A big choral concert

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

Queenstown has hardly seen a choral concert like it.

School choirs from four of the Wakatipu’s primary schools — Queenstown Primary, Shotover Primary, St Joseph’s and Arrowtown — combine vocal cords this Thursday to present ‘Wakatipu Sings! 2020’.

Altogether there’ll be about 120 choristers aged eight to 12.

They’ll perform at both 2pm and 7pm at Shotover Primary’s school hall — entry to the concert’s by gold coin donation.

The combined choir will present about a dozen songs including two teo reo songs, national songs, Glyn Lehmann’s I Am The Earth, songs from musicals like Mary Poppins, an Elton John medley and a Queen song.

Additionally, each school will sing its own song.

The choristers will wear ‘Wakatipu Sings! 2020’ T-shirts adorned in their school colours.

Arrowtowner Kathleen Brentwood will accompany the teo reo songs on guitar, while backing tracks will accompany the remainder.

Queenstown Primary music teacher Belinda Fraser says the concert was scheduled in June, but postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

‘‘It’ll be fabulous for the kids’ wellbeing, they love their singing,’’ she says.

Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult’s provided $500 for the concerts from his mayoral fund, while Shipleys Audiovisual’s providing lighting and sound ‘‘on  a really good deal’’.

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Look who came to sing

Queenstown Primary choristers practising for this week’s choral concert were privileged to be entertained by Kiwi operatic star Simon O’Neill recently.

The Ashburton-born tenor, who wowed a full house at the Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall on November 12, earlier that day sang an aria for the kids, who responded with the national anthem in both languages.

The students also sang the school number they’re preparing for next week, ‘‘and asked him a zillion questions’’, teacher Belinda Fraser says.

O’Neill demonstrated some vocal warm-up exercises, then finished by joining with the child choristers in Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

— PHILIP CHANDLER