Another year over: Michaelmas Term Update

We’ve reached the end of the term and the year (and the decade!) and Michaelmas has been as busy as ever in the ULMS calendar! Take a look back on what we packed into the past 10 (or 11) weeks!

Lizzy Morritt, Henry Lay and Roger Quack-Hylton at Freshers Fair

Freshers’ Week

Over the summer Committee worked hard getting ready for Freshers’ Week and to welcome many new members. This year we had a new banner along with hundreds of flyers to hand out and as a result, we attracted many new numbers bringing our total members to an astonishing 186!

Week 1

The term started off with a week of rehearsals welcoming the new freshers to the Society. There was an influx of new members meaning for the first time even String Orchestra struggled to fit in the Dalton Room! This week also saw our new Group Saxophone Choir get formed!

The Weekend brought the first of the term’s events in the form of the Lancaster Music Festival! Brass Band had the first of their gigs here on Sunday which was due to take place in Dalton Square. Sadly, a tuba full of water is not ideal and so due to the rain, the event was relocated to outside Primark. The band played well considering the weather and the audience was very impressed with their playing (Even if they managed to forget to take the cymbals and only brought the cymbal stand!)

Inglourious at the Lancaster Music Festival

Inglourious Brassterds also played this weekend in three separate events. The first of these took place in the Boot and Shoe on the Friday and this was followed by performances at the Crafty Scholar and Fibbers on the Saturday. The 10-piece filled both venues with cheesy pop music that got the audiences singing and dancing!

Finally, the weekend came to a close with the annual Fresher’s Concert. This informal event saw each group take to the stage giving Freshers’ their first chance of playing with their new groups as well as being able to see other groups they may wish to join throughout the term. The concert was a success with each group playing their hearts out despite only have one week of rehearsals with the new members! After the concert, everyone went along to County Bar for pizza and to make new friends (except committee who had to put the Great Hall back into exam set-up!)

Week 2

After the success of the Fresher’s Concert, this week was less busy to allow everyone to get back into the swing of things. Behind the scenes, Committee were busy organising concerts and Masterclasses for the weeks ahead and so everyone was glad when this week’s social rolled around. The infamous three-legged bar crawl took place on the Friday of this week in which freshers spent the evening attached to older ULMS members – ending with the highly competitive three-legged race!

Week 3

This week was another quiet week for ULMS with not much happening. This week’s social was a classic ULMS quiz with the much-loved Committee Baby photo round! The photos from the evening are below in case you missed it – Can you guess which baby grew to have a curly afro? And which baby grew up to love spreadsheets?

Committee Baby Photos. Can you Guess who’s who?

Inglourious Brassterds took part in another gig this week (That makes 4 already!) in the form of Pendle Live! Playing their classic repertoire of cheesy pop songs, they pleased the audience and got them all up singing and dancing along! 

A cake made for the GBBO social

Week 4

Week 4 soon rolled around and the event on everyone’s lips was the Great British Bake Off Final! We had a mini social after Wind Band to all watch the final together and many people showed their baking talents by bringing a multitude of baked goods for all to enjoy!

This week also saw us host a Band Forming Workshop for the first time in ULMS history. Our Small Groups Rep and Technician held this workshop to help members (and non-members) find other like-minded people to form a band or new small group with and to explain to them how the equipment hiring system worked. 

Finally, the week ended with the annual Fireworks social where many ULMS members met up and went to see the firework display put on in town. Although cold, the evening was enjoyed by all and the array of colours lit up the sky.

Week 5

We’ve hit the midway week of term and it was a busy one! We started with the on-campus firework display on Bonfire night. Clarinet Choir, Oompah Band and Inglourious Brassterds all played at the event. With hours of ULMS entertainment, there was something for everyone and the audience thoroughly enjoyed all the performances. Despite cold fingers, the instrumentalists played well and entertained with an array of well-known tunes getting the audience singing along.

