What is ULMS all about?

Another year has passed in the ULMS calendar and we’re busy getting ready to welcome more keen freshers into our ensembles. Whilst we said goodbye to some of our long serving members last term, the new term gives us chance to say hello to even more instrumentalist and vocalists. 

If you got your results today, then congratulations! We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Lancaster and to ULMS. Between now and Fresher’s week we’re going to be introducing you to ULMS and some important faces within the society, so you get to know more about us, what we do and get to know some friendly faces before term and rehearsals start!

ULMS performing the ShowStopper at the Summer Showcase 2019

ULMS is the University of Lancaster Music Society. We pride ourselves in being the only student-led music society meaning we have no input from a music department or lecturers. Every one of our members simply does music as a hobby with some having played instruments since they could walk ranging right through to those who picked them up for the first time in freshers’ week! We are open to all abilities and are keen to welcome everyone.

Choir rehearsing in the Chaplaincy Centre in the lead up tot he Summer Showcase 2019

Our Music Society was founded back in 1979 with the Music Department here at Lancaster University. Starting out as just the Orchestra, the society has grown over the years to now include 7 major ensembles and various smaller groups for more specific interests. Since the closure of the music department back in 2015, the society has been completely student run, run by a committee of 15 positions we organise all of our rehearsals, socials and concerts ourselves.

The 7 major ensembles rehearse weekly and there’s something for every instrument and genre of music! Our Big Band and Swing Group are perfect for those interested in jazz and swing music while the Orchestra is perfect for those interested in both classical music as well as film and stage music. The Choir is perfect for vocalists who enjoy singing a variety of genres from traditional to pop and everything in between! The Brass Band is open to all brass players who enjoy playing a range of music from traditional marches, fanfares and much more whilst competing in competitions such as UniBrass and Whit Friday. String Orchestra is for all string players while Wind Band is for all wind and brass instruments. These ensembles both play traditional music typical of their ensembles as well as more well-known music such as ‘How to Train your Dragon’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

Big Band performing in the Charity Showcase 2019

There are also several small groups that run throughout the year; for example: Flute Choir, Clarinet Choir, Dance Band, Oompah Band, Inglorious Brassters and more! If you want more information about all the small groups or even want to try and set one up yourself then feel free contact the small groups rep!

Brass Band at ‘An Evening with ULMS Wind and Brass Bands’ 2019

So what does a year within ULMS look like? Rehearsals start in Week 1 and at the end of this week we hold our annual Fresher’s Concert. This is open for all freshers to play in or just to come and watch to see what the major ensembles have to offer and to see what you might be interesting in joining. Our first major concert is the annual Christmas Concert held in the Priory in which Orchestra, Wind band, Brass Band and String Orchestra play in. At a similar time we also hold a ‘Big Swing’ concert which this year was called ‘Hark the Herald Angels Swing’ in which Big Band and Swing Group play their Jazzy Christmas sets in a venue such as Barker House Farm on campus. We also have a social every week and in first term these include the Three-legged Bar Crawl, the Christmas Ball as well as games and quiz nights. Going into Term 2 we start with the Charity Showcase ran by the Ball Dancing society in which the Wind Band play the music to accompany the mini musical and Big Band play music for the Strictly Come Dancing part of the evening. This term also sees our new concert ‘An evening with ULMS Wind and Brass Bands’ which we hold will become an annual event and to finish off the term we have our Concerto Concert in which the Orchestra play a Concerto along with other pieces they’ve been working on and Choir and String Orchestra also have the change to perform. Term 2 socials see us partake in the Patrick’s Day Bar Crawl with Folk Society and we also have more games nights. Finally moving into final term and our main focus is our Summer Showcase. All of our ensembles perform in this showcase and at the end we all come together for a final showstopper which this year as a La La Land Medley and in 2018 was Sound Shrek. This piece is often written/arranged by a member of the society and anyone can enter any idea they have! We have a varied and busy year within ULMS but no matter how involved you want to be-there’s something for everyone!

Swing Band playing at Cartmel Christmas Ball 2018

Behind the scenes, committee is responsible for the running of the society. There are 15 positions and we run elections for every year in February. Committee are responsible for making decisions such as where the money is spent e.g. on concerts, new music, instrument purchase and upkeep etc and also for organising rehearsals times and venues, concerts and everything else ULMS! Over the next couple of week’s, we’ll be introducing you to each member of committee so you can get to know more about them!

String Orchestra playing at the Freshers concert 2018

Our Conductors are another big part of our society and all of them are students themselves! Each ensemble auditions their conductors each year and anyone is welcome to take part – whether you’ve conducted before or not! The Conductors help the ensemble reps set up rehearsals and concerts and help select the music with the input from the ensemble. Throughout September we’ll also be introducing you to all of the Conductors for each ensemble so you can get to know who’s who and who to look out for in Freshers Week!

Orchestra playing the Fresher’s Concert 2018

Alongside our ensembles and rehearsals we also have something called PTM which is Project Teach Music. When the Music department closed in 2015, they gave the society some money which we invested in PTM. This is open to anyone both members and non-members of ULMS. Through this scheme you can get lessons in many instruments of your choice, and a teacher (another student) will arrange lessons for you. No matter your level or what you want to get out of lessons, the PTM co-ordinator will find someone to teach you! There will be more information about PTM released soon but in the meantime if you want more information you can message the Facebook page!

We look forward to welcoming you on your next academic and musical journey with us here at ULMS. Look out for our future posts about Committee, Conductors, PTM and Small Groups and be sure to find us at Fresher’s Fair in Fresher’s week! For now, if you have any questions please message our Facebook page or you can find relevant contact details for each members of committee on the website ulms.org.uk.