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Ensemble Groups

Vocal

All ensembles take place on a weekly basis during term time. Please refer to the showcase for more information.

CHAMBER CHOIR

Chamber Choir is one of the most challenging vocal ensembles at the University. The repertoire is extensive and varied and includes both sacred and secular music from all periods. The choir has recently performed Britten’s St Nicolas, Haydn St Nicholas Mass, Vivaldi Gloria and Faure Requiem, all with orchestra. The choir regularly performs in numerous locations in the area including Chichester and Arundel Cathedrals. It performs concerts throughout the year and takes part in the Christmas Carol Services at Chichester Cathedral and in the Parish Church in Bognor Regis. The Choir also tours in the summer months and recently it has been to Verona, Budapest and Rome. If you have had previous experience of singing in a choir and have some sight singing skills, then this ensemble is for you. The Choir meets twice a week; entry is by audition and you should contact Music Reception in order to arrange a suitable time to be heard. 

CLASSICAL SINGERS DROP IN

Classical Singers Drop In is for any classical singer who is working on a piece and is looking for expert tuition and insight. It aims to be both fun and challenging, enabling singers to improve, progress and enhance their skills throughout the course of the year. All are welcome from beginners to advanced skill level. 

THEATRE ENSEMBLE 

This ensemble focuses on techniques for the chorus work in musicals. Recent repertoire includes Carousel in Concert and South Pacific in Concert. These works are performed as a concert production with a full symphony orchestra. Principals are auditioned from the ensemble. 

Chichester CHORALE

This is a community choir for a mixed aged group, which welcomes both students and local enthusiasts from the surrounding area. It gives three major concerts in the year, one of which is with the University’s Chamber Choir. Membership is through audition 

FIRST YEAR CHOIR

The First Year Choir provides practical experience for those students who wish to gain a well-rounded musical experience at University. It is open to all singers and instrumentalists in the first year, regardless of experience and skill, and will cover all genres of music, technique, sight reading and improvisation. The choir provides the opportunity to perform in a variety of situations, which will enhance your main musical discipline. Whether you've never sung before or are a seasoned chorister, this is the ensemble for you. 

FIRST YEAR CHORAL EXPERIENCE

Although the weekly sessions are called Choral Experience, it is really musicianship through the voice. We are not expecting perfect voices, although there will be some we’re sure. We simply want you all to enter into the spirit of enjoying making music together, reading a vocal score, exercising the brain communally and having fun together!

OTTER CONSORT

This small vocal ensemble is for those who are highly experienced singers, with good sight reading ability and a love of choral music, both sacred and secular. All members of this ensemble are also members of Chamber Choir. The repertoire will be extensive and challenging and will require the members to learn the music by heart. We often sing a Christmas Concert in the wonderful setting of Uppark House for the National Trust as well as joining with the Chamber Choir for the annual Carol Service in the Cathedral. There is usually a residential course planned for Reading Week (Semester two) in Salisbury, culminating in the singing of Evensong in either Salisbury or Winchester Cathedrals. There is always an international tour in the summer with the Chamber Choir and recently Otter Consort has been to Verona, Budapest and Rome. Entry is by audition. 

SYMPHONIC CHOIR

Symphonic Choir works as a dedicated ensemble of the University’s singers and accompanists, encompassing all genres from Jazz and Show Tunes to Opera and Classical works. Engagements for the choir are varied and interesting, with chances to sing in many different locations as a standalone choir or as part of the choral section alongside the University’s orchestras in large-scale symphonic works. There will also be opportunities to hone your skills as part of a stage ensemble and to discover unique choral works to prepare you for experience after your degree. It is open to singers of all abilities and does not require you to audition, just come along and take part to improve everything from your breathing technique to your sight reading skills. Whether you’re a veteran chorister or an instrumentalist looking to try out singing in a relaxed and performance-focused environment, the Symphonic Choir welcomes you. 

SINGERS PLATFORM 

This vocal class takes the form of a supportive performance platform which aims to help singers build confidence as their recital programme takes shape. The class will also look at programme notes and work on presentation and posture. The session provides a regular platform to monitor performance progress and to help singers get the best out of their performance. Come and join us! 

Postgraduate Vocal Perfomance Platform 

This class is designed specifically for postgraduate musical theatre and classical singers. Building on the skills acquired in undergraduate study, it takes the form of an advanced performance platform which aims to prepare students for pathways into professional work, music conservatoires and drama schools. With professional coaching on audition presentation, technical help with creating a demo CD/show-reel and CV writing, and regular visits from Head of Voice Susan Legg for scheduled mock auditions and masterclasses, this bespoke class will help you develop key professional performance tools, culminating in a Postgraduate Vocal Gala Concert each Semester.

