Tag Archives: Summer Music

Big Band fundraiser: a thank-you from Porchlight

From Porchlight’s Community Fundraising Officer, Kate Lumley.

Kate Lumley
Kate Lumley

Thank you so much to Dan Harding, Ian Swatman, the University Big Band and the Music Department for supporting Porchlight with the first concert of Summer Music Week and wishing us a Happy Birthday! The charity’s 40th Anniversary has certainly got off to a great start and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support we’ve received so far. It really is fantastic when local groups and businesses decide to fundraise for the charity (especially when that’s combined with brilliant music-making at the seaside!) because their efforts really help change people’s lives in their community and across Kent and Croydon.

01Last year, Porchlight managed to help over 4,000 homeless and vulnerable people turn their lives around, and this would not have been possible without the generosity of the general public, local businesses and groups like the UKC Big Band. However, the charity is still in need of your help! More people are needing our help while funds are being cut and this is having a direct impact on our services and in turn, how many people we can reach out to. This is best illustrated through the situation with our Rough Sleeper team, who go out and find rough sleepers early in the morning or in the evening to offer them help, which has been reduced from over twenty workers to just six over the space of two years. This means that more people will be facing the dangers of rough sleeping for longer before we can find and help them. The money raised by the UKC Big Band concert could pay for two Rough Sleeper team workers for a day plus two welcome packs for someone moving into one of our supported accommodation projects with nothing of their own.

If you’d like to support the charity and help our services to continue, please check out our website and read about the many ways you can get involved

Image Gallery: Music for A Summer’s Day at Summer Music Week

Summer Music Week drew to a rousing close on Sunday 15 June with Music for a Summer’s Day, with contributions from the University Chorus, Orchestra, Concert Band and Chamber Choir, followed by a very civilised cream tea reception in the Registry Lawn marquee.

The concert included the Concert Band in dynamic form in a medley of James Bond themes, two final-year singing Scholars moving the audience to tears in You’ll Never Walk Alone, a thigh-slapping choral selection from Mary Poppins, scenic Eric Coates from the Orchestra, some lively pieces from the Chamber Choir, and a stirring finale with Land of Hope and Glory in which the audience joined in. A terrific occasion.

Thanks to Matt Wilson as usual for these lovely images of a fitting conclusion not just to Summer Music Week itself, but to a year of music-making at the University.


Images © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: General Harding’s Tomfoolery

Thanks to Matt Wilson for these stunning photos of General Harding’s Tomfoolery inspiring the audience to dance on the Wednesday of Summer Music Week. Comprising student musicians and run by your loyal correspondent, this vibrant  twelve-piece dance orchestra rekindled the spirit of the 1930s, and members of the audience were inspired to leap to their feet during classic tunes such as In The Mood and Minnie the Moocher.

The group performs from original 1930s sheet music, a bequest to the department some years ago from the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra; the archive of pieces, still tied with original string, brittle with age and use, is an astonishing memento of the era – it’s fantastic to be breathing new life into these venerable instrumental parts.

See all the images from Summer Music Week on our Pinterest board here.

Images © Matt Wilson / University of Kent

Summer Music Week: the story so far

It’s been a busy week – and it’s not over yet!

Since last we posted, we’ve had a lunchtime recital from some of the Music Scholars on Tuesday, and yesterday’s jazz-themed bonanza was bursting with vigour. First of all, General Harding’s Tomfoolery had the crowd on its feet in a lunchtime gig recreating ‘The Golden Age,’ with the vocal talents of Steph Richardson and Rob Cliff, ably compered by Adam Murgatroyd. Hot on the heels of this came live jazz-funk on the foyer-stage, with an interlude from vocal trio The Canterberries.

Last night finished with the annual Big Band Gala under the direction of conductor Ian Swatman – and more dancing!

There’s plenty still to come: find out all that’s happening over the next few days here.

Summer Music Day Two: Scenes from Mozart

You know that something rather special is going on when you find yourself having to put out additional seating before a concert to cope with the level of audience which is turning up. Such was the situation yesterday at just before five o’clock, when the storage cupboard was being pillaged for further seating, to accommodate the surprisingly large (yet very welcome!) turn-out for Scenes from Mozart, featuring some of the University Music Scholars accompanied by your loyal correspondent.

