Tag Archives: Music Society

Was It Good For You: Dan Wheeler.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Dan Wheeler.

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Dan Wheeler
Brass cheek: Dan Wheeler

When were you at Kent ?

I was at Kent from 2005-08, although I never quite got around to leaving Canterbury…

What subject did you study ?

Law, although from about the second term onwards you would have thought I was doing a Music degree!

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

The civil service, occasionally making use of my degree!

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

Having never left Canterbury I am still involved in music at the University; singing in the University Chorus whilst also playing tuba and bass guitar in the University Concert and Big Band. I also sing regularly with St Stephen’s church choir (based in the Hales Place area) in weekly services, occasionally covering Evensong services at Canterbury and Rochester Cathedrals.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

In almost every way possible! I have sung in Chorus and Chamber Choir, played tuba in Concert Band and Orchestra and playing until recently in the Orchestra. In my final year I completed the set by running the Music Society as president.

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

Without my University music experience I would not have had the confidence to be where I am today, leaving home and starting a new life in Canterbury. I would not have met all the wonderful people I have come across during my time in numerous rehearsals and made some great friends along the way!

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Performing the solo in Cornelius’ Three Kings to almost 1000 people in Canterbury Cathedral in the 2006 carol service; that and sitting through my debut Big Band gig after my guitar broke on the first note…!

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

I would encourage all musical students to get involved in as much as possible, it is much more enjoyable than the degree (although admittedly this is coming from a law graduate) and from extensive experience of job hunting (!) I invariably end up being asked more about my musical activities than the degree itself!

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If you’re an 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: Jo Shave.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Jo Shave.

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Jo Shave
A cut above: Jo Shave

When were you at Kent ?

I was at Kent from 2006 – 2009.

What subject did you study ?

I studied English Language and Linguistics.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I’m currently taking a gap year to earn some extra pennies, before embarking on an MSc in Neuroscience, Language and Communication at University College London.

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

Sadly these days, my musical participation is limited to singing in my car and the occasional twang on my guitar. However, I still regularly attend concerts of all genres particularly recent University of Kent Chamber Choir concerts. It’s worthwhile listening from another angle, and particularly enjoyable to see the choir flourish in the years after you’ve gone.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I was involved across most aspects of the Music Society. I was a fully fledged Chorus and Chamber Choir member from 2006 – 2009 and continued the position of Chamber Choir Librarian for two years too. In my third and final year, I conducted the group ‘Sing!’ which was extremely successful. It was a huge achievement for myself and the performers and a fantastic way to promote the joy of singing. I also participated in the female Barbershop at ArtsFest each year and due to my Music Lesson Scholarship I was given a wealth of additional opportunities to perform and promote how the Music Society was crucial to my University experience.

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

My University experience just wouldn’t have been the same without the Music Society. From that first Freshers Open evening I was hooked as everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Of course, the music itself was fantastic too. I relished the opportunities to perform in the Cathedral each year, and sing music I hadn’t sung before. In addition, touring to Paris with the Chamber Choir in April 2008 was a brilliant experience and opportunity. The Music Society certainly helped me to mature from a Fresher into a Graduate in a huge number of ways. Most importantly, I left University with a huge number of very close friends and it is wonderful to be able to stay in contact and meet up as regularly as possible. We often sit and sing tonnes of pieces from years gone by and reminisce about the ‘good old days’.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

Without doubt, my most memorable musical experience at Kent was the Chamber Choir 2008 tour to Paris. I was extremely lucky to be involved in such a rewarding experience, and the choir and company were fantastic. There have been so many other opportunites too, but Artsfest each year has to be one of the best events on earth! A whole day filled with musical activities is a dream come true! I especially loved the performance of the finale of Die Fleidermaus in the Eliot Hall in my final year; it was the best and only way to say goodbye to the best three years of music-making.

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

Get involved! One of the best ways to be a part of the Music Society is to join the Committee, so stand for election and go for a college rep, or if you’re feeling ambitious go for an Exec position like President or Secretary. Take full advantage of the opportunities you are given no matter what ability or instrument and enjoy yourselves to the full!

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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!

Was It Good For You: Mitesh Khatri.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Mitesh Khatri. 

