I was informed of the wonderful news of the royal visit last summer, which was months before the official announcement, along with just a few of my peers. Whilst we were of course very thrilled, it was very tough not being able to share the news with anyone else! Being aware of the identity of our VIP made me look forward to the event a lot more, and I don’t think it made me extra nervous during the concert; if anything, I am certain that the presence of His Royal Highness encouraged everyone in the Orchestra to give their absolute best.
It was an enormous privilege to have the opportunity to perform for the Prince, and I am very grateful to have been involved in this exciting event which showcased some of Durham’s finest musical talents to such an important figure. It was all the more rewarding when I had the privilege of being introduced to His Royal Highness, who was extremely kind and complimentary about our performance.
On another note, it was also very special to simply get to play the monumental music of Parry and Stanford along with a huge choir and Sir Thomas Allen, as it is not exactly your everyday symphonic repertoire.
My roles in the Orchestra
Having led the Chamber Orchestra last year, I am currently the Leader of the Symphony Orchestra. In short, I act as the bridge between the conductor and the players, and communicate musically with the players through body and bow gestures. On top of that, I like to think I’m also a friendly figure that members of the Orchestra can reach and talk to about any problems. I do try and lead by example in terms of my attitude towards rehearsals, and taking part in as many social gatherings as I can.
Last year, I was also on the Executive Committee of the society as Tour Manager, during which I organised a concert tour to Slovenia for 68 people; it involved an enormous amount of work, but it was also one of the most rewarding projects I have ever taken up.
My involvement with Music Durham
Music Durham is the umbrella society for Durham University’s main ensembles, coordinating the activities of the student-run and student led music societies.
I am also on the Executive Committee of Music Durham this year as Secretary, which involves compiling newsletters every week, taking minutes during meetings, doing administrative work, as well as working with the rest of the exec in steering the musical activities in the University.
Music is a huge part of my student experience
Looking back at my time at Durham, most of my fondest memories are related to the musical activities that I had dived straight into since day one. Without wishing to sound clichéd, music really is the perfect platform for people to connect, communicate, develop, and work collectively to achieve something beautiful that will stay with you for a long time.
The music scene at Durham is a hugely nurturing environment; whatever your degree of study is, whatever you are planning to do later in life, the incredible music-making across the University gives you the creative outlet to perform to a staggeringly high standard outside regular academic commitments. To me, going to university is about much more than just getting a degree, and music at Durham has given many of my peers and me the gift of all-around personal development and fulfilment, and that is why I think it is so important and deserves all the help it can get towards its continuous success.
Find out more about HRH Prince Charles’ visit to Durham and our students reaction
Durham University Orchestral Society, Durham University Choral Society, Durham Cathedral Choir and Members of Durham County Youth Choir come together again in Durham Cathedral, on Saturday 10 March to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s greatest composers, Hubert Parry.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online.