A fabulous selection of ensembles are up & running at University of Kent (Medway) this year. We’re lucky to be in close range of London, so top performers and teachers come down to coach our groups. Importantly, lots are OPEN TO ALL – students, staff & the broader community. You can simply turn up on the day and try a group out.
Note: Although you are welcome to simply turn up on the day we would advise ringing or emailing the SMFA reception, just so we know you’re coming and can direct you to the right space!
T: 01634 888980 Email: MFAReception@kent.ac.uk
SMFA Pop, Rock & Soul Choir
TIME: 12-1pm FRIDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE – Historic Dockyard, Chatham. OPEN TO ALL
The Pop, Rock & Soul Choir is led by choir director and vocal coach Kelly Fraser, Deputy Head of Vocals at BIMM, who is currently working on this year’s X Factor.
Kelly writes: “The choir works together to create vibey, innovative arrangements of existing Popular Music repertoire. The sessions are open to all & guaranteed to be up-lifting!”
This is a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the top names in the music business. Don’t miss out!! ALL singers are strongly encouraged to attend.
World Percussion Ensemble
TIME: 12-2pm MONDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
Our World Percussion Ensemble is led by Stephen Hiscock, founder of one of the world’s most innovative percussion groups – Ensemble Bash. Stephen studied in Ghana and has premiered works from Steve Reich to Django Bates. Djembes are at the core of this group – but plenty of other wonderful instruments from around the world besides!
Improvisation & Advanced Improvisation Ensembles
TIME: 3-5pm WEDNESDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
The improvisation groups tackle all the important information for those wanting to explore their music in new ways, find fresh ideas for composition or bust out those face-melting solos. Over the year we’ll be exploring how to build those killer improvs, work well as a band and more as we improvise through pop, jazz and classical repertoire allowing you the chance to bring your ideas to the table. Multi-award winning sax player, arranger, composer and educator Phil Meadows (Engines Orchestra Founder) takes the groups through their paces. (Advanced group by invitation only.)
Little Big Band
TIME: 4-5pm THURSDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
Little Big Band is led by jazz and rock lead guitarist Lisa Davies. Line-up is rhythm section plus horns, flutes – and any other front-line instrumentalists that fancy joining in! A very friendly group covering jazz standards, rock and pop repertoire.
Chamber Music Forum
Time: 1pm WEDNESDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
Interested in duos, trios, quartets, quintets, usual and unusual combinations of instruments? Chamber Music Forum could be for you. Music ranges from Baroque to Tango to Klezmer, including works by Khachaturian, Piazzolla, and Shostakovich. *Composers: – get your small ensemble work performed! Dr Ruth Herbert, Music Lecturer, Head of Performance & founder member of TableMusic ensemble, coaches these groups.
Time: 11am Mondays. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
In the Strings Group, contemporary specialist violinist Dr Stelios Chatziiosifidis works on the basics of string sound production, while enhancing players’ overall technical skills in different bowings, sound blending and sound projection. The emphasis is on practising difficult sections of the orchestral works, but other repertoire will be briefly explored.
Time: 5-9pm Tuesdays. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE & PODS
Band Forum is coached by Dr Rich Perks, Lecturer in Popular Music who has toured internationally with a range of bands – currently Ali Azimi and the Need, also leading the Diaspora Arts Connection World Music project 2017 in San Francisco. Predominantly geared towards first year undergraduates (though not exclusively!), Band Forum provides an opportunity for students to form bands and rehearse, whilst gaining advice and guidance from an experienced practitioner. There will be several department-led gigs throughout the academic year at which BF participants will be encouraged to showcase their work.
University of Kent (Medway) Choir and Band
Time: 5-6pm WEDNESDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE & PODS
Open to everyone at the University of Kent and a lot of fun. The University Choir and Band take on different projects each year. From the complete B Side of the Beatle’s Abbey Road to Haydn’s Nelson Mass. This year’s focus includes Queen’s iconic 1975 album A Night At The Opera, featuring choir and rock ensemble. Directed by University of Kent music performance lecturers Dr Rich Perks and Dr Ruth Herbert.
The Zorn Project
Time: 6-7pm WEDNESDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
An ever expanding ensemble with a richly varied line-up (all instruments welcome) entirely focused this year on John Zorn’s Cobra. Cobra is a directed ensemble piece that will never sound the same twice. Elements of live direction, combined with free improvisation, allow the piece to be either idiomatically ‘free’ or to traverse genres seamlessly. It is crazy sounding at first, but trust us, this can (and will!) be a LOT of fun! Directed by Dr Rich Perks & assisted by Dr Ruth Herbert.
University of Kent (Medway) Chamber Orchestra
Time: 7-9pm WEDNESDAYS. VENUE: THE ROYAL DOCKYARD CHURCH &GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
Chamber Orchestra, directed by Dr Stelios Chatziiosifidis, provides a chance to explore the full breadth of the orchestral sound and familiarise yourself with different styles of performance, ranging from classical, baroque to pop. The discipline of orchestral playing, involving attentive ensemble playing and awareness of other parts, is a great way to advance your musical skills.
Time: 11:00 – 12:00 FRIDAYS. VENUE: THE GALVANISING SHOP BACK SPACE
Guitar Ensemble is directed by renowned guitarist James Woodrow, member of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Icebreaker and Lontano. The group work on a wide variety of material, most recently performing Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.
photo credit Stacey Cooper