It’s been a fantastic Semester 1 for MUMS this year! We have presented 18 lunchtime and evening concerts, involving our members in all sorts of ways. Outside of these concerts, our Outreach Team have been working tirelessly in hospitals and schools; MUMS members in Musica organized a performance of The Pankhurst Anthem at the Misogyny is Hate rally; members have been performing in bars, UMMTS shows and many other creative outlets. Some members have formed their own ensembles and even produced their own incredibly successful concerts at external venues around the city. Our ensembles, MUWO and MUSO especially, have seen a sharp increase in attendance and engagement thanks to the work of our amazing ensemble managers. 2018 has also seen the introduction of ‘MUMS the word’ radio show with Fuse FM. Members have been providing some very insightful and entertaining shows. Our Christmas Social was heaps of fun and our wonderful society has developed an exciting social buzz!
After the New Year festivities and before the beginning of Semester 2, here are some of the highlights from our Autumn and Christmas Season.
Starting at the beginning, who can forget our Welcome Concert on the 30th September where we introduced our extremely talented Music first year students in the Freshers Chorus performance of Poulenc’s Gloria, accompanied by the MUMS Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the wonderful Ellie Slorach, and our very own Freya Parry, President of Chorus, as soloist.
Our first Symphony Concert of the year, with a great turnout, and a contrasting programme, was a particular highlight of the season. Will Frampton’s Sinfonia Malacia and Rachmaninov’s Die Toteninsel conducted by the excellent student conductors, Jasmine Allpress and Hugh Morris respectively, formed an exceptional first half. MUMS are very privileged to work with Rob Guy, and to kick off his time as head of conducting, he gave a first-class performance of Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. The reviewer for this concert, Matthew Dougall, said that he had never heard the MUMS Symphony Orchestra play better! (See article here).
Come November, our lunchtime concerts were in full swing, seeing continual improvements in attendance and programme. Perhaps our MUMS vocal showcase showed this most effectively - demonstrating our great relationship with the University of Manchester Chorus - with music from Brahms to Caroline Shaw and featuring alumni Rory Johnston’s Nostalgia.
The following day, our Chamber Orchestra concert displayed all aspects of our intelligent and talented MUMS members with a pre-concert talk with Guy Lockwood interviewing our Mozart specialist, James Anderson on K.546 (Adagio and Fugue) and K.551 ('Jupiter' Symphony). These two works were then performed either side of Rautavaara’s Piano concerto no.1 performed beautifully by 3rd year pianist Emily Windsor.
Next, our New Sounds concert showcased the compositional talent in MUMS with fantastic diversity of composers. The works were super varied in style and forces, with a lovely mix of masters and undergraduate students.
2018 has been a great year for MUWO. They were given a platinum award in the open wind band Class, the highest award in the highest category under the baton of Katherine Stonham and James Gillett. They then gave the most incredible concert with an exciting programme consisting of Adam Gorb’s Adrenaline City, our Kevin Malone’s Godzilla, and our brilliant Librarian and Tuba soloist, Rohan Iyer performing Newman’s Capriccio for Tuba and Wind Orchestra.
On December 2nd, the MUMS Symphony Orchestra accompanied the University of Manchester Chorus in the magnificent Whitworth Hall for a performance of Brahms Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region. The famous Cosmo Singers also made an appearance with a beautiful performance of John Casken’s Memorial.
Just when the pressure of deadlines was approaching, the Manchester University Big Band granted us a breath of fresh air with their concert on the 6th December with an array of new and interesting contemporary works. We saw solos from most of the members of the band and a very interesting piece with Dexter Drown delighting us with his beautiful voice (it’s not even the vocal showcase yet!)
2 days later, Brass Band and MUSO took to the Cosmo stage with an incredible joint concert! MUSO, led by Tess Angus, kicked us off with a breath-taking performance of Britten’s Simple Symphony and Finzi’s Prelude and Romance. Brass Band, conducted by the great Hugh Morris, blew us away with a second half including Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and the Larsson Concertino for Trombone with our talented soloist Raddon Stephenson.
The MUMS Festive Concert had a bit of everything. Ad Solem started off the concert including Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Kevin Malone’s Postcards from St Nick, featuring Phoebe Moore as the Child speaker from Contact Theatre. We then had the incredible Zahid Siddiqui performing Finzi’s Dies Natalis with the Symphony Orchestra’s strings. After an amazing performance he gave a beautiful encore of Down By The Sally Gardens, arranged by alumni, Charlie Perry. The Christmas Concert was then elegantly closed by James Gillett conducting the Anderson’s Sleigh Ride dressed in wrapping paper using the wrapping tube as a baton. What an end to the Semester!
Our Outreach team have continued to work wonders and have made a significant difference in the community. The Outreach Choir are performing weekly at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, and the Outreach Orchestra put on an excellent concert at St James’ Primary School on the 8th November. Also, for the first time, MUMS Outreach put on a schools Christmas concert at St Ann’s Church on the 10th December. Of course, the year would not be complete without the best concert of the year: The MUMS Outreach Relaxed Performance! We had a fantastic attendance consisting of some MUMS members but mostly children and families of all ages from the community, and thanks to the hard work of the Outreach Managers and the MHC team, we were able to make the building accessible and the event inclusive to all.
Follow this link to see dates for your diary for semester 2!