Orchestras and Bands

SYMPHONIC BRASS ENSEMBLE 

The Symphonic Brass Ensemble gives brass players the opportunity to rehearse and perform some of the wide range of music written for a larger brass ensemble. All brass players are welcome (both Brass Band and Orchestral instruments) and suitable parts will be found for them. 

SPECIAL PROJECTS GROUP 

The Special PROjects Group gives students the opportunity to perform the lighter side of music. Film music, musicals and popular classics make up the core repertoire of this group, which includes an integral Big Band. The group will not only perform in its own concerts but will also take on projects providing ensembles for Musical Theatre, outside agencies and other interesting opportunities. Membership to the pool of players making up SPROG is by audition and players will be selected from the pool to suit the requirements of any given project. 

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

The Chamber Orchestra is a small ensemble of between 15-17 players who rehearse twice a week to produce high quality performances throughout the year. Since its inception it has performed in America, Switzerland, Austria and France as well as many prestigious concerts in the UK. The Chamber Orchestra is regularly joined by international musicians, soloists and conductors. This ensemble acts as an ambassador for the whole University and a high standard is expected. Repertoire ranges from the Baroque to 20th Century. Membership is by audition. 

SINFONIETTA 

Sinfonietta is an ensemble with flexible membership enabling student composers to have their works performed by a live group of musicians and to have the experience of conducting their own works if they wish. Submissions of works are made in the first instance to Simon Growcott who will then organise a timetable of rehearsals beginning after Student Led week in the first semester

BRASS BAND

Brass players from all departments of the University are welcome to join the Brass Band. It focuses on the traditional brass band repertoire and gives an annual Christmas Concert as well as one other in the second semester. There is no audition but you may be asked to play a short piece to ensure that you occupy the right seat. 

TRAINING BAND

If you have ever wanted to play a brass instrument or just want to improve your playing then this is the ensemble for you. By playing basic arrangement you can develop your brass playing and stamina as well as ensemble skills. There are even have a few instruments available if you just want to try. 

BIG BAND

The Big Band is an opportunity for students to experience this very popular type of group. They have developed strong links with several popular amateur big bands based in the local area and in the past, some students have helped these bands and have been paid for doing so. The Big Band is a perfect, relaxed way of improving your sight reading skills, particularly for players who are keen on Jazz but might feel their reading is weak. It is also ideal for reading musicians who want to tackle improvisation for the first time. Membership is by audition. 

WIND BAND

Wind Band is open to all students from the University who wish to play a wide range of music from all genres. The Wind Band gives two concerts a year in Chichester and usually performs at the annual University of Chichester Music Festival on Guernsey. They have also performed in Brighton and Eastbourne to great critical acclaim. 

POPS ORCHESTRA

Pops Orchestra is for any instrumentalist who wants experience of playing in a large ensemble. There are approximately 70 performers and they explore film music, music from the shows, orchestral rock and pop music. The Pops Orchestra has recently toured the Channel Islands as well as giving concerts both within the University and at other venues. Entry is open to anyone. 

SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Symphony Orchestra is one of the most prestigious instrumental ensembles at the University. It performs concerts throughout the year in Chichester Cathedral, the University Chapel and in other venues and often tours in the summer months. The Symphony Orchestra meet for an intensive four days of rehearsals during the two University reading weeks and before concerts, rather than a regular weekly meeting. There are also some occasional Tuesday evening rehearsals. The Orchestra is supported by tutors in all sections of the orchestra who also take sectional rehearsals. International soloists and conductors are often invited to perform with the orchestra. Membership is by audition. 

Jazz and Folk

FOLK GROUP

A relaxed atmosphere and no pressure environment centered on communal playing, an eclectic mix of folk music and personal growth. We cover a variety of songs ranging from sea shanties written hundreds of years ago, alternative songs from film and TV, right up to recent pop releases. Take an active role in deciding which material we cover as contributions are always welcomed. Have a go at singing or experiment with a second instrument at our Folk Group and get more comfortable with performing at bi-weekly Folk Nights

JAZZ RESEARCH GROUP

This group is for jazz musicians that want to develop their skills further and are happy to experiment with different techniques within jazz education. A different topic will be covered each week which will range from theoretical to practical to contextual. Please bring your instrument and an open mind. 

GUITAR WORKSHOP 

This weekly workshop will primarily focus on sight reading but will also look at set pieces, commercial skills, and technical skills (chords, modes and scales). The workshop is open to all guitarists. 

