So What The Heck Is EUMS All About?

So: you have chosen Edinburgh. You have checked out the EUSA website. You have found your way here. But why? What on earth is the Edinburgh University Music Society?

Hopefully this page can help to explain who we are and why you should get involved with us.

The Society

We have been making music since 1867, and as the first (and best) student music society in Scotland we have had a proud position within the musical heritage of Edinburgh, Scotland and indeed the world. We are also the largest society in the University of Edinburgh, and as a result we are able to put on bigger and better events for our members and the community.

Performing Verdi's Requiem in the McEwan Hall.

Performing Verdi’s Requiem in the McEwan Hall.

Our mission is to bring music to the wider community, and we achieve this through regular concerts, working with charities, organising education projects and liaising with other musical organisations, ensuring we do our best to make classical music easily accessible to all.

The society itself is made up of around 320 members in three classical ensembles: Chorus, Sinfonia and Symphony Orchestra.

Making Music

First and foremost you become a member of EUMS to make music. Our standard of performance is as close to professional as you can get, and if you don’t believe us then listen to our recent recordings of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony or Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle on Last.fm. We have recorded with the BBC, and way back in the 1960s premièred Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in Scotland. Our recent performances of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 have garnered widespread acclaim.

These performances occur as a result of the passion for music of our members, most drawn from our influx of freshers year on year. We have three outstanding conductors who have consistently proven themselves capable of bringing the best out of our members, and thanks to them each concert takes the society to new places and brings new delights.

Russell Cowieson guides EUMS Symphony Orchestra.

Russell Cowieson guides EUMS Symphony Orchestra.

You don’t need to be the next Benedetti to play with us either: our Chorus is non-auditioned meaning anyone of any ability can join, and Sinfonia do not audition for their string players.

We perform six concerts in three concert series: our Winter concerts showcase each ensemble; our Spring concerts join one of our orchestras and Chorus for what is always a breathtakingly epic performance alongside another concert from the remaining orchestra; our Summer concert, with all three ensembles performing together under the one roof. Other concerts also take place during the course of the year, including on tour and as part of our community work.

Working Hard, Playing Harder

As you will find out, our passion for music making is at least matched by our love of having a good time: from ceilidhs to karaoke and from defeating our rival societies at hockey to our regular evening pub meetings, we do like to let our hair down, and our members will always be delighted by a new face in the mix. We have all been new to the society at some point!

Always a smiling face when a camera appears...

Always a smiling face when a camera appears…

Major features of the EUMS social calendar include sectional meals, tutti weekend, carolling, intramural hockey (we can definitely beat our season’s best of second place this year!), pre-tour (voice destroying) karaoke, mass exodus-like goings to RSNO or SCO concerts and the highlight of the year: The Musoc Ball (a posh meal, giant ceilidh and society-wide party).

Our Community

As part of our enthusiasm for making music, we spend the whole year getting stuck in with events across the community outside the University of Edinburgh. Every year we have expanded our education projects with local schools, and last year we entertained over 400 pupils in our main Spring event, teaching them about classical music whilst keeping them grinning.

We also have a long record of helping local charities, and as part of this continuing tradition we will be working with Bethany Trust once more as part of The Big Sing 2012. Last year the event was well attended and raised over £1300 for the charity’s Stop Homelessness campaign.

The Big Sing cheque handover...

The Big Sing cheque handover…

Tour

For most of our members, past and present, the highlight of their years in the society is tour. Every year we grab our instruments, vocal chords and a couple of pairs of knickers (optional) and head off towards the horizon. Recent tours have explored locations as exotic as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and North Wales! This year we are looking set to travel to the continent once more, though where remains a secret… for now!

Tour is the time to really get to know other members, whilst getting the chance to perform in some spectacular venues. Amiens Cathedral has to be a highlight of recent years, with our performance reducing audience members to tears (as we tried not to well up ourselves). Everyone gets to know everyone, and the memories will remain with you as highlights of your university career.

A final gathering outside Amiens Cathedral.

A final gathering outside Amiens Cathedral.