Ahead of the Big Band’s curtain-raising gig at Deal Bandstand next month in aid of Porchlight, I talked with the charity’s Community Fundraising officer (and Kent alumnus!), Kate Lumley.
Tell me about Porchlight
Porchlight is the charity I work for. Porchlight helps people who are homeless or facing housing issues and also works to prevent homelessness in Canterbury and across Kent.
What sets it apart from other local charitable organisations ?
This is a good question! I think a few things. Firstly, the charity is committed not only to helping people, but also to changing negative attitudes and stereotypes that are connected with homelessness. We want people to understand that homelessness can happen to anyone, that we think everyone has a right to a secure home, and that help is available if anyone finds themselves, or someone they are close to, facing this kind of situation. I also think that the sheer range of our services sets us apart. Porchlight is committed to providing long-term solutions to homelessness, a lot more than a roof over someone’s head and a bowl of soup, but helping someone to tackle the issues that caused them to become homeless in the first place and get their lives back on track. We have such a broad range of services from a 24 hour helpline, a rough sleeper team and different levels of supported accommodation, to prevention work supporting children and adults, so that each person we help can follow a tailored support plan based on their own personal needs and aspirations. It goes without saying that this doesn’t come cheap! And so this is why we are so in need of support from the local community to continue to provide these services.
Forty years is quite a birthday to be celebrating this year! How are you doing so ?
I feel very privileged to be working for a charity that has been helping people and changing lives for the last 40 years. It’s a very exciting year for us and we are marking Porchlight’s anniversary with lots of different events! We’d really like this year to be about raising the profile of the charity and encouraging people to support us, whether that’s by raising awareness, volunteering or fundraising. Please check out the Porchlight websiteif you’d like to get involved.
We’re looking forward to our fund-raising event for you: can you guarantee the sun will shine ?!
Haha! No, but I hope it does. And if the Big Band are as good as I remember then it’ll be a great event come rain or shine! Thanks so much to Ian and the band for doing this event for Porchlight, we’re extremely grateful for the support.
Find out more about the Big Band’s seaside gig during Summer Music Week here.
Continuing with the jazz thread running through Summer Music Week next month, the new University Dance Orchestra brings the spirit of the 1930s to the Colyer-Fergusson Hall on Wednesday 11 June; to that end, Captain Murgatroyd has risen from the trombone section to create a Spotify playlist of tunes that we’ll be playing, to get you in the mood (d’you see what I did, there…)
As part of next month’s Summer Music Week extravaganza, we are especially delighted to be supporting Porchlight, the local charity providing help for homeless people across Kent. The curtain-raiser to Summer Music Week will see the University Big Band, under the baton of the ever-youthful Ian Swatman, playing on the Bandstand at Deal on Sunday 8 June at 2.30pm in support of the charity, which this year is celebrating its fortieth birthday.
Your loyal correspondent writes more about the event over on the Porchlight website here.
And with the sound of heralding in the distance, the clarion-call of trumpets and a celestial choir, we are delighted to announce that the full line-up of events for Summer Music Week has now been published online.
The annual music celebration of the end of the University year starts with the University Big Band beside the seaside, performing at Deal Bandstand in support of Porchlight on Sunday 8 June at 2.30pm. Events then continue throughout the week – choral music, jazz, Big Band Gala, Music Scholars‘ recital, period-costume with the Dance Orchestra, foyer-stage gigs and more – culminating eventually in Music for a Summer’s Day on Sunday 15 June at 3pm, in which the combined forces of the University Chorus, Orchestra, Concert Band and Chamber Choir bid a rousing farewell to the end of another musical year.
Venues this year range from the seaside at Deal to the historic venues of St Thomas’ Hospital and the ancient St Peter’s Anglican Church in Canterbury, as well as the lively foyer-stage and the Colyer-Fergusson concert-hall.
Second-year Matt Bamford reviews last week’s choral concert during Summer Music Week.
The Church of St Paul’s Without was the setting for Music for a Summer’s Evening, where the University of Kent Chamber and Cecilian Choirs, conducted by Dan Harding and Emma Murton, joined forces to provide an evening of fantastic entertainment.
With proceeds in aid of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help, the audience quickly filled the church and eagerly awaited A Ceremony of Carols composed by Benjamin Britten. Whilst the audience entered, they were treated to a selection of pieces by a string quartet consisting of pieces from Queen to Vivaldi.
A Ceremony of Carols begins with a solemn plainchant before going into ‘Wolcum Yole!’ where Emma Murton began to accompany the Cecilian Choir on the harp. The audience were then treated to a solo by Hannah Johns which was very well executed. Another solo from Aisha Bové followed and the balance between Aisha and the supporting choir was perfect. Ann-Kathrin Kirschbaum and Montana Slattery both excelled in solos in ‘In Freezing Winter Night.’
My highlight from the work, however, was ‘Deo Gracias’ which was sung with enthusiasm and fantastic diction. It was very easy to understand the words of the 15th Century Text ‘Adam Lay Ybounden’. Carina Evans then cleverly accompanied the Cecilian choir in two modern pieces which were a real contrast to Britten work.
After the interval, the University of Kent Chamber Choir took to the stage and opened the second half of the concert with Dawn by Eric Barnum. This is a personal favourite of mine and it really created a very peaceful atmosphere. Tanzen und Springen then gave a fantastic contrast as it is a jolly madrigal by Hans Leo Hassler.
Credit is due to Emma Murton, who after playing the harp and singing in the Chamber Choir then conducted the choir in a brilliant rendition of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. It was brilliant to see the audience enjoying Nice Work If You Can Get It by Gershwin, I don’t think that there was a single foot that wasn’t tapping in the whole church!
The choir then sang Forgotten Children’s Songs composed by Dan Harding, a very clever set of pieces that was very well sung by the choir. I couldn’t help but think of Schumann’s Kinderszenen whilst listening to these pieces.
We were treated to an encore of My Spirit Sang All Day which was a fitting end to a very professional and enjoyable concert. Thanks must go to members of SSAFA who kindly provided the musicians with refreshments after the concert.
Overall, a very enjoyable evening which was well received by the audience.
Photos: Matt Wilson
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.