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Making music at Reading: join now!

Music at Reading

In September, Music at Reading became a permanent part of Music Education within the Institute of Education, and has already introduced exciting new opportunities for the University community to take part in music activities on campus. 

As part of the new arrangements, the team have introduced termly festival weekends, where students, University staff and members of the local community gather for a fun weekend of music making, culminating in a themed festival concert. The first of these, the Together Festival (see below), will take place on 28-29 October. 

Participants are invited to join Festival Voices or the Festival Sinfonia at these events. The move to festival weekends will give a greater number of University of Reading staff and students opportunities to be part of the two ensembles. Occasional weekend rehearsals are more accessible for staff and students than the previous weekly rehearsal model. Project led orchestras and choirs are proving to be successful for other music and arts groups across the UK. 

The University’s two auditioned groups - Big Band and Chamber Choir - will retain their weekly rehearsals, with Chamber Choir rehearsals increasing to two hours per week so that more challenging pieces can be performed. Auditions for the Big Band and Chamber Choir will be held every October for members to join in the Autumn term, and in December for members to join in the Spring term.  

These changes have come about thanks to renewed and increased investment being made available by Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell, who has committed funding from a long-term University endowment fund.

To bring music in-line with other extra-curricular activities at the University, all ensemble members will be required to pay a small subscription fee, which will contribute towards tuition costs and licences for new music, as well as creating new performance opportunities for the groups. 

For students the annual subscription fee for members of Chamber Choir and Big Band is £40; for staff and alumni it is £90; and for community members £50 per term and £135 per annum.

Weekend Festivals are priced to be accessible to participants, and to cover costs. Fees for participating in the Together Festival on 28-29 October are:

  • £22 for current University of Reading students and sixth form/college students
  • £30 for students from other universities
  • £47 for University of Reading staff, alumni and 2016-17 chorus members 
  • £65 for community members

The festival ends with a concert on Sunday 29 October, 6.00 pm in the Great Hall, London Road. Tickets are £10, £6 for concessions.

Upcoming events

  • Universal Voices ‘Bring a Buddy’ session – Thursday 19 October, 4.45 – 6.00 pm. L29 GO1: Our free choir for children aged 7-12 invites members to bring along a friend to our regular rehearsal slot. The session is also open for parents and interested teachers to see our work in action. Please email to confirm attendance. 
  • Together Festival, Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 October, London Road Campus: The very first Festival Weekend, the Together Festival invites choral singers and orchestral players to rehearse and perform extracts from Handel’s Messiah, John Williams’ Star Wars (professional film score edition) and more. See the Together Festival page for full details. 
  • Big Band Swing Ball, Saturday 25 November, 7.00 pm, Great Hall, London Road: Swing into the festive season with two live Big Bands, taster swing dance lessons, cabaret, and cocktail bar. We are proud to be working in collaboration with Reading Boys School, Reading University Swing Dance Society, All Jazzed Up, and Reading Swing Jam to present the Big Band Swing Ball.

For more information on Music at Reading, please visit

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