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.
It’s a busy time for the Music department, and for the Symphony Orchestra in particular; not only is the annual Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral concert looming, for which the Orchestra is preparing works by Haydn and Mendelssohn – but the musicians are also performing as part of next month’s Composer in Focus event featuring John Woolrich.
Pictured here at a recent weekend rehearsal are the musicians working on Woolrich’s Gesänge der Frühe, which the Orchestra will perform as part of the event on 2nd April, alongside the String Sinfonia and several Music Scholarship pianists, exploring John Woolrich’s music and approaches to composition.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.