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Society Spotlight: Choir and Orchestra

Written by GRAHAM HEAVEN

It’s the start of semester 2 and maybe you’re starting to think “I wish I’d joined a society…” or perhaps you’re starting to miss your choir or orchestra you used to go to when you were at school. Now is the perfect time to join The Universities of Manchester Choir And Orchestra Society, CAOS (yes, pronounced like chaos!).

Starting university in my first year I knew that I would love to be able to play my viola in an orchestra but, without being grade 8 and experienced in auditions, I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to find a society suited to me. That was before I stumbled across CAOS at the students fair. Anyone is welcome to join CAOS; we don’t hold auditions and our members include students from MMU as well as the University of Manchester and also non-students. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this means we can’t put on a great show. With our dedicated members, diligent committee and outstanding conductors we always manage to give a fantastic performance. Just before the Christmas holiday we packed out Manchester Cathedral and wowed our audience with our repertoire including Bernsteins’ Chichester Psalms and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas carols finishing with the orchestra playing Holst’s magical Planets suite.

This semester in the choir we’re going to be performing Carl Orffs’ incredible Carmina Burana and our orchestra’s repertoire is going to include the Fellowship of the Ring suite. If you think you’d like to spend an evening a week rehearsing these then CAOS is the society for you. We rehearse every Tuesday in the Burlington Rooms (just to the right of the university library entrance) with choir 6-8pm and orchestra 8.15-10.15pm. So if you’re really hardcore you can join both and come for the full 4 hour rehearsal (my challenge to myself this semester!).

But rehearsals and concerts is only one face of CAOS. If you become a member, expect to receive weekly emails about upcoming society meals, pub crawls, quizzes, and (most exciting of all) the yearly residential. This tradition started last year with our weekend trip to Anglesey which is now officially my favourite university experience to date. A Top Gear style race to Wales, playing ‘werewolf’ in a massive field, a goat named Arthur, getting lost in Holyhead whilst flyering, singing around a beach fire in the dead of night, and, of course, our end of weekend concert are just some of the memories of the trip I will never forget.

This March we’re going to be going to Much Wenlock, Shropshire with our concert at the end of the weekend in Shrewsbury. We’re planning on playing and singing pieces from our Easter concert, allowing less time for rehearsals and more time for relaxing and having fun. In all honesty I cannot recommend this trip enough.

So if think you might want to join a choir or orchestra (or both!) this semester why not come along to one of our Tuesday rehearsals (Burlington rooms, choir 6-8pm, orchestra 8.15-10.15pm) and experience the chaos that is CAOS! Remember all are welcome to join CAOS and we are a non-audition society. Don’t worry if you’ve missed a few weeks, you’ll catch up in no time. For any extra information you can access the CAOS website at www.caos.man.ac.uk, join the CAOS group on Facebook (and ‘attend’ our residential), or email our friendly committee on [email protected].

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