Recordings have been coming in further still over this week; many thanks to alumnus with Kent Law School and former Music Performance Scholar, Doug Haycock, seen here in festive mood recording the bass part for the project – bonus points for a sparkly tree in the background as well…
You can hear an early (pre-Doug) excerpt from one of the carols, In the bleak midwinter, featuring voices and strings from several University alumni here:
Keep the recordings (and selfies) coming in, everyone…
The Virtual Music Project is in action again this festive season, as University students, staff, alumni and families are invited to contribute towards a series of carols being recorded this term.
Many thanks to Erasmus student and multi-instrumentalist and singer, Laura Osswald, seen here in suitably festive mood recording from her home in Germany;
To alumna from the School of Biosciences, alto Catriona Bradley, whose career in seamstressing has come in handy for her medieval-themed seasonal selfie:
And to Melody Brooks, former Music Performance Scholar and alumna from the School of Psychology, and Jeni Martin, alumna from the School of Economics, seen here recording string-parts from Hertford and Bedfordshire respectively.
The Virtual Music Project swings into action again this month, as we invite students, staff, alumni, families and friends to participate in creating virtual recordings of some seasonal carols.
Over the lockdown which began in March (Lockdown 1.0, if you will), the project brought musicians from across the University community together in music by Vivaldi, Mozart and some 1940s swing tunes; this month, the first piece is In the bleak midwinter featuring voices, strings and chamber organ.
We’re putting the accompaniment together first, before inviting choral singers to record themselves singing, and this morning is a first bringing-together of recordings from alumni Jeni Martin, Melody Brooks and Laura Osswald, together with a chamber organ part recorded by Your Loyal Correspondent.
Many thanks to former Erasmus student and cellist, Laura Oßwald, seen here recording for the project all the way from Germany!
(Thanks to Jeni (pictured above) who has recorded both a violin AND a viola part – I think we should start a competition to see who can record the most parts for any one piece…
Thanks also to Melody (pictured below) who has similarly recorded not one but TWO string-parts; looks like there’s a theme developing…!
If you’re a university string-player, now’s your time! Follow the Virtual Music Project on Facebook to find out how to get involved – singers, your turn will come shortly.
We’re also hoping to record a second carol featuring a brass ensemble later this month as well.
Selfies featuring Christmas jumpers, festive headgear and / or tinsel and fairy-lights also very welcome…
Erasmus-student, cellist and singer, Laura Osswald, looks back on her time as part of extra-curricular music-making, and how she continues to be involved all the way from her home Germany during lockdown.
More than two months have passed since I have left the University of Kent. But the connection with the Music Department is still strong and will continue to be.
Looking back on my Erasmus semester in Canterbury, music and the amazing people I got to know through it were a huge part of what turned this time into a great, enriching experience. Music allowed me to develop friendships not just based on the common fate of going to the same lecture or living in the same flat, but based on the shared passion of making music, especially making music together with others.
Within the music department, I never felt like a stranger – instead, going into the Colyer-Fergusson building more and more felt like coming home.
Being part of the Symphony Orchestra, the Cecilian Choir and the String Sinfonia and several small groups, I was very involved in the Music Department from the start. In my blogpost from November, I could only look back on the first concerts, but many more have followed. Christmas time had started wonderfully with the Advent Breathing Space with the Cecilian Choir in the medieval St Michael’s Church in Hernhill. My first term then ended with the fantastic concert with the Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. 2020 continued to be full of various musical activities. For Alice in Wonderland, I got the chance of not only singing in a choir, but also dancing as a playing-card which I enjoyed very much!
With the amazing University Camerata, we had a nice family concert of Peter and the Wolf where I was leading the cello section – so exciting and a great experience! I also continued to make chamber music: I joined a string quartet that performed at the Law Ball and a piano trio. With the Symphony Orchestra and String Sinfonia, we worked hard on our repertoire for the concerts in the end of March and I loved our rehearsals – but unfortunately, Covid-19 came in the way. Particularly the cancellation of the Cathedral Concert was very sad for me as it would have offered the unique opportunity to play in the impressive Canterbury Cathedral – I even would have had a small solo in Duruflé’s Requiem. It would have been a great finale for my musical time in Kent.
