Tag Archives: Jazz @ 5

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.


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. 


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!

A very good year:Jazz @ 5.

So, the Jazz @ 5 season has drawn to a close. Now into its second year, the regular Wednesday showcase for jazz-loving Scholars, staff and students has really found its dancing feet. Set up by Dan Harding when he started in 2008 as a foil for the large-scale music-making of the University Big Band (as well as a chance to indulge in his passion for small-scale jazz ensemble-playing), the series has flourished since taking its first tentative steps in October 2008 onto the Gulbenkian Theatre foyer stage. 

Dina Watten
Dina Jazz

The series this year has featured a dizzying array of singers from the ranks of staff and students alike: Jo Turner, Jo Pearsall, Sophie Meikle, Miriam Zekagh, Dina Watten (pictured), Amy Clarke, Crystal Cowban, Lizzie McIver, Alanya Holder: all have graced the stage. Even former Scholar and jazz pianist Chris Manley has hot-footed it up the hill from Canterbury after work in order to continue playing in the series. Music this year has ranged from Fairground Attraction to Radiohead, as well as the usual array of popular standards and show-tunes. 

The original ensemble has grown to feature a regular quintet: pianist and leader Dan Harding, the elastic improvisations of guitarist Andrew Kitchin (pictured), the robust solos of saxophonist Will Rathbone – now enhanced by the arrival of some solid bass-playing from Sophie Meikle and the rhythmic underpinning of drummer Jon Nicholls. 

Guitarist Andrew Kitchin
The Kitchin sink: Andrew on guitar

And these groups are like buses: you wait for one, and then two arrive at once. This year has seen the birth of the JA Cross Quartet: Scholarship pianist James Cross and drummer Mike Macdonald have teamed up with Andrew and Will to form a refreshingly exploratory group, embracing Monk and Coltrane in their sound. 

Many thanks to everyone who has participated this year and made it such a success. As mentioned in a previous post, we were even blogged about by LondonJazz blogspot: it doesn’t get much better than that! Well, maybe Downbeat magazine, perhaps… 

We also present an album of images from Jazz @ 5, courtesy of the creative photography of Mick Norman. Some of the performers will be appearing in the Marlowe Tent at ArtsFest on Saturday 12 June: details to follow. 

Mick’s images.

The lights on-stage have faded, the piano is closed, the microphone stands alone. The singers sang, and set the sun. For now…

Was It Good For You: Jo Pearsall.

A series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Jo Pearsall. 

Jo Pearsall
On song: Jo Pearsall.


When were you at Kent ? 

1989 to 1992 to study – from 2002 as a member of staff  

 What subject did you study ? 


What occupation are you now engaged in ? 

Administrative Assistant, Central Secretariat, University of Kent  

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

Yes: I am a member of the University of Kent Symphony Orchestra, strategically placed at the back of the first violins.  I also sing with the Cecilian Choir, a small group of staff, students and alumni that’s a new venture this year, and I’ve also sung at Jazz @ 5.  I am a member of a chamber choir in Canterbury called Cantemus.  I also do other bits of singing and playing here and there. 

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ? 

I was President of the Music Society!  Actually I couldn’t begin to list all of the music that I was involved in whilst at Kent, even if my poor old memory could remember it all, but highlights were singing in summer opera projects, playing in the Symphony Orchestra, singing with the Chamber Choir including a particularly memorable trip to Prague, playing in the orchestra pit of The Pyjama Game at the Marlowe Theatre, playing for various other dramatic performances and singing at ad hoc occasions including in local churches and at high table dinners. 

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

A huge amount of experience both musically and organisationally that has stood me in good stead to this day and probably led to my getting my first proper job.  

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ? 

Probably having a small solo part in the opera Die Fledermaus in 1992 at the Gulbenkian Theatre.  A gorgeous dress was made specially for me to wear which was too exciting!  I have been mercilessly mocked about my “acting” skills ever since. 

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

Enjoy yourselves, take part in lots of musical activities and organise some too and remember that the friends that you are making whilst making music now are probably the ones you will still have in twenty years’ time, so make sure you look after each other. 


If you’re a musical alumnus and would like to be featured, please 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.].

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…

Jazz @ 5 gets LondonJazz blogged!

Jazz @ 5I”m delighted to announce that the most recent Jazz @ 5 has been reviewed on the LondonJazz blog, one of the top ten London blogs and a mecca for jazz-enthusiasts.

Run by Sebastian Scotney, the jazz critic for the Daily Telegraph, the review is penned by Adam Tait, and highlights the nature of what Jazz @ 5 is really all about. Click here to read the review.

Congratulations to everyone who has helped make Jazz @ 5 a success again this year: bring on the next one!