Hi, my name is Eleanor and I joined the external communications team at Chetham’s in January 2022 as Alumni Relations Assistant!
My time at Chetham’s…
I studied at Chet’s from 2012 to 2017 as both a violin and a viola player. I saw a lot of things change in my time at the school: I joined as the New School Building was used for the first time, I saw the Palatine building come down and the new Victoria House built in the Nicholls Building, and I was here when The Stoller Hall first opened its doors.
Looking back on it now, I realise just how lucky I was to study within such amazing buildings with fantastic facilities and incredible teaching staff. Overwhelmingly though, I look back on my time at Chet’s and think about the amazing memories I made here and how much I enjoyed my 5 years as a Chet’s student: the first time I ever truly enjoyed orchestral playing when we did Mahler 3 in 2015; the amazing trip to Oslo I was part of when we visited Barratt Due in 2017; and all of the wonderful friends I made in school and who I watch doing amazing things now.
To me, Chetham’s really is a special place to be and I am so happy to be back here, giving back to a place which gave so much to me.
Since leaving Chetham’s…
I left Chetham’s in 2017 and went on to study a music degree at the University of Manchester. When I started my course, I wasn’t quite sure what I was destined for – when it had come to applying for universities, I only chose to study music because I didn’t think I was very good at anything else! I just knew I didn’t want to be a performer, so studying at Manchester suited me perfectly, as it allowed me to continue to live amongst musicians and within a strong performance culture without spending my life in a practice room. Quite quickly though, I found a passion for arts administration through my time spent as a Concert Manager in the Manchester University Music Society. Becoming Head Concert Manager of the society in my final year, I found myself enjoying this aspect of music more than anything before and set my sights on what I was going to do next.
Determined that orchestral management was what I wanted to do with my future, I applied to study a master’s in Arts Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Of course, doing this course amid Covid-19 lockdowns was never going to be easy, but I spent the year remotely studying very practically-focused modules with fascinating guest lecturers, and was lucky enough to complete my professional placement in person with the orchestra of Welsh National Opera.
As I started applying for jobs, I became painfully aware of how competitive the job market had become, especially in the arts industry. Then one day, I came across a job advert from the development department at Chetham’s; I had studied fundraising as part of my master’s and had enjoyed the module and I loved the idea of returning to my old school, so I applied. A few months later and here I am, back in school again and almost feeling like I never left!
My work at Chetham’s…
As I write this in February 2022, I am still in the early stages of planning our alumni engagement strategy. With alumni engagement being a fairly new area of focus for Chetham’s, there’s a lot of planning to do and a lot of things to consider, but I am really looking forward to getting everything up and running soon. I work between the development team and the marketing team, so my role can be quite varied which makes it all the more exciting.
I am also working part-time as a member of the House Assistant team, working across both Victoria House and Millgate House (formerly Boys’ House). While it’s taken a little while to get used to being on the other side of things, I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of school life again and am very much looking forward to reconnecting with our alumni!
If you are a former student of Chetham’s and would like to get in touch with me, whether that’s to share your story, suggest ideas for what you would like to see in your alumni newsletter, or anything else, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I look forward to hearing from you!