Showing posts with label Proms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Proms. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013


The Last Night of the Proms concert with the Southern Sinfonia is coming up again soon.

Like before, the Choir will be required to sing from memory during the second half of the concert, so here is advance notice of the second half programme, except of course that the national anthems are sung right at the start (also from memory):

God Save the Queen
God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God Save the Queen!

God Defend New Zealand
God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

(Yes, we need to memorise the words for all three verses.)

Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance

Land of Hope and Glory
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider, shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!

Rule Britannia
Here the choir sings only the chorus:
Rule Brittania! Brittania rule the waves
Britons never shall be slaves
(Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone)

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For days of auld lang syne!

And there's a hand my trusty friend,
And give a hand of thine,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For days of auld lang syne!

Repeat chorus

Haere ra / Po Atarau

Haere ra
te manu tangi pai
E haere ana
koe ki pamamao

Haere ra
ka hoki mai ano
Ki i te tau e tangi atu nei

Now is the hour
when we must say goodbye
Soon you'll be sailing
far across the sea

While you're away
oh, please remember me
When you return you'll find me waiting here

Friday, September 23, 2011

Concert in tune with RWC festivities

Last Night of the Proms, Dunedin Town Hall, Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dunedin Town Hall was a sellout last evening for a special Proms concert by Southern Sinfonia, St Kilda Brass and City of Dunedin Choir.

In addition to traditional Proms repertoire from Mother England, music performed represented the six countries playing Rugby World Cup matches in Dunedin.

There was a tumultuous reception for two visiting sons of Dunedin - conductor Tecwyn Evans (United Kingdom based) and bass/baritone Jud Arthur (Australia).

Promenaders packed the lower floor in a riot of colour.

Balloons, flags and streamers were everywhere in the red, white and blue carnival atmosphere.

Kapa haka group He Waka Kotuia kicked off with Mihi whakatau followed by national anthems and the orchestral fanfare Peace by New Zealand composer Dorothy Buchanan.

Arthur's rich operatic voice delivered Italian arias - Non pi andrai (Mozart) and La calunnia (Rossini).

A thrilling rendition of Verdi's popular Anvil Chorus came from the choir, St Kilda Brass and Sinfonia, with celebrity guest percussionist Vicki Treadell (British High Commissioner) in Union Jack and smithy's apron playing the anvil.

Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, with volleys of cannon-fire and haze of smoke, was a highlight from the Russian front.

Georgian March from Caucasian Sketches by Ippolitov-Ivanov added Georgian flavour and Rumanian Dances, by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, was very well performed by the Southern Sinfonia.

A toe-tapping Irish Washerwoman set Irish blood a-pulsing, and Argentina was recognised with Variazione by Ginastera. The World in Union, official song of the RWC is drawn from Holst's The Planets.

Strong unison string themes were spine-tingling, and appropriate for inclusion in the well-selected programme. Arthur dressed in an All Black shirt and Union Jack led the audience in spirited singing of Rule Britannia, Jerusalem and the final Now is the Hour. Kate Mead (Wellington) compered with witty repartee, and a replica bottle of Shackleton's whisky, donated by the British Embassy, was auctioned by Dougal Stevenson, and fetched $1050.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times, Friday, 23 September 2011.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Final rehearsal for Proms

This is going to be the greatest Last Night of the Proms concert ever! We heard the tickets are sold out! Here is a wee snapshot of a section of the choir during tonight's rehearsal, via Deborah's cellphone.

Well, bring your party hats and flags, we are going to have ourselves a ball tomorrow night - see you in the Town Hall at 7:30 pm!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Most enjoyable Proms

Thank you Southern Sinfonia, that was a lovely Last Night of the Proms concert - we enjoyed being on stage with you all! So for the folks who missed tonight's awesome performance, there's another chance tomorrow if you want to take a drive over to the Oamaru Opera House.

Anna Leese was just beautiful and sang like the Nightingale in Berkeley Square:

"A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square" sung by Sonia Sjöbeck in 1943.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Singing at the Proms

As usual City of Dunedin Choir will try to lift the roof at the Last Night of the Proms! See you there!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Here's another taste of what's waiting to delight the audience at the forthcoming Proms concert - 'The entry of the guests' from Wagner's Tannhäuser.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Proms preview

In June 2006 City of Dunedin Choir performed the beautiful "Vesperae Solennes de Confessore" by Mozart. At this year's Last Night of the Proms concerts presented by Southern Sinfonia on 25 and 26 February, we'll be singing the 'Laudate Dominum' from this work again.

