Many congratulations to Kent Gospel Choir, who won the 11th University Gospel Choir of the Year Competition at the weekend!
Pictured here in Colyer-Fergusson, the Choir travelled to Croydon to compete in this year’s final, one of seven choirs competing for the trophy. The choir fought off competition from Warwick, University of Birmingham, the BIMM Institute, UCL, Keele, Durham and our neighbours, Canterbury Christ Church, to lift the trophy on Saturday night at Oasis House.
Every Monday evening, Colyer-Fergusson resounds to the sound of the choir rehearsing in the concert-hall and various practice rooms each week, and it’s fantastic to see all the group’s hard work pay off as they are crowned this year’s winners in the eleventh year of the competition. The choir comprises students from across the university, taking part as part of many extra-curricular music opportunities at the University alongside their course of studies.
“UGCY was an unforgettable experience, and being a part of KGC made my first year of university incredible!” reflects one of the choir, Favour Joseph. “I am so grateful to be part of a choir that feels like a family and where God is at the centre of our music and lives, and I can’t wait for what we are going to do next. I’ve made so many memories that I will cherish, like our shared laughter during rehearsals, how supportive the other university choirs were, witnessing the amazing talents of the other choirs and just seeing how we were all unified by our love for gospel music.
Our choir’s dedication and hard work paid off and We poured our hearts into the performance, from the choreography to our harmonies. I’m so proud that we were able to bring home the trophy. However, our achievement was not entirely our own; all praise must go to God. ”
The choir has worked hard: many congratulations on their success!
Congratulations to Minerva Voices and organist John Wyatt, who yesterday sang Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral. Conducted by Your Loyal Correspondent, the choir presented contemporary settings by Jeremy Woodside and Justin Breame as part of the music sung during the service.
The service was livestreamed on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel, and can be viewed below:
(The choir begins processing in just after the four-minute mark)
Well done to all the students involved; the Choir will be in action again at the start of June, singing as part of the choral concert in the Cathedral Crypt on Friday 2 June as part of Summer Music Week.
The latest film by the Faversham-based company, Kent Creative, promoting excellence in arts and culture across the county, features an interview with Your Loyal Correspondent, talking about extra-curricular music at Kent, the social aspect of music-making, the Colyer-Fergusson Building, and more.
Filmed a few weeks ago, it also features Minerva Voices, our upper-voices chamber choir, in rehearsal as it prepares to sing Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral; one of this year’s Music Scholarship students having an instrumental lesson; and photos from the recent concert by University Chorus and Symphony Orchestra.
Many thanks to Nathalie Banaigs for creating such a lovely way of highlighting extra-curricular music at the University, and all we do.
Corinna Jung came to the University in September from Germany to study International Criminal Justice as a postgraduate. Here, she reflects on her musical time at Kent and the importance of music to her life alongside her legal studies.
When I was considering universities to apply for my postgraduate studies, not only was I trying to find one, which mirrors my academic interests best, but also it has been equally important for me to choose a place, where I can make music and play the violin in an orchestra again.
During the six years of my undergraduate degree in Germany, I was a member of the University Symphony Orchestra, and as I look back, many of my best memories of my study time in Germany have a musical background: I enjoyed making music with people, who share the same passion for music as I do and I met wonderful colleagues who have become my best friends over the years. In addition to that, I am sure I wouldn´t have managed to deal with all my exams and assignments without that kind of support and balance. Therefore, I was more than happy to realise that the University of Kent not only has a fantastic law school, but also a strong music department with plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in. Regardless of
whether you play the violin, the trumpet or sing – there are so many different student ensembles to join!
After last week’s wonderful Summer Music Week, I reflect upon
my time at Kent and can say: what an incredible year full of music it has been! When I joined the first rehearsal of the Symphony Orchestra in September, I was excited to see how they would rehearse and what kind of pieces would be played. The concert in December has been my first one with this orchestra and I enjoyed performing in the wonderful Colyer-Fergusson hall as well as playing a wide range of pieces, both with and without chorus.
