Music College Students Shine at Major Festive Event

Students at WaterBear, the pioneering college of music with campuses in Sheffield and Brighton, have showcased their immense talent at a major city event they were specifically selected to play at.


Under the guidance of Student Experience Co-ordinator Greg Archer, and the Opportunities team at WaterBear, five talented individuals – James Brown, Katesley Arriola, Lilly Hill, Harry Wright and Leah Mclean – were enlisted by Sheffield City Council to perform at the Christmas Festive Weekend, only three months after the college opened its campus in the city. The event, where some of the students were also paid to perform, was set within the iconic Moor Quarter, surrounded by the festive charm of the Christmas tree and Santa’s Grotto.

 As a highly anticipated occasion in the region, the festive market attracts thousands of visitors annually, with last year’s attendees reaching an incredible 40,000 people. The student’s performances attracted considerable attention, leaving a lasting impression on both locals and visitors alike. 

Greg Archer commented on the opportunity: “It was an honour for WaterBear to take centre stage at the Sheffield Xmas Fest, performing in the city centre with the amazing talents of our students. Being part of this festive celebration not only provided a unique performance opportunity but also served as a spotlight for our exceptionally talented students.” 

Reflecting on her experience, Lilly Hill, a student on the Songwriting Degree Course, expressed how even though the elements were against her it was a positive experience and said, “I think live experiences are so important to musicians, it’s one of the best feelings being able to perform live and having people say that was really good, and to have those experiences is so beneficial.” 

Featuring alongside Kid Blu3, a heartfelt rapper from Sheffield, James Brown, the talented guitarist commented, “I think gaining live experiences is important for combating performance anxiety. Being a session musician and guitarist for Kid Blu3 really helped me to develop my playing skills and playing songs that aren’t really a style I would usually choose for myself!” 

For Singer-songwriter Katesely Arriola, the opportunity to perform at the Christmas Market was a transformative experience, stating: “Moving to Sheffield I haven’t really been out there and done many gigs but being able to do this performance really helped me step out of my comfort zone and I really enjoyed it. 

“I learnt how to transition my songs in a setlist and not have the awkward pause in-between songs as I could engage better with the crowd more. I think it’s very important for musicians to gain live experience because the more experience that you can gain the better you become at problem-solving, you’ll always make mistakes here and there but with every performance that you do you’ll be able to pick yourself up better and get round the issues.” 

WaterBear offers BA (Hons) degree and master’s courses made for today’s musicians, artists and industry professionals. The college has built an unrivalled reputation for its dedication to specialist one-to-one mentoring, focused class sizes, flexible course delivery and exclusive career development opportunities. WaterBear colleges are based in the heart of Brighton and Sheffield and also offer a range of online distance learning courses.


Students keen to find out more about the courses on offer at WaterBear Brighton or WaterBear Sheffield, or to enrol can visit: –


WaterBear Brighton

WaterBear Sheffield

Previous post Kingston University makes major contribution to NHS England report investigating avoidable deaths of people with learning disabilities
Next post Les Roches elevates student hospitality education experience with exclusive mountain resort-inspired campus