We are looking forward to performing this movement with soprano Anna Leese!

Enjoy the "preview"...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I could have danced all night

Last Night of the Proms dress rehearsal tonight was good fun! However, a little surprise was that we should sing along with Deborah Wai Kapohe in the chorus of "I could have danced all night" from "My Fair Lady". So here are the lyrics for those of us who don't know them already:

I could have danced all night,
I could have danced all night.
And still have begged for more.
I could have spread my wings,
And done a thousand things I've never done before.
I'll never know What made it so exciting.
Why all at once my heart took flight. I only know when he
Began to dance with me I could have danced, danced,
danced All night!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Doll Song

What a delightful production is this 1951 version of Jacques Offenbach's opera Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger - it is as much about dancing as it is about music.

Dorothy Bond sings Les Oiseaux Dans La Charmille (in English) while the gorgeous Moira Shearer dances.

City of Dunedin Choir will provide the choral support in the Southern Sinfonia's production of this song at the 2010 AMI Last Night of the Proms on 19 February in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What are you listening to?

At present I am fixated on Parry's Symphonies No3 and No4. As I sit in the university library I turn up the volume on my headphones, and use my laptop as a CD player. I am trying to keep the chattering hordes from out of my hearing range after all, I must not get distracted!. So amongst the books, papers, pens, pencils and laptop I also lug around 2 or 3 CDs to give me variety.

A moment(?) of procrastination led me to google Parry. He was the man who composed the music to Blake's poem Jerusalem, and which Elgar (who studied under Parry) orchestrated to give it the jingoistic flavour which we oh so loudly sing at the Last Night of the Proms every year. Apparently he composed it in 1916, specifically for a meeting of the “Fight for the Right” women’s suffrage movement being held at Queen’s Hall in London that year. Read more here.

Procrastinating further, I discovered a great obituary published in The Musical Times from 1918. Here is a lovely quote:

Imagine Parry, ‘the greatest British composer since Purcell,’ wasting his precious time, that belonged to the world, over the revision of 3,000 examination papers – an appalling thought! He was born both a gentleman and a musician, and had he been left to himself and his creative instincts he might have done infinitely greater things in his art. But, being placed at the head of the musical profession, Principal of the Royal College of Music, chairman of anything and everything connected with music and musicians (including charities and examinations as aforesaid), his art was clearly stifled in no small measure by the absurd demands of his administrative position...
A composer who counts is rare enough anywhere, any time. Do not try to use him as a mixture of university don, cabinet minister, city magnate, useful hack, or a dozen things besides.
Read full obit here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My First Last Night Of The Proms!

I promised I'd do a quick write-up of the Proms, so here I am!

I'll apologise in advance if I offend any Brits (well, actually if I offend anyone, for that matter!), but I'm an Aussie, and anti-Royalist, and I couldn't help finding it all rather amusing, seeing a pack of Antipodean Kiwis waving Union Jacks and wearing silly hats, singing anachronistic songs about a long-dead Empire and a Monarch who has only visited this country a handful of times.

Can Lizzie The Second place New Zealand on a world map? Does she know what a sheep looks like? Would she ride a Segway up Baldwin Street? Whadayareckon? Your guess is as good as mine.

However, getting back to the Proms. We were awesome!

Yes, we were. We really were. Admit it, people! We ROCKED.

It's time to give ourselves a pat on the back, and say, without reservation, that old Queenie-poohs should have taken it upon Her Royal We-ness to come to Dunedin and attend the Proms, because I think she would have had a ripper of a time. And no Cliff Richard, which has to be a bonus.

As you probably know (but I'm going to tell you anyway), we started the night with God Save The Queen and God Defend New Zealand. We were LOUD. We were SEXY. We were WONDERFUL. God had His ears on, and was almost certainly duly impressed.

Then into a whole stack of great stuff by the Sinfonia (but not quite as good as the openers, because WE weren't singing!). I rather enjoyed my top, back-row view of the audience, because from where I was you could see everything.