After the concert, the director of the String Sinfonia, Floriane Peycelon, asked me if I would like to join the Sinfonia from the next term on and all I can say is it turned out to be one of the greatest musical opportunities I have had so far! As a string ensemble, we have been involved in many different concerts over the year, including lunchtime concerts, the Dido and Aeneas performance in February in which we performed Purcell’s opera with the University Cecilian Choir, the premiere of Between Worlds with the amazingly talented violinist Anna Phoebe last week and – last but not least! – our ‘own’ Sinfonia concerts in which we played wonderful – and quite challenging – compositions for strings, such as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade and Britten’s Simple Symphony.
One of the highlights of the academic year for me has definitely been the concert in Canterbury Cathedral in March and performing in this unique location was a special experience for me. Beyond that, the Summer Music Week, comprising of a series of concerts with different themes, from an easy-going summery concert with McMozart and ‘Dance of the Comedians’ to a more serious and formal Between Worlds concert. And finally, the Gala concert, featuring Symphony Orchestra and University of Kent Chorus and Chamber Choir. It was a fantastic way to end my musical year at Kent.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Susan Wanless, Daniel Harding and Flo Peycelon – you’ve always made me feel very welcome and appreciated as part of the ‘team’ and you put tremendous effort and energy in creating all these opportunities
for students who want to make music to a high standard and who want to find an important balance alongside their studies. The same applies to my Sinfonia colleagues; you have been so lovely and open-minded!
Therefore I encourage every (overseas) student to get involved in the musical life at Kent, no matter how awkward it will be at the beginning to leave one´s own comfort zone. And even if it might just be for a year, make the most of your time here and do what you enjoy. I have had a wonderful year with the music department, and I am sure that whenever I will look back at my time in Canterbury, these happy memories will be a huge part of it.
Musicians are versatile people. They are used to the discipline of rehearsing and practising, to the expectations of conductors and collaborators that they will arrive for an event prepared and able to deliver. They are organised (hopefully, anyway), accustomed to setting aside time to practice and juggling rehearsals and performances alongside other demands of life – shopping, studying, going to school, taking exams, doing the laundry, filling out forms (oh the heady glamour…). They are used to working under pressure, performing in the white-heat of the public eye (and ear) in concerts. And they are usually skilled at working with others, at establishing working relationships quickly and confidently.
Here at Kent, the University recognises that all these qualities are immensely valuable in its students, and that potential students looking for a suitable university at which to pursue their degree may often be trained musicians, who have combined their school life with musical commitments for many years, and who want to continue with their musical interests alongside their course of study. If you’ve spent many years learning an instrument or taking singing lessons, putting in endless hours of practice and performance, then music forms a large, rewarding, part of your life that you don’t necessarily want wholly to rescind when you go to university, and it can be a challenge adjusting to the gaping chasm left in your life that was previously occupied by music; listening to it, practising it, performing it.
So we offer Music Performance Scholarships to those who are keen to continue with their musical pursuits whilst studying at Kent. Our Music Scholars (usually numbering between ten and fifteen each year) come from across the university community, studying all manner of subjects from Law to Biosciences, Wildlife Conservation to Politics and International Relations, History to Drama. There are Scholars from across the country; from far-flung corners of the world (Malaysia, South Africa, India, Canada to name a few); and from across the county of Kent itself. All of them, however, united in their enthusiasm for, and commitment to continue making, music for the three years during which they take up residency in Canterbury. Whether attending lectures in Woolf College, drama rehearsals in Jarman, mock sessions in the Moot building as part of Kent Law School, or maths seminars in the Sibson Building, they will all, at various points during the week, make their way in to the Colyer-Fergusson Building to rehearse in the concert-hall or practice in the practice-rooms. And throughout the year, they will perform not only in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, but in Canterbury Cathedral, Deal Memorial Bandstand, and churches and venues around the county, making lifelong friends with others along the way.
Percussionist and former Music Scholar, Cory Adams, talks about his experience, playing with the Concert and Big Bands, Orchestra, General Harding’s Tomfoolery and other ensembles:
And here’s brief excerpts from the Music Scholars’ Lunchtime Recital given as part of Summer Music Week in June this year:
The university recognises and values the skills and abilities that musicians can bring to its community when they come to Kent to study; the phrase ‘Good musicians make good students’ is often quoted, with Scholars often going on to graduate with first-class degrees. If that includes you, then take a look at our Scholarships page online here, and see how you could become involved in a rich musical life alongside whatever course you may be looking to study.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.