An enthusiastic crowd was treated to a selection of moments from three of Mozart’s operas – Clemenza di Tito, Cosi fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro. With no expense spared on lavish production values, the minimalist approach to staging involved replacing a bed and a chaise-longue with chairs, a cupboard door become – wait for it – a lady’s fan, and Cherubino’s dramatic jumping out of the window involved…well, let’s just say you had to be there…

Ranging from the intimacy of Deh vieni through the high emotions of Dove sono to the feverish drama of Come out, Susana, the programme took in a snapshot of operatic gems, and demonstrated not only Mozart’s wonderful facility for writing the state of the characters and the tone of the moment into the fabric of the music, but the versatility of the singers too.

Well done to everyone that took part. Day Three of Summer Music Week continues today with a Lunchtime Recital from some of the University Music Scholars in the concert-hall at 1.10pm.

That fuss was us! Tomfoolery Dance Orchestra: The Golden Age this Weds

For anyone who’s not come across #hidehidehi, General Harding’s Tomfoolery (aka the University Dance Orchestra!) has been quietly rising through the ranks; hot on the heels of winning the recent Keynestock 2014, the group played the Kent Union Summer Ball on Saturday night to great acclaim, and is set to bring a little of the 1930s to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall this Wednesday lunchtime.


Tomfoolery_SummerBallThe Golden Age will see the band re-creating the sounds of the era – there will be a space for dancing, and period costume is recommended! The gig is free and starts at 1.10pm, prepare to swing – bring your dancing-shoes.

Find out more about the group here, or Follow it on Twitter here, and check out its Facebook Page here. Find out what all the fuss is about this Wednesday at Summer Music Week.

Image Gallery: Summer Music Week: Big Band at the Beach

Congratulations to the dynamic duo of Ian Swatman and the University Big Band, who launched this year’s Summer Music Week in tremendous style yesterday afternoon.

Glorious sunshine, open skies and sizzling temperatures were all matched by some searingly hot music from the band, together with singers Ruby Mutlow and Steph Richardson, on the Memorial Bandstand at Deal. With the gig due to start at 2.30pm, the band arrived for a soundcheck at 1pm and by 1.15pm a sizeable crowd had already developed; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soundcheck so well attended…!

01Under Ian’s vigorous direction, the band delivered an afternoon of tremendously vibrant music, much appreciated by the large crowd taking in the sun and the songs. The event not only launched this year’s week-long celebration of music to mark the end of the academic year, but was also a part of the yearl-long party for Porchlight, the Kent-based charity that supports homeless and at-risk people across the county; we’re delighted to have taken part.

The week continues today with Scenes from Mozart on the foyer-stage at 5pm, and the Big Band will return this Wednesday for its final musical ‘huzzah!’ in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 7.30pm.

Images © Peter Cook / University of Kent

The daffodils are smiling at the dove; Summer Music Week starts this weekend

University Music will truly be finding an element of fun in every job that must be done from this Sunday onwards, when Summer Music Week bursts into life both on and off campus between 8 – 15 June.

The annual musical adieu to the academic year starts this Sunday, and will present a heady pot pourri of events featuring many of the University musicians and ensembles, culminating in the climactic Music for a Summer’s Day on Sunday 15th June.

Summer Music headerThe week opens with the University Big Band under the baton of the ever-youthful Ian Swatman on the Deal Bandstand, in a charity performance in support of Porchlight, which this year celebrates its fortieth anniversary. The week then includes lunchtime concerts, a recital by University Music Scholars, the Dance Orchestra (recent winners of Keynestock 2014!), the Big Band Gala, a choral concert at St Peter’s Anglican Church, the Music Theatre Society, capped off with the Sunday concert in which the Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Chamber Choir will come together in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall for a final farewell, followed by cream teas on the Registry lawn.

Music ranges from Big Band swing to scenes from Mozart opera, Glenn Miller, music for strings, and the medieval serenity of works Hildegard von Bingen, whilst  the final Sunday includes a choral medley from Mary Poppins and rousing works by Sullivan and Elgar.

There is a wonderful ethos throughout all the musical ensembles that take place within the University, a true celebration of the coming together of staff, students and members of the local community to take part in the vibrant musical life on the campus. Summer Music Week affords a small but tremendously energetic glimpse of some of the music-making that takes place throughout the whole year, and will be a fittingly festive finale to a memorable year.

The full line-up of events can be found online here, and brochures can be found in the Colyer-Fergusson Building and the Gulbenkian Theatre. Come and help us celebrate music at Kent!