BASS GUITAR WORKSHOP 

This weekly workshop will primarily focus on sight reading but will also look at set pieces, commercial skills, and technical skills (chords, modes and scales). The workshop is open to all bassists. 

JAZZ COMPOSERS’ WORKSHOP 

The Jazz Composers' Workshop employs methods almost identical to those of the great jazz composers of the 20th Century such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. Notation and even the use of chord symbols is kept to a minimum whilst live improvised invention is used to engage the group in interactive and spontaneous music making. The workshop crosses all styles including blues modality, jazz rock, European minimalism and a wide range of rhythmic frameworks. All instrumentalists and vocalists are welcome, including less familiar jazz instruments such as viola and bassoon. 

JAZZ WORKSHOP

Students assemble in The Elizabeth Swann Room and are then assigned to groups based on experience/ability level. The jazz tutors then work with their group on a number of pieces during the afternoon, which are then usually showcased during Jazz Night. Any music student is welcome so long as they have a genuine interest in developing their jazz skills within a group setting. Any ability level is welcome but commitment is expected throughout the semester, since spaces are limited. Students who have already attended jazz workshop regularly have automatic places and as many new students as possible will be accommodated. 

JAZZ NIGHT

Jazz Night provides a relaxing atmosphere for any students with an interest in jazz to be able to perform. The evenings are informal with a licensed bar, so you can enjoy a drink or two whilst listening to the music. Any style of jazz is welcome and the jazz tutors are always available to provide a house rhythm section for guest musicians. Jazz Nights also provide an opportunity for students who have taken part in the jazz workshops to showcase the pieces that they have been working on during the afternoon. 

JAZZ LIVE PERFORMING SKILLS

This is for any jazz students wishing to develop improvisational awareness and broaden their musical vocabulary. The workshop will encourage discussion and experimentation through performance. The focus is on using practical group workshops to gain more experience working with others within a Jazz context. However, the skills gained can applied to a variety of musical situations. 

JAZZ JAM NIGHT

This night will alternate with the folk nights and will provide an opportunity for everyone to play in much larger groups. The emphasis here is on participating and trying things out on stage. This will be facilitated by Rob Westwood and any level of experience is welcomed. 

FOLK NIGHT

This will run alternate weeks and are available for any folk musicians, or anyone interested in folk, to come and perform or listen in a relaxing environment. Any style of folk is welcome. 

RHYTHM WORKSHOP

This workshop is for all students wanting to develop their use of rhythm – especially whilst improvising. The workshops will be mostly practical, exploring metric modulation, Konnakol, odd metres, riff based composition and applying these to a live performance setting. Please bring your instrument. 

Instrumental

SAXOPHONE GROUP

The Chichester Saxophone Ensemble is based at the University but is open to Saxophone players in the local community. There are no age limits and no auditions. Often during rehearsals there will be a workshop type element where saxophonists will look at an element of playing and discuss ways of improving. Some of the repertoire goes up to 16 players so valuable experience can be gained in the performance of Chamber music in a relaxed and informal manner. The group will also sometimes split into smaller groups and give people a chance to explore the ever increasing repertoire for Saxophone quartet. The Saxophone Group welcome any wind players who might be looking for a way to gain experience performing on their second instrument. The ensemble tries to perform at least one concert per semester and in the past have raised funds for various charities. 

CLARINET CHOIR

The Chichester Clarinet Choir is based at the University but is open to the local community. The choir uses everything from the small Eb clarinet up to a Contra Base in Bb and tries to share parts around so that everybody gets a chance to perform a solo and lead in a chamber size group. During rehearsals the choir will often try workshop ideas like improvisation and areas which the other ensembles, due to their size, might not give players the opportunity to try. It also gives members a chance to experiment with arranging for Clarinet Choir. The Clarinet Choir is also ideal for saxophone or other wind players to get a chance to perform on their second instrument. Clarinet Choir usually takes part in at least one concert per semester, often combined with another University. 

PIANO GROUP

This group is for piano solo and duet playing and for accompanying one other instrument or voice. Pianists at all levels are welcome at this weekly opportunity to play whatever you have ready or in progress, with an audience only of the other members of the group: everyone plays every week. There is no teaching in this session, but there is discussion and feedback if it's wanted. This is an excellent, relaxed environment for building up repertoire and for dealing with any nervousness or performance anxiety. Accompanists can agree a time to bring their partners. The group gives a concert towards the end of each semester (not compulsory!). 

