Member focus: Mark Anstead

Life After University

Since graduating with a 2:1 degree from the University of Chichester last year, it has been exciting and fun to be continuing with existing projects and starting new ones. During my time at university, I specialised in violin performance and conducting and I had a number of orchestral opportunities as well as chamber music and musical theatre production roles. Commencing with the university’s dedicated chamber music module, I continue to be part of the thriving Intermezzo Quartet, who were also the quartet in residence at the university, performing at weddings and various corporate events.

Since it began in January 2013, I have in one way or another been working with the Rising Voices Wessex Choir based in Bournemouth and Poole. Initially as a volunteer, accompanying, covering for the conductor and undertaking some administrative tasks, I have for the past year worked with the choir in the capacity of 'Associate Musician'. It is a fairly loose title which allows me to do anything from accompanying the choir, covering for the choir director and setting up and operating professional sound equipment for performances and events.

In April of this year, I had the opportunity to become choir director for the St. Wilfrid's Hospice Choir based at the hospice in Chichester, which will be re-locating to Bosham from September. This is a really exciting opportunity which I have been able to take on following on from my work with the Rising Voices Wessex Choir, which I still continue. Both the choirs that I have been associated with help support people’s lives that have been affected by cancer, and aim to encourage people to try something new and try something that they may not have had the opportunity to do before, in a safe and secure environment. It is amazing to see all the friendships that have developed between members and how singing for fun has brought them all together.

Additionally, from my work with The Intermezzo Quartet and choirs, I have recently increased the amount of work I undertake as a violin performer. I am a regular performer in a number of care homes across the south coast, both as a soloist and as part of a violin duo. I also perform at weddings and other events. On top of this, I teach violin and piano and I am looking forward to taking on some work with the London Borough of Hillingdon music service from September 2019. I enjoy helping students get the same pleasure from music that I have and it is great to see them progress through lessons. I also find it very rewarding, accompanying children and adults of all ages for exams.