The Music Society at the University of York is one of the most popular of its kind. It provides a number of incredibly useful services, and for a membership price of just £6.50 for the academic year, it’s an absolute steal! Here’s what the society does:
Lunchtime Concerts Series:
Every week of term there are two lunchtime concerts, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1.15pm in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall. Tickets are £2 for non-members and FREE for members! As a member you have the opportunity to apply for and put on concerts, and the society welcomes ensembles large and small, repertoire new and old! It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase talents in front of a captive and friendly audience in a professional on-campus concert venue. Concerts last 30-40 minutes, though you can also apply for a 20-minute concert slot to be shared with another group of performers. Another recent initiative is performance showcase concerts, which generally occur once a term and give recitalists the chance to have a ‘dress run’ of pieces they might later be performing for formal assessment.
I personally have been involved in a great number of lunchtime concerts, from the 8-hands piano concerts I was involved in with my music family*, to a concert of Vaughan Williams choral music organised by another music student in my year, from the musical theatre showcase group, Vocal Point, to the gospel choir, Zamar, from the clarinet ensemble, Cladz on Tour, to the contemporary a cappella ensemble that I now direct, Vox.
* as a music fresher, you are assigned ‘parents’ from other year groups when you start in first year, and they act as informal mentors throughout their remaining time at the uni. Last year my parents decided to put on a concert with my sister and I!
The Music Society is responsible for a number of practice rooms in Derwent college, which members can book out using the online system. This is especially useful for non-Music students who are usually unable to access the main block of practice rooms, but still want to brush up on their playing!
As a Music student you are supported with a generous bursary to cover lessons with a fantastic team of visiting vocal and instrumental teachers – but the Music Society can be a great way of developing your own teaching skills. Through the society, members can ask to be put in contact with student instrumental teachers who generally charge a favourable rate of c. £15 per hour. Lessons on offer cover a wide range of instruments from classical to rock and singing for all voices. I have previously taught piano and singing lessons to students from subjects as varied as Economics, English and WDP (Writing, Directing and Performing)!
Every year, the Music Society organises two balls, one in winter and one in summer, giving members and non-members alike the opportunity to let their hair down at the end of term. Previous balls have taken place in the lush settings of the York Museum Gardens and the lavish bar, Pitcher & Piano. The balls usually consist of a three-course meal with wine and champagne and entertainment provided by groups from within the department. What is more, members get to enjoy all this at a discounted price!
So, whether you’re a music student or not, do consider joining the Music Society, and you too could have the chance to take advantage of all these excellent opportunities!