This week we talk to one of our Senior Lecturers in Music, Dr Vanessa Hawes!
One of our senior lecturers Marissia Fragkou has been giving some brilliant talks and has more upcoming.
The next in our quest for helping you find out the most about our lecturers here at Canterbury Christ Church University is Chris Price!
What is your teaching specialism?
Vocal Studies, Critical Studies
What made you want to start teaching here at Christ Church?
I originally joined the University to start up the Performing Arts degree programme. It was an exciting career move for me – I’d been teaching in secondary schools up till then – and the opportunity to get a new venture going in an innovative Department was too good to miss.
What kind of research do you do outside of university?
I’m a performing musician as well as an educator – I sing in the Cathedral Choir here in Canterbury – and spend quite a bit of my time finding and transcribing all sorts of music. Recently my work has focused on the Canterbury Catch Club. It was a musical/social club which thrived in the city from 1779 to 1865, and it’s a fascinating slice of the city’s cultural and social history. So far, I’ve produced a book and CD, mounted several performances, including a full-scale re-creation of a typical Catch Club evening – updated for the 21st century! – as part of last year’s Canterbury Festival), and curated an exhibition in the city Library (the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge) which ran for two months from September to November last year. It’s also the subject of my PhD studies, and I’ve been delivering conference papers as far afield as Salzburg, Glasgow and Venice.
How do you feel this work influences your teaching?
Well, the most obvious example is the fact that my students often find themselves singing – much to their surprise – some music which has been completely unknown for about 150 years. So far, it all seems to have gone down very well.
There’s another sense in which my work has an effect on our students, though, and that is the very strong feeling I think it gives that studying at CCCU isn’t just a question of getting a qualification; I think our students get a sense of place and a feeling of belonging to a community – not just academic, but cultural and historical. I’d hope they develop an affection for the place which goes beyond their few student years here.
What would you say to any prospective students coming to Canterbury Christ Church?
Make the most of us! We have a truly remarkable range of curricular, extra-curricular, and enrichment activity running throughout the year: performances by fellow-students and professional practitioners; visiting professional residencies; links with a major Arts festival (the Canterbury Festival and its Fringe); two other professional theatres in the city offering year-round programmes of dance, drama and music in the city, with which we have good relations; and the combined creative energies of you, our students. Get stuck in. Don’t think that a degree course is just a set of lectures interrupting a social life; what you give to your years of study at CCCU will determine what you get from them. What you do here will go a long way towards defining not only the kind of professional practitioner you become, but the kind of human being you are.
Iconography of the Performing Arts
We learnt recently the very sad news that Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has died at the age of 81. Our thoughts go out to Sir Peter’s family and friends.
It’s that time of the week again! Here is our interview with Robert Stillman who teaches Commercial Music over on our Broadstairs Campus.
Once again we were treated on this dreary afternoon to the wonderful Top Voices, directed by Chris Price. The pieces, which had been sorted into wonderfully named categories such as Love and Leaving and Slightly Fantastical, gave us a slightly eclectic but beautifully arranged concert.
Some were soft and lilting, such as the beautiful Lullaby ( Billy Joel), a song about remembrance. The gentle harmonies managed to even bring out the sunshine at one part, which i could stand to say was not a coincidence. Others were uplifting and humorous like the brilliant Poisoning Pigeons in the Park
(Tom Lehrer) which joyfully describes exactly what it says on the tin in an upbeat and jazzy manner.
The pieces were all performed by the group in it’s entirety, excepting two numbers. A joyful ode to the post box entitled Pillar to Post ( Flanders & Swann) and the hauntingly lovely When I Was in My Prime (Michael McGlynn). The latter, a wonderfully sung trio was accompanied by the slightest of drones from the rest of the group, enhancing the sound and adding a layer of depth to the number.
Kudos to Hannah Jacobi, who conducted a couple of the number with ease, and to Sara Wilson, who not only conducted but arranged a few of the numbers, including a glorious rendition of Summertime (Gershwin) which could very easily have slotted into the original musical Porgy and Bess without any trouble at all, and i doubt George or Ira Gershwin would mind at all.
Anyone who didn’t manage to see this amazing choir should try and find time to see them in the future, as you certainly do not want to miss this twice!
This week, we spoke to our Senior Lecturer and Technical Director Andy Hurst about his work here at Canterbury Christ Church University, and his personal research.