The one-year anniversary of the announcement of the closure of the School of Music was marked today by members of the Save UEA Music campaign with an event in the Square.

The event marked exactly a year since the university’s management committee announced the school was to be closed and looked to raise awareness of the ongoing campaign.

A number of student musicians featured in the event and speeches were given by senior lecturer Jonathan Impett from the School of Music and Bill Vine, the organiser of the Save UEA Music campaign.

In his address to those present, Dr. Impett praised the school’s continued influence across the country and stated that other music departments are still learning from their example.

He said: “As I’ve become increasingly involved with other schools throughout the country in the course of the year, I’ve seen them grappling with serious educational, cultural and financial issues.

“Guess where they look to see where it might be done. They look to UEA’s School of Music.”

Dr. Impett, went on to emphasise that those students still studying at the school will receive the best possible education, despite recent upheaval.

He added: “The students still at the school are getting the best possible musical education. The teaching in place for the next two years is second to none.

“They are absolutely at the cutting edge, they’re committed, and there is now an intensity of relationship between staff and students that other university departments can only dream of.

“The remaining students are profiting from this situation, and are not losing out. The music community at UEA is absolutely something to be proud of.”

The Save UEA Music campaign gathered over 10,000 signatures in its petition protesting the closure, with support coming from around the country and around the world.

Bill Vine, the campaign’s organiser, then spoke passionately about the continued fight against the school’s closure and his hope that it has a wide impact across the university.

“This last year has been very turbulent,” he said.

“There have been some ups, and there have obviously been some downs, but the spirit of the School of Music keeps us fighting.

“We are letting the university know that this is not OK, and that things can change. Only by doing this can we ensure that the closure of the School of Music is not shared by other schools in the future.

“We have not given up hope for the School of Music. It can and should still be saved.”

Speaking after the event, the Union’s Academic Officer Josh Bowker, himself a prominent member of the campaign, outlined the next steps.

He said: “We’re focused on ensuring that current students get the best education they can have in the circumstances. Jonathan [Impett] spoke very highly of the replacement staff that have been hired, and they are the best that we could have.”

Photo: recent School of Music graduate Dan Mills playing at the event. Taken by Chris Teale.