This week also saw us have two masterclasses! The first was a Choirs masterclass with Don Gilthorpe which took place in their rehearsal on the Thursday preparing for the Choirs Concert in the coming weeks.

“It was genuinely very useful but hard to describe specifically how it was different from a practice. Things we worked on included better expression of dynamics, breathing silently (surprisingly difficult), embracing the emotion of the piece, and he particularly helped the conductors on conducting difficult metre changes.”

George Allin (Choir Rep)

We also had a jazz masterclass this week that took place on the Saturday with Ian Chalk who runs an array of Jazz-related music events in York. This workshop was open to all members of Swing Group and Big Band as well as anyone else who plays a jazz instrument. 

“We did some new pieces, picking them apart and working on them. We also did some group exercises and improvisation work.”

Hannah Bayliss (Big Band Rep and Swing Group conductor)

Thursday also saw a Lancaster Arts event take place in the Great Hall. An Opera (that Orchestra conductor Robert Eves took part in!) occurred and Clarinet Choir were asked to perform some foyer music for the event. Clarinet Choir performed a repertoire of classical and jazz music. They even performed a piece arranged for the Ebony Clarinet Quartet and to their surprise, one of their members was stood in the foyer listening! 

Week 6

Week 6 was one to remember with the annual Remembrance Day Service in Alex Square. Rebecca Jex led the brass band with a solo of ‘The Last Post’ honouring all those who have fallen in the many wars fought around the world. It was an honour for Brass to be asked to take part in this service again and their tribute was heart-warming for all to watch.

Brass Band
Rebecca Jex

Inglourious Brassterds were busy again this week as they were invited by the Polish Society to play at their Independence Day party!

The Production team for this year’s Collab – Chicago was also decided this week! Congratulations to Hannah Bayliss (Conductor) and Ben Frondigoun (Piano) who were appointed as Musical Directors and to Tia Arnold who has been appointed as Publicity Officer!

Week 7

This week saw a new concert take place – The Choirs Concert! After all huddling off to St John’s Church in Galgate, four of our small groups along with major ensemble Choir took part in an unforgettable concert. Choir opening the concert with their first song and were followed by Flute Choir, Chamber Choir and finally Clarinet Choir who finished off the first half. The second half was opened by Saxophone Choir (debuting in their very first concert!) and finally the concert was closed by an extended Choir slot. After spending weeks rehearsing for this concert, each group did themselves proud and filled the Church with warmth and harmony. Compéred by Choir Rep George Allin and Choir Conductor Verity Bennett, the evening was humorous and entertaining and there is hope for the future that this concert will continue!

Flute Choir
Chamber Choir
Saxophone Choir

The weekend also saw the Christmas Markets return to Lancaster Brewery and those who were lucky enough to attend in the evenings were able to watch Inglourious Brassterds perform three separate gigs across the weekend!

Auditions for Chicago also took place this week! Be sure to follow the Facebook page (Lancaster University Presents: Chicago 2020) and Twitter page (@LUChicago20) for up-to-date information!

Week 8

Onto week 8 and the end of term was within touching distance! While all the major ensembles are preparing for the two Christmas Concerts, the small groups had their own concert to prepare for this week! On Thursday Orchestra moved an hour early to make time for the Small Groups Showcase after rehearsal in the JHR. A grand total of 7 groups performed: Clarinet Choir, Flute Choir, Saxophone Choir, Oompah Band, Dalton Collective, Chamber Choir and Inglourious Brassterds! It was a diverse evening and with many genres of music being visited – there was something for everyone!

On the same evening as the Small Groups Showcase, Flute Choir followed in Clarinet Choir’s footsteps and played in the foyer for another Lancaster Arts Events. They wowed the audience with some traditional Gaelic tunes as well as an arrangement of George Gershwin’s Summertime and also entertained with some Christmas Carols to get everyone in the festive spirit! Another Small Group, Inglourious Brassterds; also got another gig under their belt this week as they performed at the Bobbin with their repertoire of cheesy pop tunes!

