Tag Archives: University of Kent

Putting the ‘us’ in ‘music;’ local community and music-making at Kent

At the heart of the word ‘music’ lies the word ‘us.’ Whether it’s rehearsals or performances, music is a social activity; it involves people working together, rehearsing, delivering pieces and sharing their passion with listeners in live concerts.

Here at Kent, members of the local community are a crucial element in our music-making, both in terms of participating as well as being amongst the audiences. Members of the local area form part of the University Chorus, coming along to Colyer-Fergusson each week to rehearse in preparation for termly concerts; they play with the University Concert Band and the Symphony Orchestra, sitting alongside undergraduates, post-graduates and members of University staff. From the choral-risers to the orchestral chairs spread across the wooden floor, members of the public are very much a part of all the music-making that takes place throughout the year in Colyer-Fergusson Hall and Canterbury Cathedral.

Local community also forms the listenership at our concerts; the free series of Lunchtime Concerts that takes place across the year brings top-flight professional musicians to the campus for local audiences to enjoy. Our eclectic lunchtime series ranges from folk music from award-winning groups such as FARA to leading-edge musicians on the British jazz scene, players from the Philharmonia, and professional musicians based in Kent who work amongst London’s finest ensembles. And it’s not just our immediate neighbours and local residents who participate in music-making or come to concerts; people travel from Sandwich, Bridge, Faversham, Littlebourne and Folkestone, and can be found either on the choral-risers, in the string section, or amongst the audiences.

And it’s thanks to the local community that we are able to bring them to Kent. The Lunchtime Concert Series is in part supported by generous exit-donations made by audiences at the end of each concert, and we are hugely grateful for all the support that goes towards putting the concert series together each year, allowing us to bring first-class musicians to Canterbury. One of the essential elements behind the creation of the award-winning Colyer-Fergusson Building, when it opened its doors in December 2012, was the opportunities it afforded to enrich the lives not just of the University community, but for the local area too.

Music-making for the local community, and including the local community; whether you’re interested in joining in or simply listening, music at the University couldn’t happen without you. Find out more about all that’s going on in our seasonal brochure here, or take a look online: we look forward to seeing you in Colyer-Fergusson soon!

Chamber Choir perform live on Radio 4’s Today Programme

Congratulations and thank you to the members of the University Chamber Choir, who rose to the occasion (and rose early, too…) to sing live on this morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Image: Dan Worth / University of Kent

The programme was broadcast directly from the Gulbenkian, and the programme closed with the Choir performing Star of the East, a carol written by composer Russell Hepplewhite. A lovely opportunity to present a recent carol to a wide listenership; thanks to all the singers.

Waiting to go on-stage…
The Chamber Choir with Today presenter, Justin Webb

Here’s the moment shared by BBC Radio 4:

and the University’s clip:

Tomfoolery play for Sibson launch

Yesterday afternoon saw the launch of the Sibson Building, the University’s newest addition to the Canterbury campus, and the joint new home shared by Kent Business School and the School of Maths and Actuarial Sciences. The musicians of General Harding’s Tomfoolery were in action for the second time in less than a week, entertaining the guests at the reception held before the unveiling of the plaque formally to open the new facility.

A great afternoon for everyone involved; the players particularly enjoyed themselves, channeling their inner Blues Brothers whilst playing some vintage jazz for the assembled guests. Tomfoolery will be back in action on Monday 5 June in Five O’Clock Stomp in Colyer-Fergusson Hall as part of Summer Music Week; admission is free, details here.

Legal harmony: musical law students perform for opening of new Wigoder Building

We often have Music Scholarship students who are reading Law here at the University; yesterday two of them serenaded honoured guests at the lunch in Darwin college before the opening of the Wigoder Law Building in the afternoon.

Second-year violinst Lydia Cheng and cellist Faith Chan performed for the benefit of invited guests prior to the launch of the new building.

wigoder_launch_web

The Right Hon Charles Wigoder at the launch of the new building. Image: Kent Law Campaign
The Right Hon Charles Wigoder at the launch of the new building. Image: Kent Law Campaign

The new building, the new home for Kent Law Clinic at the University, was opened by.Baroness Hale, and the Hon Charles Wigoder also spoke at yesterday’s official opening.

The opening of the Wigoder Building. Image: Kent Law School
The opening of the Wigoder Building. Image: Kent Law School

Congratulations to everyone involved in the project; the building promises to be a wonderful enhancement to the University facilities and to Kent Law School.

Celebrating the life of David Humphreys

It was with sadness we heard the news over Christmas that David Humphreys had passed away at the age of ninety-three, and yesterday we attended David’s memorial service in Barham, a chance to reflect on a remarkable life and career lived to the full.

David was a terrific supporter of music at the University of Kent, having come to the University to read History after retiring from a career as a lawyer; choral singing was very much a part of David’s life, and he sang with the University Chorus as well as other choirs around Kent and in London. As a benefactor, his generous support gave countless students in the Chamber Choir the opportunity to perform in the historic and sonorous surroudings of Canterbury Cathedral Crypt each year, in a memorial concert for David’s wife, Julia. Always a vibrant presence, he would regularly find himself enthusiaistically drawn in to the group photographs taken at the end of each concert, which gave him the opportunity to meet the choir, to talk with them, something that David, always a ‘people-person,’ did with clear relish and much enjoyment. In 2012, the Crypt concert was a special celebration of David’s ninetieth birthday.

ROB_4889a
David with the Chamber Choir in 2012 on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday

This year’s Crypt concert falls on the occasion of what would have been David’s ninety-fourth birthday, and this year’s choir, Minerva Voices, will, fittingly, be giving a performance of Vivaldi’s joyous and celebratory Gloria, in a concert which will be dedicated to both David and to Julia. A tremendous character, an enthusiastic supporter of the musical life of the University, and a great friend; he will be much missed.