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Mitesh Khatri
In tune with the times: Mitesh Khatri

When were you at Kent?
2002 – 2005 

What subject did you study ?
Computer Systems Engineering 

What occupation are you now engaged in ?
Music – currently finishing my 2nd postgrad year at the Birmingham Conservatoire. I’m hoping to stay in the music industry as either a teacher or, preferably, an opera singer. 

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

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?
I sang with the University Chorus and Chamber Choir, both for three years. I was also assistant conductor to the Chamber Choir for one year. I was involved with the Music Society for all three years at uni, and I also received a bursary for singing lessons for three years. I was also a member of a barbershop quartet that was set up by four of us, called Fortunes (or possibly FourTunes, I’m not sure which!). 

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?
It gave me a release from the academic side of being at university, and in doing so also helped me get through uni by providing me with the opportunity to continue doing something I had already been doing, and that I already enjoyed. Since being Kent, and partly because I was involved with the music so heavily, I’ve never really looked back from singing, and I’ve continued to have lessons and sing with amateur groups, and go on to do a postgrad degree and aim to make singing my career. 

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?
In December 2003 we did a performance of Carmina Burana in Eliot College, and I was the tenor soloist for it. That was my first solo experience with a full orchestra and it was one ofthe best things I’ve ever done. I’ll never forget it. There were also a number of Cathedral Concerts in my final year, the university’s 40th anniversary. The ones that stick out are the Verdi Requiem and the Elgar Nimrod Variations. I have to also say that everyone I worked with was so friendly and it was all so much fun! 

What would you say to current musical students at the University ?
Don’t underestimate what you can get from people like Sue, both on a musical and personal level. She’s put her heart and soul into music making at Kent and she does a terrific job. The variety of musical opportunities at Kent don’t present themselves outside university life so easily, and some are just less easily accessible. If you want to try your hand at something musical or if there’s a chance to do something you’ve always wanted to do but never been able to, then Kent ‘s the place to do it. It’s only because Kent doesn’t have it’s own music degree or department that anyone can get involved with projects and productions, and people do it for fun and to enjoy it, not to prove themselves. Everyone worked together, and had a great time doing it. So just dive in and see what you can find!

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If you’re an alumnus and would like to be featured, 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.].

Sing!
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…

Was It Good For You: Hannah Widmann.

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, Hannah Widmann.

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 When were you at Kent ? 

Hannah Widmann
Still ahead: Hannah Widmann

2005-2008

What subject did you study ?   

BSc Psychology  

What occupation are you now engaged in ?  

I am still studying, and have changed fields only slightly. At the moment I’m busy doing research for my MSc thesis in London, my MSc is in Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics at the University of Amsterdam.  

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

I am still an avid choral singer, and will sing in whatever group that will let me. Luckily, I found a nice chamber choir in Utrecht, not far from my new Dutch home, and have been singing with them for the past 1.5 years. Also, I find most of my friends this way, so gatherings have a tendency to go musical after a drink or two!  

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?  

I was a member of Chorus and Chamber Choir in all three years, and was lucky to receive a Music Lesson Scholarship for singing lessons. I, also sang in several smaller groups (Ladies’ Barbershop, madrigal groups), went to every single Music Society social, and was generally one of those people that you see involved at every concert (not always musically… but I can shake a bucket nicely!). I was also Secretary to the Music Society in 2007-08. I had a brilliant time!

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

Apart from making what I believe to be great music, I had the best time socially. I met most of my Kent friends through the Music Society, and am still in touch with lots of them. I lived with several “music geeks” in my final year, and sharing this hobby that filled most of our social calendars made it such a fun house to live in! I still use music and singing to kick-start my social life in a new place, and one of my first actions in Holland was to look for a decent chamber choir- it had been so central to my life at Kent! And yes, it worked. Choral people are just so likeminded.  

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?  

Oh, there were so many special moments, it’s very hard to pick just one. Musically, my final year in Chamber Choir and the (if I might say so myself) excellent performance at that year’s Crypt Concert spring to mind. The choir really gelled, and the knowledge that we’d go to Paris with this programme made us all work extra hard. It really was a fantastic night.  

A very corny moment, but surely another one of the highpoints of my time at Kent were the carol services in the Cathedral.  The candlelit procession through the Nave, while singing “Once in Royal David’s city” was always a very touching experience.  

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

Make the best of your time at university, and just enjoy the ride.  

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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: 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!