Keep Music Playing / 12
What strange times these are to be studying and planning our careers…
One of the most important elements of my role as RNCM Student Union President, is to ensure that all our students are heard and supported. This crisis has, without doubt, been the greatest test of delivering that support, when we are all so far apart.
Luckily, thanks to staff and students so brilliantly embracing life online, the SU team have been able to continue to engage the student body and ensure we all still feel part of the RNCM community.
From organising a hugely popular weekly pub quiz, with 19 teams now featured in the league, to Zumba and yoga classes and our wonderful new pet show and tell sessions, we’re ensuring that we can still socialise and enjoy some sense of a social life. Student politics and groups are still thriving, with a book club, the climate action society’s regular talks and next year’s SU team elected virtually, following amazing campaigns by our candidates and engagement across the whole student body, despite this being the first-time campaigns have been run entirely online.
During a time when we are physically so far away from the College and the inspiration the building, the staff and our fellow students give us, we are also prioritising student wellbeing. We’re offering regular catch up sessions for our friends who may need extra support and a virtual silent practice room, on Zoom each week, where we all play separately, but together, to build a sense of community for those of us now practising home alone.
We’re also working closely with College senior management and Heads of Schools to develop support packages for all year groups, but especially those graduating this year and facing such an uncertain future. We are hugely thankful that feedback from our student body has been positive and the messages of support and donations to the hardship fund, that we receive from the RNCM community, absolutely make our day and genuinely help to keep us going.
Working together, we promise we will keep our very special RNCM family connected, inspired and strong.
– Alice Flannery, RNCM Student Union President (2019-20)
Black Lives Matter
This week, we have been responding to the issues raised by the tragic events in the US. The SU BAME Society hosted a public online discussion, led by Diversity Officer Lavender Rodriguez, with over 150 people watching live and over 8000 views since, sharing their experiences – with a particular focus on what the music industry and conservatoires can do to promote positive change. A recording is available to view here.
We’ve received messages of support from far and wide and hope that the RNCM can be one of the institutions leading the way in promoting change. However, we know how long change takes and how vital it is to keep this at the top of the agenda, therefore, we plan to continue to host regular discussions bringing together students, staff and alumni to discuss, listen, reflect and learn.
Inclusive and open to all, we welcome you to watch and participate in our next discussion, on Thursday 11 June at 7.30pm. To join click here.
Backstage peek around Mansfield Park
We know how many of you were looking forward to our opera production, Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, sadly cancelled due to restrictions around COVID-19. To highlight the work of my fellow students, which sadly never made it to the stage, we’re delighted to be able to show you some backstage photos, footage and, of course, glorious singing from dress rehearsals, captured by set and costume designer Yannis Thavoris.
We hope it gives you a small taste of what might have been and an opportunity to see our hugely talented students, staff and creatives who put so much time, heart and soul into the production.
BHF concert partnership
Over 3000 people are watching our online lunchtime concerts, performed by students from across our Schools and streamed in partnership with the British Heart Foundation. We absolutely love working with a charity delivering such life changing support, sharing our music to bring joy to people during these challenging times. The next concert will feature alumna Kathryn Williams performing a variety of solo flute pieces, composed by RNCM students, alumni and staff. You can listen here on Monday 8 June at 1.15pm
Popular music collaboration
This week I’d love to share some of the exciting work produced by our wonderful pop students.
The hugely talented George Farrar was inspired to write a song for his mum, a key NHS worker. What began as a small tribute has turned into a wonderful, heart-warming, global collaboration featuring over 45 musicians from as far afield as San Francisco and Slovakia! Written by George and mixed and produced by Dan Mizen, with the aim to thank our wonderful NHS workers and brighten your day. See if you can spot George’s mum and her colleagues singing along in Dewsbury hospital!
In addition to writing new music, our students also love to reinterpret classics. Here are Elis Roost, Luis Sullivan and friends, performing a very funky cover version of Fleetwood Mac’s classic track The Chain.
Thank you for quizzing!
A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for our Zoom music quiz, hosted by the wonderful Pete Waterman OBE and ably assisted by Junior Fellow Christopher Pulleyn, whose post at the RNCM is generously supported by the Sir John Fisher Foundation.
We raised a fantastic £2500 and had a brilliant time quizzing together. We’d like to extend particular thanks to the wonderful donor who match funded all ticket sales and to Beaverbrooks the Jewellers and Brodsky restaurant for their generous prize donations. One particularly unique prize, won by a lucky player, was a bespoke print drawn by one of our alumnae, mezzo soprano, Kathryn Rudge.
For those who would like to know more about Kathryn’s artistic endeavours, we’re delighted to announce that she’ll be producing an exclusive drawing class just for us very soon. In the meantime, you can find out more about her art here.
When British composer Margaret Lowe wrote Dawn Carol, she wanted it to be performed by flutists scattered around a concert hall and amongst the audience, so it’s a truly fitting choice for our flute department to play virtually across multiple locations.
The Patchwork Jazz Orchestra
As part of our series of recommendations from RNCM staff, this week jazz tutor Steve Berry shares The Light That Shines, a glorious new piece composed by Tom Smith. Performed by the Patchwork Jazz Orchestra, an inspiring big band and collective of 17 musicians and composers exploring fresh sounds, influences and ideas.
This uplifting piece brings together musicians from across the country, to record a song of hope, dedicated to all frontline workers battling the virus.
Once again, huge thanks to everyone who is supporting the College and our students. I’d like to extend particular thanks to those who have been donating to our Student Hardship Fund. Many of my friends, and the students I represent, are facing significant struggles as they work to continue their training and launch their careers during these unprecedented and hugely difficult times. For those that have helped or are considering doing so, more information about how your support makes a real difference can be found here. To all of you, thank you, from all of us.
5 June 2020