But then, we found an alternative ending: a Facebook livestream concert with a piano quintet playing the beautiful music of Ólafur Arnalds. This was actually a dream of mine coming true, since I have loved his music for years and always wanted to play it myself – and now I could, together with four amazing musicians. I am very thankful that this happened, giving me a perfect ending to my Erasmus semester and bringing a bit of calm and peace into a troubled world.
When I think of all the music-making and concerts I have been part of, I am incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity and I am so happy I could experience all of this before the coronavirus started to change our lives so much. However, a positive side-effect is the emergence of the virtual music projects! Thanks to the great commitment of Dan Harding and the wonders of technology, I can continue playing with the people I love and miss. Of course, this is very different from making music together face-to-face and it can’t quite replace it, but nevertheless it is a beautiful opportunity to maintain my connection to Canterbury, the Music Department and joint music-making in general.
The music, the memories and the people will stay in my heart. Thank you for welcoming me in Canterbury with open arms, I hope I can come back one day.
The latest from the stables of the Virtual Music Project is the second of two recordings of the Virtual Dance Orchestra’s version of Duke Ellington’s classic tune, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (most appropriate for the current climate…) featuring current fourth-year baritone, Will Clothier, from the School of Archaeology and Conservation.
When not studying or off working on a rhino conservation site in South Africa, Will sings in the University Chamber Choir, and was recently seen treading the stage as the King of Hearts in the Music Department’s production of Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Dream Play. From his home in Leeds, Will sent in a recording, and this morning we’re very pleased to present a leaner mix of the piece, featuring a stripped-down version of the virtual big band behind Will’s voice.
This version follows hard upon the previous incarnation, featuring alumna Steph Richardson singing with a fuller virtual dance band; the next challenge is to combine the two voices to create a virtual duet – stay tuned…
The latest addition to the burgeoning Virtual Music Project features alumnus and pianist, Jim Reid, trading pianistic tricks and turns with Your Loyal Correspondent in a virtual two-piano rendition of Doxy by jazz giant, Sonny Rollins. Originally written by Rollins in 1954 and recorded alongside Miles Davis, and famously included on Davis’ album as band-leader, Bags Groove, three years later, Doxy has since become a classic of the repertoire.
More from the Virtual Music Project later in the week…
The Virtual Music Project (see previous post here) is in full swing – adjective applicable if you’re thinking about the Duke Ellington, perhaps not quite so if you’re aware of the Vivaldi Gloria performance which we’re building…then again…!
We’re delighted to share the first fruits of the collaboration which brings together University students, staff, alumni and their families in a virtual rendition of the first movement of Vivaldi’s glowing choral work. Each track has been recorded individually by participants during the current lockdown period, ranging right across the country from Canterbury through London to Somerset, Bristol, Northamptonshire and even across Europe to Germany, Luxembourg and reaching even as far as Japan, proving the universality of music as a means of coming together.
The first movement is also available to listen in a project Playlist on SoundCloud, alongside some of the early mixes of instruments and strings only, and a brief excerpt from an early mix of the virtual Dance Orchestra’s building Duke Ellington’s Dont Get Around Much Anymore.
I’m hugely grateful to everyone involved in bringing this project to digital life, for their enthusiasm, commitment and for taking the time to learn and record their individual contributions; it really is a wonderful example of the University community doing what it is good at – coming together, supporting one another, and making remarkable things happen.
Now onto the second movement and a piece by Mozart…!
The Virtual Music Project is in full swing, building virtual music performances together with student, staff and alumni musicians across the University community. So far, people have submitted recordings for the first movement of Vivaldi’s Gloria, and the virtual Dance Orchestra is building a performance of Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (well, with a title like that, it was the obvious piece to do, really, wasn’t it…).
Here are some early extracts; first, from some of the first instrumental tracks to be submitted, featuring strings and oboe:
And here’s an extract from an early voices-only mix, featuring some of the first vocal recordings to arrive:
The next phase has gone live this morning, as we now build the second movement of the Vivaldi, the hugely expressive, richly-dissonant second movement; all the details are on the project’s Facebook Page here for those who want to get involved.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.