congratulations to all the performers, to leader Floriane Peycelon and conductor Susan Wanless, on a magnificent ambassadorial showcase that illustrated, to an international audience, what an international University can do.
Facebook users can view an album of photos from the day here.
Congratulations to everyone involved in last Saturday’s annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert; to all the performers in the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, the stewards, those working behind the scenes, conductor Susan Wanless and soprano soloist, Rachel Nicholls.
Our new concert series launches in exactly two weeks, and we’re delighted to be welcoming back Fara, who bring part of their 2018 tour to Colyer-Fergusson Hall on Friday 9 February at 7.30pm.
Bringing together four young musicans at the leading-edge of the Scottish folk music scene, the ensemble has been a previous winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and will bring its mixture of original songs and traditional Orkney tunes to the concert-hall.
Tickets and details here: prepare to be transported to the Isle of Orkney…
Our new What’s Onseries of events from February to June has gone live this morning, with full details of all the events coming at you over the next six months.
Our annual visits to Canterbury Cathedral sees Minerva Voices in the Crypt next month in Vivaldi’s Gloria, whilst the Chorus and Orchestra come together in Beethoven’s Mass in C and the Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz in March. The first of two concerts from the Cecilian Choir and Sinfonia will recreate the era of Louis XIV in a lunchtime concert celebrating the music of Lully in February, and at the end of March they bring two dramatic choral works by Vivaldi to St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury. You’re also invited to leap aboard the Musical Express! with the Concert and Big Bands later in March, with a steam-driven programme including music by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Philip Sparke.
The Lunchtime Concert series continues, with music from Total Brass and the Native Oyster Band, and our resident ensemble, CantiaQuorum, brings Wynton Marsalis’ Fiddler’s Tale to the concert-hall on 19 February – the American theme continues in April with a concert by the Chorus and Orchestra including Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Helen Crayford. And the #EarBoxseries exploring links between music and visual art returns to Studio 3 Gallery in two events – choral music from Minerva Voices and a concert by the Flute Choir. The Music Theatre Society takes the stage with some furry friends in a combination of puppetry and show-tunes, and there’s even some musical wizardry as part of ‘A Wonderful Week of Words’ in an informal lunchtime concert featuring music from Harry Potter and other magical pieces. There’s also a brief look ahead to come of the events taking place as part of Summer Music Week in June.
We’re also pleased to welcome many external concerts and events to Colyer-Fergusson over the coming months, including pianists Malcom Binns and Imogen Cooper, the Aurora Orchestra, and many local ensembles; see all that’s to come in our online calendar here, or download a copy of the new brochure here (pdf). Or view the department events at a glance on our digital fridge-door of post-It Notes here.
From the infinite mystery of the opening bars to the dramatically hushed close, Saturday’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem by the University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra for this year’s Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert was full of high drama.
Standing in as a last-minute replacement for the billed soprano soloist, Rachel Nicholls took time out from her current ENO run of Die Meistersingers to step up alongside mezzo Carolyn Dobbins, tenor Gerard Schneider and bass Simon Thorpe, and together all four singers delivered Verdi’s demanding solo parts with consummate skill. Under the baton of Susan Wanless, the Chorus and Orchestra both rose to the occasion superbly. From the off-stage trumpets ranged high above in the organ-loft to the bass-drum positioned down the side-aisle, the combined forces filled the majestic Cathedral with Verdi’s profound meditation on death and redemption, rich in operatic detail crammed into oratorio form.
It’s a long day that starts at 9am with the heroic crew who pitched up on campus to load two vans with all the equipment to take down to the Cathedral, and ends with that same equipment delivered back to campus at 10.30pm, with rehearsal and performance in between. It was lovely to see many alumni come back to sing in the Chorus, with the concert a major highlight of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations throughout this year.
(Much excitement was caused by the arrival of the 66-inch bass drum from Bell Percussion, which was mobbed by many people eager to be photographed with the monster-drum, you’d have thought it was a Hollywood Celebrity…)
Very many thanks to everyone involved; a triumphant conclusion to all the hard work put it by students, staff, alumni and members of the local community, who came together in the splendour of Canterbury Cathedral for a memorable performance.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.