Gig featuring students past and present will be a fitting finale for St Vincent music teacher

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Students past and present will come together to give St Vincent music teacher Chris Harris a send-off he won’t forget at an emotional farewell concert before he leaves for a new job in Gibraltar.

The End Of An Era Showcase at Quay West Studios in Gosport on Saturday, June 15 will bring down the curtain on ten years at the college for Chris. The gig is being organised by Year 1 music students at the college and will feature performers from all ten years of his tenure, many of whom have carved out careers in the music industry after studying at St Vincent.

The Sunderland-born former heavy metal drummer, who still plays and records his own music, will take up a new music teaching job at a private school on the Mediterranean island in September.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said it will be an emotional occasion. “It’ll be a real mix of emotions for me because I’m obviously sad about leaving the college after such a long time there but the students are working really hard to put the show together and give me a good little send-off.

Departing St Vincent College music teacher Chris Harris with the mayor’s award he won in 2022Departing St Vincent College music teacher Chris Harris with the mayor’s award he won in 2022
Departing St Vincent College music teacher Chris Harris with the mayor’s award he won in 2022

“They have been booking bands, running the promotion and getting everything in order so I am really touched and thankful to them. They are also doing it as a project for next year’s course, which will give them a head start.”

He said he is looking forward to seeing so many of his former students play and to be able to catch up with them. “It’ll be great to see people play who I haven't seen strum a chord in years,” he said. “Many of them are now professional musicians who make their living going out and performing.

“Among those playing will be Tom Davies and The Bluebirds, who tour extensively and Jimmy B and the Death Rattles, whose guitarist is our former student Aneurin Graystock, they are signed to a label. We’ve also got a group of people who we call the Covid collective – all students who I taught online during lockdown.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I've asked the students to organise the event like Jools Holland’s Later TV show, so we’ll have lots of artists giving their best one or two tunes, so it's a nice mix and we’ll have constant music.”

Chris himself will be performing with former members of St Vincent staff and also singer songwriter Erin Newman, a former student who studied at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.

During his time at the college Chris has used his contacts to secure slots for students at local gigs and festivals, including Victorious in Portsmouth and on the same stage at Wickham Festival as iconic bands such as Levellers, The Waterboys and 10cc. Chris said: “We've played many times at Wickham and always have a blast. But to play on both main stages across the full weekend was something really special and a highlight of my teaching career.”

Two years ago he was honoured by Gosport Mayor Jamie Hutchison with a Gosport 100 Award for his contribution to music in the area. “It was a boost for me but the students were really quite happy about it too,” he said. “It’s been lovely to be able to tell prospective parents and students at open evenings that we’ve been recognised for what we do by the mayor.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said the gig will be a fitting way to end his time at the college. “It’s going to be great to see so many people I’ve taught and seen develop, many of them have moved to different areas, so it's just brilliant to hear about all the success that they're having,” he said.

“The fact that they're taking the time to get together, re-learn some old songs and go out of their way to play is really nice. Just the fact that they'd want to come to the show is amazing. I’m looking forward to getting a picture of everyone together at the end. That will be something nice to keep and look back on.”

The End Of An Era showcase runs from 4pm to 10.30pm at the studios in the former Saint John’s Church. Tickets are £5 in advance and £8 on the door. They can be purchased via Eventbrite here.

Find out more about music courses at St Vincent College here.