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Choral Showcase

October 23, 2020 at 9:41 AM

In a year when it’s been hard to hold a steady course for co-curricular activities at the College, our musicians, whether instrumental or choral, did not let the shortcomings of Covid-19 impact on their enthusiasm to perform. Whether this was to a camera for recording purposes or the scant few opportunities to perform for a live audience, they made the most of every opportunity to make music. Whilst our large instrumental ensembles and choirs missed out on the opportunity to perform at concerts and competitions this year, the Premier Ensembles and the Premier Choir, Kentoris, each had the opportunity to be filmed.

Last night it was Kentoris’s turn. For the fortunate few in the Music Centre auditorium, they may have waited all year to hear them sing but it was worth the wait! Family and friends will have to wait just a little longer but we will link to the final videos via the Saint Kentigern Facebook channel once they are available.

Our Choral student leaders, Catherine Chang and Elsdon Yong reflected back on their year of song: 

KENTORIS – Wrapping the year in Smooth Harmony
Throughout the many ups and downs of this year, Kentoris has managed to come together and create music both in person and, of course, virtually. This year, we welcomed back Dr Jared Corbett as our choir director, Mr Juan Kim as our collaborative pianist, and also our new vocal coach, Mrs Kate Webber. Mrs Webber is highly experienced in her field, having been the vocal coach for the prestigious New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Choir back when our very own Choir Director was a member! She has had extensive experience in both performing with international opera companies such as Opera Queensland, English National Opera, NBR New Zealand Opera and as a qualified primary school Music Specialist. 

At the start of the year in February, we travelled to the School of Music at the University of Auckland, where we performed in our Choir Director’s Graduate Diploma Exam in Conducting. Over half the choir consisted of new members this year, which made the rehearsal process leading up to the performance very intensive. However, our keen choristers quickly adapted and formed a new ensemble sound, and with the help of a few Kentoris alumni, and members of the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, we managed to pull off a stunning recital. The recital included Vaughan Williams’s ‘Five Mystical Songs’, from our supposed New York and Canada tour in April. Our own collaborative pianist, Mr Kim was the baritone solo in this piece, and Year 13 student, Catherine Chang, was the piano accompanist for this monumental work. We are especially grateful to have been able to perform this piece in public, as the imminent lockdown prevented our New York/Canada tour from happening. 

Another major highlight this year was our ‘Virtual Choir Project’ with the Boston City Singers, and Cantare from Westlake Girls’ High School. We recorded our individual voice parts in the comfort of our homes, and this was mixed together with the other two choirs to form a magical rendition of ‘Hine e Hine’, arranged by esteemed NZ composer David Hamilton. 

Although the Big Sing was cancelled, this didn’t impede our choir’s passion and excitement to create music together. We still had a very important recital coming up in October - an exam for our choir director’s Postgraduate Diploma in Conducting. This was a 50 minute recital, including the pieces we were planning to perform at the Big Sing, and additional pieces that featured Year 13 students Eric Zeng on the clarinet, Elsdon Yong on percussion, Ben Shieff on congas and Catherine Chang on the flute and finger cymbals. We especially enjoyed learning and rehearsing a piece written in Arabic poetic form - ‘Lammaa Badaa Yatathannaa’, arranged by Shireen Abu-Khader. Due to its different time signature, smooth flowing lines and interesting story it tells, it quickly became one of the favourites for the choir. Another piece that the choir enjoyed rehearsing was ‘I Got Rhythm’ by George and Ira Gershwin, with its light-hearted nature and jazzy feel. It was sure to put a smile on everyone's face and even got a few of us dancing along to it with its ‘spicy’ chords and funky rhythms. 

We are so grateful to our director Dr Jared Corbett for his leadership and perseverance through what has undoubtedly been a tough year for everyone. To Mr Juan Kim - thank you for your ever present knowledge and guidance, and to Mrs Kate Webber for her help in developing our voices as well as our skills as an ensemble. This year, although not the year we were hoping for, has still managed to be a fulfilling and enjoyable year that will no doubt be one that we remember for times to come. 

CHORAL SHOWCASE PROGRAMME

Bright Morning Star
Trad. Kentucky Appalachian Tune
Arr. Fred Squatrio 

J’entends le Moulin 
Trad. Quebecois
Arr. Donald Patriquin

The Sea Child
David Hamilton 

Lammaa Badaa Yatathannaa
Trad. Muwashshah
Arr. Shireen Abu-Khader 

Niska Banja
Trad. Serbian 
Arr. Nick Page

There Was A Monkey - Songs from “Friday Afternoons” Op.7
Benjamin Britten

Old Abram Brown - Songs from “Friday Afternoons” Op.7
Benjamin Britten

Hine e Hine 
Fannie Rose Howie
Arr. David Hamilton 

Ka Waiata ki a Maria
Richard Puanaki 

Ave Maria
Jaako Mantyjarvi

Weep No More
David N. Childs

He Himene - From Tihei Mauri Ora!
Christopher Marshall 

Neither the Moon by Night 
Thomas Lavoy

I Got Rhythm
George and Ira Gershwin
Arr. Mark Hayes

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