Other groups

ZUMBA

Come along, get fit, dance, laugh and party with Zumba Fitness®. Suitable for all levels and abilities, a great conditioning class that compliments other training. Open class for anyone. 

HARPSICHORD TUNING

An eight-week course introducing harpsichord temperaments, to equip students with practical tuning skills Reference will be made to important source texts, as well as to modern research into the temperament used by JS Bach. Indispensable for historically informed performance. Suitable for everyone, not just keyboard players.

YOGA FOR SINGERS AND MUSICIANS

Yoga for singers and musicians can be extraordinarily beneficial. The basic principles and effects of music and yoga are universal. It has been said that ‘Yoga is the melody and harmony of the unseen inner self, and music the melody and harmony of the seen outer self’. Yoga works on all the various systems of the body; physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual, making it different from other forms of exercise. The subtle qualities of Yoga have the potential to stimulate and develop the musical ability of a musician or singer. It can help singers sing and musicians play with more fluidity, power and emotional expression. The weekly drop-in classes will focus on the practice of asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathwork), and meditation, helping students improve lung capacity, stamina, concentration, flexibility and vitality. These tailored yoga classes will release tension in the back, neck, shoulders and arms and will be particularly helpful to musicians recovering from injuries or suffering from nerves, tension or stress. No previous experience of yoga is required. The classes are beneficial for everyone at any level, for the beginner or those with previous experience who can explore asanas and breathwork at a deeper level. It will give each student a set of tools for life. 

MEDITATION

Meditation is the practice of stilling or calming the mind through the focus of attention to a single point of reference. This point of reference varies depending on the chosen technique. It can involve focusing on the breath, on a word or phrase known as a mantra or an object. Meditation means turning your attention inwards away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment. Thoughts and emotions are inextricably linked, so the practice of meditation can bring a greater sense of peace to emotions or reduce the impact of troubling thoughts. With practice the meditator can observe thoughts that arise more objectively. Meditation can bring many benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety, depression and is used as a means of relaxation. Come and experience a variety of ways of encouraging the mind to quieten. Experience the calmness, cultivate greater mental discipline, gain insight and relax.

TAI CHI

Tai Chi or Taijiquan is a profoundly intelligent system that trains the body and mind naturally and perceptively to produce excellent health, fitness and well-being. It is arguably one of the most effective and successful health systems known today. The classes will focus upon the key principles that form the foundation of excellent movement, well-being and skill in martial arts (gong fu). 

INTERMEDIATE YOGA

If you are an experienced yoga student wishing to develop your understanding and improve your practice, then the intermediate sessions are for you. Many professional singers, musicians and performers use yoga to build stamina, fluidity and focus in both mind and body. The sessions will include asana, pranayama and meditation appropriate for this level. Numbers for these sessions will be limited. 

AURAL CLASSES

Learning the nuts and bolts of how music works – rhythm, keys, chords, musical styles and general listening skills - are essential tools for transforming budding instrumentalists, singers and composers into first-class musicians. These classes are designed to help you to make the most of your musical potential, however basic your knowledge or rusty your skills. Just come along with a pencil, eraser, pen, manuscript book and notebook. Don’t be shy, give it a try. 

SIGHT READING FOR PIANISTS

However difficult you may find sight reading, it is always possible to get really good at it with the right approach and lots of practice. These classes are designed to be fun, confidence-building and completely non-intimidating! Come along and watch your skills grow – you will learn your pieces quicker and find yourself in great demand! 

CONDUCTING WORKSHOP

A weekly workshop session to introduce students to the study and practice of conducting. Primarily focused on work with orchestras, these sessions combine traditional score based study with online and audio resources. Opportunity to work with small ensembles is often provided and is ideal for students who would like to gain a basic insight into the art of conducting and is often a useful supplement to students on IVT courses. 

THE PERFORMING BODY

Using Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method, the Performing Body sessions give practical ways to induce better coordination with a subsequent improvement in expressivity and ease of playing or singing. It also gives you a better return on the investment in your course. Many musicians spend a fortune on therapies such as osteopathy or chiropractic or have careers cut short by damage done to muscles joints or throats due to faulty use of self. An understanding of how to structure proper use of the musculo skeletal and nervous system will not only bring more pleasure to your music making but will help to prolong it through a full working life. 

BAROQUE PERFORMANCE CLINIC

Students preparing baroque pieces (instrumental or vocal) are welcome to bring work in progress for help with appropriate performing style, continuo accompaniment, and other relevant issues. An eight-week course in which we also explore harpsichord temperaments to equip students with practical tuning skills. Indispensable for historically informed performance.