With rehearsals for the University Concert Band and Big Band having begun last Wednesday, and those for the Symphony Orchestra last Thursday, it’s all choral this week – the University Chorus starts rehearsing this evening, and the Chamber Choir tomorrow night, whilst Sing! starts rehearsing this Thursday.
Tonight, we’ll be getting to grips with Handel’s Coronation Anthem The King Shall Rejoice and Orff’s riotous Carmina Burana with the Chorus – both pieces will feature in the Grand Gala concert which will officially launch the new music building at the inaugural concert in December (details online here).
7.30pm this evening, Grimond Lecture Theatre II; open to staff and students of the University without audition, and auditioned external members as usual – see you then!
And to whet your appetites, here’s Seiji Ozawa and the Berlin Philharmonic in a performance from 1989…
N.B. For those interested in Sing! – it starts on Thursday, Rutherford Music Room, 6pm. Be there…
Second-year student and conductor of Sing!, Matt Bamford, previews Sing!’s next gig and a new community venture…
Tomorrow, Friday 23rd March, the residents of Connors House in Canterbury City Centre will be treated to a short performance by the student vocal group Sing!
Abbeyfield Connors House specialises in dementia care and provides accommodation for forty-six older people. Tomorrow evening, the members of Sing! will convene in Canterbury City Centre and will head towards Connors House.
We are lucky in that they have a piano (which they ensure me is tuned!) and as a result of that we won’t need to carry a keyboard through the streets of Canterbury. We will then perform five or six songs, including numbers originally performed by Queen, Amy Winehouse and Michael Bublé.
Part of community singing is that we will then spend time, hopefully over a nice cup of tea, chatting to the residents.
As the Sing! conductor, I think it is really important to allow everybody to enjoy the music-making that goes on at the University, including those who are less able to attend our concerts. So, on this occasion, we decided to take the music to the residents of Connors House and hopefully this will be the first of a series of community concerts.
Watch this space for more information about how the evening went!
The final few festivities (too much alliteration ?) to mark the end of the term saw members of the University community in fine form, with ‘Carols Round The Tree’ on Wednesday night bringing staff, students, visitors and friends together on a brisk December night.
The University Brass Ensemble braved the temperature to provide some robust playing whilst accompanying singers in a variety of traditional favourites. The student group ‘Sing!’ and the Chamber Choir joined in with a couple of carols as well.
An all-male barbershop quartet, distilled from members of the Chamber Choir, proivded lunchtime entertainment in Rutherford College on Thursday for the annual Former Staff Association Christmas lunch.
As usual, it’s been a lively end to the Christmas term: thanks to everyone involved, to Kent Hospitality and the Estates Team for their support (and roast chestnuts and mulled wine!) on Wednesday night.
Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University of Kent. This week, 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!
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!
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…
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.
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.].
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…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.