Oompah Band at the Small Groups Showcase
Inglourious at the Bobbin

This week took a sombre turn when it was discovered that our mascot Roger had gone missing! Everyone was on the lookout for where he had gone as everyone wished for his safe return.

Week 9

Week 9 saw many of the Christmas festivities begin and the whole society was busy preparing. The week started with the annual Christian Union’s event ‘Deck the Town Hall’. Both Brass and Choir performed here, leading the carols and Choir singing as people entered the event. This event marked the start of the Christmas concerts ULMS took part in this year and it got everyone into the Christmas Spirit.

This week also saw a small selection of Brass Players take to Alex Square on multiple days to play some Carols and to advertise for our both of our forthcoming Christmas Concerts.

Also this week we had the first of our two major Christmas Concerts – Feliz Navijazz which took place in Barker House Farm. Norovirus did its best to put a damper on things as many musicians had to pull out due to becoming ill. However, in true ULMS style, the show went on anyway with many members agreeing to dep at the last minute. The sound of the bands filled Barker House Farm and the sound resonated off the walls truly bringing the festive spirit to all that were there to watch.

Big Band
Swing Group

Orchestra held their concerto Auditions this week in preparation from next term. The talent of auditionees was high and it was hard to pick just one person – so two were picked! Congratulations to Louis Kirkman (Violin) and Emily Hinks (Flute) who will be performing Concertos next term! A massive well done to everyone else who auditioned – you were all amazing and your talent blew us away!

Brass Quintet

Small Group Brass Quintet were also busy this week with performing in Three Left Feet’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ They performed two shows live and pre-recorded some music for the third show due to it clashing with our Christmas Ball. They also carolled for this production alongside Chamber Choir at Waterstones at the weekend.

Committee at the Winter Ball (Photo Credits to @prs_photography_)

The week ended with the annual Christmas Ball, once again taking place in Lancaster House hotel. Everyone had a great time and it was nice for everyone to take a few hours off all the hard work they’d done this term both inside ULMS and out. After a three-course meal, lots of singing and dancing and some photographs everyone went home ready for the next busy week to start.

Week 10

Week 10 – The final week of term and the holidays were just around the corner. Brass Band began this week by playing at a carol service held by the University taking place at the Chaplaincy centre on campus.

Roger was returned this week, much to the society’s delight and the kidnapper was revealed as ex-president Alex Warwick; the one who first raised the alarm. He claims he found Roger hidden behind a box in the Cupboard. If this is true, the question still remains as to who hid him in the first place?

On Wednesday we held our annual Christmas Concert in the Priory in town. This featured major ensembles Orchestra, Wind Band, Brass Band, String Orchestra and Choir as well as small groups Chamber Choir and Brass Quintet playing on arrival and in the interval. This concert was the second of our major Christmas Concerts and was the culmination of all of our members’ hard work this term. With compéring and a Christmas Quiz from Sean Barlow, the concert ran smoothly, and each ensemble filled the priory with warmth and Christmas spirit, getting the audience singing along with traditional Christmas Carols.

String Orchestra
Wind Band
Brass Band

After Committee secret santa, Thursday saw the Carolling Bar Crawl take place once again. Brass brought along their instruments and played carols as everyone else sang as we visited many of the bars across Campus. There was even an opportunity for others to have a go at the Brass instruments as the night progressed. Congratulations to George Allin who won the best costume for the evening (pictured below).

Committee Secret Santa
Charlie Alexander, Verity Bennett and George Allin dressed up for the Carolling Bar Crawl

The week ended with Flute Choir playing Christmas Carols for Bowland College’s Christmas Lunch and some members of Brass Band played for another Carol Service at Hope Church in town. Finally, Inglourious Brassterds once again performed at the Boot and Shoe on Saturday, bringing the term to a close.

This term was definitely a busy one, but everyone’s worked hard to pull everything off! We wish all our members a relaxing Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. We looked forward to seeing you all well-rested for more hard work next term!