What does a Music Sabbatical Officer do?

This year, I am Durham University’s Music Development Coordinator, which is the one-year Music Sabbatical Officer post. I work under Experience Durham, the group which coordinates Music, Theatre, Sport and Volunteering opportunities, and my role is to support extracurricular music in all its forms.

Chapel Choir Music

When I was a music student here, my particular passion was chapel choir music so I’ve been lucky enough to continue working with these groups this year. So far, I’ve set up the Intercollegiate Chapel Choir Forum, where all the directors of music and their respective chaplains can meet up to discuss any issues they may face or share ideas. This has increased communication between the choirs, which has been great – and now all eight chapel choirs will be joining together to lead a huge evensong in the Cathedral on 1st June, which will feature over 150 singers leading worship, something I’m definitely looking forward to!

Music in Colleges and at University Level

Durham University is a special environment for musicians, as music can be found everywhere – from the Music Department to university-level ensembles and music in colleges, we have around 100 groups to be part of!

music officerRecently, I was asked to be a judge of the annual Hill Music Competition, along with Jessica Lawrence, Head of Music Development. Each hill college presented one solo vocalist, one solo instrumentalist and a group and it was really wonderful to hear so much high-quality music on this evening. Like the tradition of Eurovision, the winner of the competition hosts the next year so look out for this event at Trevelyan College in 2016!

At university level, there really are tons of brilliant concerts to be heard – for instance, a few weeks ago in the Cathedral, the Choral Society joined forces with the Orchestral Society and Chamber Choir to put on Vivaldi’s Gloria and Lazarus Requiem by Durham alumnus Patrick Hawes, who came up to work with the performers and give a pre-concert talk. I’m really lucky to be working with such amazing student performers.

Exciting Events

Doing my role also means I get to be involved with a lot of exciting university events. Since October, I’ve helped to organise music for a surprise musical birthday party for the Chancellor, Sir Thomas Allen, in Castle’s Great Hall, and for The Collegiate Way Conference, the world’s first global conference to discuss the college system, at Ushaw College. Recently, I was involved in the post-application open days – talking to applicants in the music department, presenting in extracurricular music talks in the Assembly Rooms Theatre and organising an open evensong for any prospective students interested in chapel music. The role is very varied and definitely keeps me on my toes!

For more information about music at Durham University, visit: www.musicatdurham.com.

Jasmine graduated in 2014 from Van Mildert College. 


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