14th March 2017
The York College Music department boasts a long list of notable alumni featuring a range of musicians who are following their dreams and working in the music industry. Naming just a few:
Chris Guard (Manor CE Academy), a former A Level Music student went on to train at the Royal Academy of Music and is currently the youngest Musical Director in the West End, working on the critically acclaimed ‘Book of Mormon’. Chris is also working on brand new material for an original musical film with Walt Disney Pictures due to be released later this year. Our current Musical Theatre students recently had the opportunity to meet with Chris and gain invaluable knowledge about the musical theatre industry on a College trip to London.
Chris Hall (Archbishop Holgate’s School) is the lead guitarist in up and coming indie pop band ‘Fickle Friends’ who are currently recording their debut album in Los Angeles with Mike Crossey (who has previously worked with ‘The 1975’ and ‘Wolf Alice’). When Chris was at College he studied A Level Music Technology and completed an EPQ in Music.
Other Vocational Music alumni have demonstrated their passion for rock music and are playing in well-known local bands: Music Technology student Alex Townsley (from Selby High School) plays bass with indie rock band ‘King No-One’, who are about to commence their UK tour (pictured above); Luke Lount and Dan Egdell have remained fellow musicians, performing together in the three piece band ‘Polo’ (pictured below); Eddy Ellison (Easingwold School) is on drums and vocals in British rock ‘n’ roll band ‘Hello Operator’; fellow students Ben Wilkinson (Huntington School) and Lucas Gabb (Fulford School) now play in the metalcore band ‘InVisions’; and several ex-music students make up the metalcore band ‘Asking Alexandria’ who are currently on their European tour.
The College’s Music Technology courses have produced numerous competent sound engineers including Oliver Sekunda who is a sound engineer/producer at ‘Beat Street Studios’ in Leeds; Dave Boothroyd is the resident sound engineer at ‘Reel Recording Studio’; and Ben Hammond works as a freelance sound engineer for musicians such as international rock band ‘Saxon’.
Closer to home, A Level Music Technology and Vocational Music student Curtis Pearson (from Canon Lee Specialist Arts College) is the Events Manager at York Barbican Centre where current Vocational Music student James Brown (from Manor C E Academy) is a member of the stage crew.
And there’s Christopher Mercer, better known as ‘Rusko’, an electronic dubstep DJ/producer and influential figure within the dubstep community. Whilst at York College, he studied the Vocational Music course before progressing to Leeds College of Music where he completed a degree in Music Performance.
Jan Ansell, Head of Division for Music, Media and Performing Arts says: “Our former students have studied either A Level Music, A Level Music Technology or Vocational Music courses. It’s great to read about their successes in the national music press, knowing that they started their careers at York College.”
The College’s Music department is excited to see what’s in store for more recent students such as Ellie Watson (formerly of Selby High School), who hopes to have a film music career and is currently studying Classical Music Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music; and current vocational music student Jo Lancaster (Boroughbridge High School) who plays in the New York Brass Band.