Durham Music Societies
Durham University offers a unique opportunity to become part of a thriving community of student-run societies. Whether you are interested in directing, producing, performing or working back-stage there is an inexhaustible list of ways to get involved with your societies of choice. Durham student societies are exceptional in that they are totally controlled by the students that run them, giving everyone the opportunity to take part in ambitious, dynamic and creative ventures in whichever way they can. And if there is not yet a society for your area(s) of interest, then the Durham Students Union will do everything they can to help you set up your own society. Here is a list of some of the student-run societies operating around Durham University.
The incredibly diverse musical life of Durham astounds me still - nowhere else could someone perform the Countess (Marriage of Figaro), Renaissance music in the Chapter House of the Cathedral, a female barbershop gig for a Royal College of Surgeons function, one-to-a-part Purcell, Spem in Alium, and saxophone quartet gigs in the same month!Emily Owen, Graduated June 2010 from Hatfield College
Durham University Orchestral Society, comprising the Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, is entirely student run and provides students at Durham with the chance to perform music to as high a standard as possible. The society was founded over 40 years ago, making it the longest running orchestral society in Durham. It has grown over the years and now strives to keep up and build upon its good reputation. DUOS often collaborates with other societies in Durham including the Choral Society and Opera Ensemble providing more performance opportunities for its players as well as helping to provide high standard musical performances in Durham. Definitely a highlight of recent years was the performance in March 2012 of the world premiere of Stanford’s Violin Concerto No. 2, orchestrated by Professor Jeremy Dibble. Each year the society goes on tour in the Easter vacation. Past destinations have included: Venice, Barcelona, and Vienna. This year we are very excited to be performing in Prague. Players are auditioned at the start of each academic year. Please get in touch or visit our facebook page or website for more information!
Durham University Big Band is an 18-piece jazz band, comprising Durham University's finest jazz musicians, committed to advancing the highest musical standards. The band performs new, challenging and high quality jazz across the North East, London and Europe to a variety of audiences. We perform regularly at Durham University events, college balls and compete in local competitions, including the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival where we were crowned Overall Winners, Best Section and Best Programme 2011.
For more information, visit our website: http://www.dur.ac.uk/bigband.society/news.php
Durham University Chamber Choir has been called the foremost student-run choir in Durham, providing the highest standard of choral music in concerts throughout the year. Formed of twenty of the finest singers of the University, the Chamber Choir performs regularly in Durham Cathedral and large scale venues across the country.
Choral Society is one of Durham University's largest and oldest musical groups, having performed continuously at a high standard for sixty years. Every year, members perform in a variety of concerts at top venues such as Durham Cathedral. Professional soloists are employed, but experienced singers receive many opportunities for solos and smaller ensemble singing, and the society is proud of its range of talent. Musical direction comes from the world-renowned Cathedral Organist - James Lancelot, with repertoire drawn from across the Classical specturm - Bach to Bernstein. New members are recruited with short auditions which test test vocal range, sight-reading ability and aural skill. Although commitment to weekly rehearsals on Monday evenings is essential, the society is welcoming and sociable. Few forget the experience of singing with dozens of friends to a capacity audience in the magnificent Durham Cathedral.
See our website for more information: http://www.dur.ac.uk/choral.society/
Durham University Concert Band is a friendly, non-auditioning group open to all brass, woodwind and percussion players. Since they are non-auditioning, new members of all abilities can join at any time throughout the year and they are always welcomed! Their weekly rehearsals are friendly and relaxed, and they always aim to make their music both accessible and musically challenging. The band’s repertoire is vast and varied — Their programmes include film scores, Broadway musicals, Latino and salsa pieces, full concert band suites and classical works arranged specifically for the band. They are committed to playing new music and arrangements as much as possible, so you can guarantee that they won’t be playing the same tunes every term! They usually have at least three concerts a year, including at least one outdoors.
The band isn’t just about playing music though, as we hold frequent socials throughout the year. As well as meals, bar crawls and post-concert drinks, we have recently travelled to see concerts and musicals in Durham and beyond. Rehearsals are from 2–4pm every Sunday in the Music Department on Palace Green.
Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers, founded in 1997, is a mixed-voice choir of twenty-four adult volunteers. It is made up of both University students and local singers, and sings less frequently than the Cathedral Choir (usually three or four times per term). It has recorded and broadcast, but again its focus is the enhancement of the regular Cathedral worship. Rehearsals take place from 6.00 to 7.00 p.m. on Friday evenings during term time. There is also a rehearsal before each service.
