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Kent Music Summer School celebrates 70th year

2 months ago

Suzi Williamson

Head of Communications

With the next summer school about to begin, Suzi Williamson, Head of Communications for Kent Music, provides a snapshot of what this year’s participants will experience over the next three weeks.

This July sees Kent Music celebrating its 70th summer school at Benenden School, near Cranbrook in Kent. When the summer school was started by Kent Rural Music School in 1948, it was aimed at adults only. There are now ten courses across three weeks in July, with over 450 young people aged eight to 19 years attending, plus an additional 200 members of Kent’s county orchestras and choirs enjoying their summer residential courses on the site.

As someone who attended KMSS whilst a teenager as a member of the Kent Youth Choir, it’s a real privilege to now work for Kent Music and see young people still enjoying the summer school experience. There are so many positive comments every year – here’s one from a recent student that captures the essence of what it’s all about:

“Benenden is about spending a week in a beautiful and peaceful place; it's about rehearsing in the hall with the sun streaming through the huge side windows; it's about making some of the best friends you've ever made; it's about being nervous before performing at Music at Night; it's about meeting new and exciting people; and all of this happens with the tunes of our greatest composers ringing in your ears. Most of all, Benenden courses have been, for me, a goldmine for some of my happiest moments, days and weeks, which have become more treasured in my memory than anything I could ever own.”

This year we’ll have over 200 hours of rehearsals contributing to 12 concerts over the three weeks, with pupils working with some exceptional tutors and conductors. The summer school runs from 13 to 31 July, with the ever-popular symphony orchestra, jazz, singing, string and wind band courses being joined by recent additions in songwriting, musical theatre and rock band. Places on the summer school are subsidised and continue to be supported by funds from Kent County Council, as well as bursaries being available.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary, Kent Music and Benenden School will host an Afternoon Tea Party celebration on Saturday 22 July, with music from the 150 plus students on site that day. We also have a Benenden Experience Day where 100 pupils from local schools come and visit to make music together and perform for family in the evening.

For more details, visit www.kent-music.com/summer-school

 

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