Student life, Student performances, Student societies

My time with Palestrina Singers – Jessica Haig

Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University at Porchester Castle (photo by Charlotte Smallwood)

Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University at Porchester Castle (photo by Charlotte Smallwood)

Having recently graduated from a busy three years studying at the School of Music, life has still been pretty hectic, travelling around the country singing in wonderful venues. But now things have finally begun to calm down for the summer, I have had time to sit and reminisce about all of the fond memories from my time in the department, ones I will cherish for a very long time.

I have been so very lucky to gain some incredible opportunities with the school, like singing with several choirs, both ensemble and solo, gaining first class academic training from some of the best lecturers in the country, and meeting some of my closest friends, who I will have for life. On top of all that, being awarded the David Evans Award for my outstanding general contribution to the musical life of the school was a particular highlight – I am so grateful!

Being a very keen choral singer, my singing experiences are the ones that particularly shine out for me. But one of the fondest, which shines out brightly amongst my experiences, is being a part of The Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University for the two final years of my degree. Directed by Masters student Nathan James Dearden, and managed by fellow student Cathy Mottershead (both in my final year), the fact that Palestrina is a completely student-run ensemble is the reason why I was so utterly impressed with my time as part of the ensemble.

Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University at Romsey Abbey (photo by Charlotte Smallwood)

Palestrina Singers of Cardiff University at Romsey Abbey (photo by Charlotte Smallwood)

As a choir, we partook in many amazing concerts, choral pilgrimages and tours, and all of them were organised, managed and made successful by these students – what a wonderful achievement! Furthermore, I got to sing alongside some very talented singers, conducted by an incredibly skilled musical director – Nathan is such a knowledgeable, artistic musician, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future, it has been a pleasure, thank you!

The most significant event with Palestrina for me was our summer Tour to the South of England, singing in beautiful churches and cathedrals in Guildford, Portsmouth and Romsey. We sang some very tricky repertoire, and our audiences were so appreciative – that’s what makes it so special, singing to such grateful audiences.

I’ve learnt so much from being in the ensemble, both musically and performance-wise, and most of this was from being a part of the busy, hard-working conditions of a tour. We all had the greatest time singing and socialising together (I’ll forget the amount of driving I did around in the minibus… Such fun!), and I think it’s a tour, and choir, we will all remember for a very long time.

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