All are welcome to apply for auditions to join the Consort of Singers. Whilst previous experience of singing in a small choir is not a prerequisite, importance is attached to vocal ability and to first-class sight-reading. There is no remuneration; successful candidates will nevertheless be expected to commit themselves at the outset to attending all rehearsals and services. There are vacancies for singers each October. Candidates wishing to audition should apply to the Cathedral Organist, James Lancelot, 6 The College, Durham DH1 3EQ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durham Opera Ensemble (DOE) is a vibrant student society involved in the performance and appreciation of opera. They produce 2 or 3 productions each year, with the cast, orchestra and production team all drawn from the student body.
Over the last few years DOE has put on a large work during Epiphany term in Castle Great Hall. In conjunction with Durham University Orchestral Society (DUOS), recent productions have included Bizet's 'Carmen', Johann Strauss' 'Die Fledermaus' and Vaughan-Williams' 'The Poisoned Kiss'. Along with similar scale and smaller works in a variety of venues around Durham, the society also puts on an annual concert of opera excerpts entitled Opera Favourites.
For further information about the society and our current and past productions, please visit their website here... Alternatively, feel free to contact the exec at email@example.com
The Durham University Palatinate Orchestra is one of Durham's leading Symphony orchestras. With its membership approaching 80 in number this year, the orchestra is going from strength to strength performing some very challenging but exciting repertoire. Past concerts have included; Tchaikovsky Symphony No.s 4 and 6, Brahms Symphony No. 2, Shostakovich Jazz Suite No. 2, Walton Prelude and Fugue 'The Spitfire', Sibelius Symphony No. 5 and many other great pieces.
They are a relaxed and friendly auditioning orchestra who produced music to a high level whilst enjoying an active social scene too. An annual tour ends the year after an intense set of rehearsals during 'DUPO week' which gives the orchestra a chance to do something different after exams. Purely student run, their aim is to provide orchestral musicians with a place to play challenging but fun repertoire in a welcoming atmosphere, ending each term's work with a concert of very high quality music. Auditions take place at the start of each academic year.
'Renaissance', conductor Ben Rowarth, is a small, student run choir that specialises in the performance of Renaissance and Contemporary music. It is made up of students, staff members, Alumni and even some singers from outside the University. In particular, 'Renaissance' looks to provide opportunities to perform Renaissance music one per part and, with the whole choir, perform music that is very rarely performed and that singers otherwise would not get to enjoy. Concerts in 2012 are in a wide variety of fantastic venues (such as Durham Cathedral, Castle Norman Chapel and Hild Bede Chapel) and feature some truly unique and exciting music by composers such as Lobo, White, Tavener, Whitacre and Ligeti. The choir received flattering reviews following concerts in 2011 and ever strives for perfection and professionalism, often being visited by guest conductors at the top of their game for concerts or workshops; such names this year have included Ralph Allwood, Chris Watson and Martin Neary.
DUV is a vibrant and enthusiastic choir with a wide and varied repertoire. They do not hold auditions, but still maintain a high quality, professional and fun choir for keen singers. Love singing? Hate auditions? As the only non-auditioning choir, Durham University Voices (DUV) provides a relaxed, enjoyable environment in which to sing, with their rehearsals being hard work but still great fun! It's a really big, friendly choir whose rehearsals provide a welcome break from work, and a chance to meet up and sing with friends. Because they have regular social events too, DUV is not only a choir, but a close-knit group of friends. Their repertoire covers a wide range of musical styles, ranging from gospel and classical pieces to pop and musical theatre. With sacred and secular, from Masses to Mash-ups — we've already ticked off Newcastle and Durham Cathedrals amongst our list of exciting concert venues.
After last year's epic collaboration with 100 voices and 2 Beatboxers, they have a Multimedia Themes concert planned for this Epiphany term and a busy Christmas Concert Schedule to come. All this is in addition to University events, and their traditional Christmas carol singing and summer busking. There's something for everybody! DUV is perfect for those who have had previous experience of singing in choirs, although it is not essential that you are able to read music. The most important thing is that you love to sing.
Having recently celebrated it's 10th Birthday, Northern Spirit Singers is a long established choir in Durham. Founded originally by a group of school music teachers in and around the city, it expanded rapidly to include the student population of Durham University until it became the mixed entity it is today. The choir covers a huge range of repertoire (from Holst to Rutter, Tchaikovsky to Queen) to an excellent standard and performs several times a year with an annual tour. In 2011, the choir toured to Venice and claimed second place in the International Choral Festival there as well as an award for the exceptional performance of Rachmaninov's bogoroditse devo. The choir is fun and incredibly welcoming while still managing to reach an impressive level of choral singing. NSS recruits new members at the beginning of each academic year with a relaxed audition process.