ROB_4882a
David Humphreys (1922-2015)

New exhibition in the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery: photographs by Matt Wilson

Our season of exhibitions in the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery continues with a series of photographs by Matt Wilson.

MattWilson01Anyone who has seen our publicity and event photos will already be familiar with Matt’s work, and we’re delighted to be able to give Matt the opportunity to exhibit some of his more focused portraiture. The new exhibition, part of the University’s anniversary celebrations over the course of this year, is a selection of portraits of members of its staff. In Matt’s own words:

MattWilson02Since 1965, the University of Kent has employed thousands of people. These are just thirteen.

Admission is free; gallery open during normal opening hours, and the exhibition is on display until the end of October.

Exploring the world of Hiroshige’s Tokaido Road: new chamber opera comes to Kent

Currently touring the UK after a successful premiere at the Cheltenham Festival last year and its recent London premiere at Milton Court Theatre, we are very pleased to be bringing the chamber opera, Tokaido Road: a journey after Hiroshige, to Kent on Saturday 23 May.

gaffield
Nancy Gaffield

The chamber opera, an evocative fusion of music, poetry, art, mime and photography comes to the University in a few weeks as part of the University’s fiftieth anniversary celebrating the work of members of the University community; the libretto is written by Nancy Gaffield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of English, and is based on her own award-winning cycle of poems of the same name. Commissioned by frontier-challenging Okeanos Ensemble, and composed by Nicola LeFanu, the work is inspired by Hiroshige’s 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road, a series of woodblock prints evoking the Japanese landscape and its people along the ancient route linking Edo and Kyoto. The chamber opera sees Hiroshige reflecting on life, love and loss on his journey along the Tokaido Road, unfolding against a backdrop of projected images of both Hiroshige prints as well as photos of modern-day Tokyo.

Hiroshige_ShinagawaThe score combines Western instruments with Japanese sho and koto, and the first half of the performance sees members of Okeanos perform traditional Japanese music.

 

50th-ribbon-smlCome along The Road when it arrives at the Gulbenkian Theatre on Saturday 23 May; details and tickets here. You can find out more about the chamber opera, including image galleries and audio extracts, here.

Music prizes recognise outstanding contributions to the musical life at Kent

The annual Music Prizes were awarded last week to a selection of students who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the University this year; and what a year it has been!

Marina receiving her award from Rosie Turner
Marina receiving her award from Rosie Turner

The Canterbury Festival Music Prize, awarded to a final-year student who has made an outstanding contribution to music was awarded to Marina Ivanova, in her final year reading Economics. Since coming to Kent as a Music Scholar, Marina has participated in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir, Lost Consort, as well as being a soloist in the Colyer-Fergusson Cathedral Concert, Vivaldi Gloria; she also  took part in the Dame Anne Evans masterclass in the autumn, and many other recitals. The prize was presented by the Director of the Canterbury Festival, Rosie Turner.

Alex Turner receives her award from Jonathan Monckton
Alex Turner receives her award from Jonathan Monckton

The Colyer-Fergusson Music Prize, which is awarded each year to a student who has made a major contribution to organising music at the University, was presented to Alex Turner, a second-year student reading Biomedical Science. The prize recognises her exceptional all-round behind-the-scenes organising and admin skills as Concert Band/Big Band assistant (and flautist, and sax player), and in other music activities including the Symphony Orchestra (flute and piccolo), Dance Orchestra,  the flute ensemble, as well as playing in the pit-band for this year’s Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair. Alex received her prize from Jonathan Monckton, Chair of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.

John Craven presents Gordon Wood with his award
John Craven presents Gordon Wood with his award

The John Craven Music Prize, which goes to a returning student who has made a major contribution to music at Kent, this year went to Gordon Wood, in his second year reading Philosophy. A Music Scholar, Gordon plays double bass in Symphony Orchestra, Camerata, String Sinfonia, Dance Orchestra, tuba in Concert Band, Double bass/bass guitar in Big Band, and at various Watch This Space and jazz gigs. John Craven himself was there in person to make the presentation.

Matthew Bamford receives his award from Dan Lloyd
Matthew Bamford receives his award from Dan Lloyd

The University Music Awards Committee Prize, for a student who has made a special contribution to music, was awarded jointly to two final-years students;  Matthew Bamford, reading International Business, and Carina Evans, reading Accounting and Finance. Matthew’s award was for his all-round contribution to music-making this year. Student conductor of Chamber Choir, MD for Musical Theatre Society’s production of Hair, sings in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir and Treasurer of the Music Society.

 

Dan Lloyd presents Carina Evans with her prize
Dan Lloyd presents Carina Evans with her prize

Carina’s prize recognises her contribution, as a University Music Scholar, to music over three years as timpanist and percussionist with the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Camerata and many recitals on marimba. Both students received their award from committee-member, Dr Dan Lloyd.

Finally, the First-Year Prize, awarded if appropriate to a student who has made a significant contribution to music-making during their first year of study, went to Joe Prescott. Reading English Language and Linguistics, Joe has made a significant impact on music as a University Music Scholar since arriving in September, playing jazz trumpet in Big Band and Dance Orchestra, Trumpet in Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, as well as singing tenor in Chorus, Chamber Choir, Cecilian Choir.

First-year Joe Prescott receives his award from Keith Mander
First-year Joe Prescott receives his award from Keith Mander

The musical life of the University is nothing without the commitment, enthusiasm and participation of its student community – our thanks and congratulations to all the prize winners for their outstanding involvement in, and contributions to, what has been a memorable year. Here’s looking forward to the next!

The assembled prize-winning students and guests
The assembled prize-winning students and guests