I could see audience members dressed as Beefeaters and Guardsmen and Morris dancers, and even an old lady - who went on to win the prize as Best Promenader - dressed as Queen Victoria herself! And she was highly amused.

It was a colourful sight, looked like loads of fun, and almost made me wish I were down in the peanut gallery instead of up on stage!


The highlight of the evening was of course our own performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Toward The Unknown Region, the text of which is of course taken from Whitman's great work Leaves Of Grass (Book 30), and speaks of the crossing over from life into death.

Toward The Unknown Region is a stunning work, and in it you can hear many similarities with Vaughan Williams' much larger masterpiece, A Sea Symphony, which also uses text from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

Enough of the scholarly rubbish, as it's pretty boring to everyone but me, I'm guessing.

The Proms was certainly a huge success. A notable mention was Alex Campbell-Hunt's new work Sakura Trees, which was very beautiful. I enjoyed it immensely, it was very well received, and I know that many of us on stage and in the audience are looking forward to hearing Alex's next offerings.

The soloists were great. I particularly enjoyed Tom McGrath's performance of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto 2 (movements 2 & 3) - but then, I admit that piano has always made me swoon.

Throughout the Proms, Helen Medlyn did an excellent job of her performances, and showed us what really first-class talent New Zealand can produce. She was great - as were her outfits!

Doing it all again - in Oamaru!

Come Saturday afternoon I found myself boarding a bus for Oamaru, ready to do it all over again at the Oamaru Opera House.

Just to prove a point, no sooner had we boarded than we were pushing uphill out of town (don't mention the gear changes!) against some of the south island's finest summer weather. Not. And I was wishing I'd brought an umbrella. Typical - whenever I bring one it doesn't rain. Leave the brolly at home and it downpours.

I never cease to be amazed at how beautiful this country of ours is. The absolute irony of us all going along to wave the flags of another, far less beautiful (and wonderful, in my opinion) country and sing its songs instead of ours was not lost on me. Regardless of this, I had thoroughly enjoyed my First Last Night Of The Proms, and was determined to enjoy my Last Last Night of the Proms too.

After a rather slow bus convoy, we finally arrived, and were ushered into one of the strangest and most dungeon-like green rooms I've ever experienced.

In all fairness, the Opera House is still being built. And this was one of the 'incomplete' sections. But I did feel rather like a Star Trek Red Jacket or a nameless extra in a Dr Who episode, and I wondered when the four-headed, fifty-foot-long-fanged creatures would be released to dine on us.

A quick rehearsal, then we all headed over to a local hotel for drinks followed by an extremely delicious dinner. Full marks for this one. No matter what your tastes or inclination in food, it was provided. Yumm-oh! I won't admit to the actual number of roast potatoes I consumed, but yes, it was obscene. And the dessert was delicious. My dining companions were friendly and fun, and dinner exceeded expectations. Vairy noice.

Back to the concert venue. Problems getting 160 people through three toilets in succession in time for a concert. Note to any architects reading this: PLEASE build public buildings with more bathrooms than you think will be needed! There's nothing worse than waiting in line with ten (or more) people ahead of you, and knowing you're due on stage in two minutes!

The concert was good fun. I won't say we were quite as spectacular as we had been in Dunedin (you always perform better to a home crowd), but I had a good time. Snapshots in my memory include the audience member who won the prize to conduct the Sinfonia. I've never seen such raw talent! Arvin - I must get a copy of your footage - please!!!

And also our esteemed musical director David, making a complete, ummmm, Brit of himself with plastic hat and Union Jack cape. There are some "looks" we can carry off, and there are others that should be carried off. Permanently. (Yes, I'm teasing. Being an Aussie I can't resist stirring a Pom - it's in my blood.)

In short, although this supposedly "short" write-up of the Proms has been anything but, Oamaru was fun. I had a great time. At the end of the night there was mad confusion as we all scrambled through mud and rain onto three buses. I don't know how anyone could tell whether we all made it home. Maybe we didn't? If the tenor section is missing on Tuesday, the first place to look is the toilet queue at Oamaru Opera House.

The journey home was filled with wonderful views of the neon lights of the bustling city of Oamaru - changing from red, to amber, then green, and back to red again.

The views of the bays were similarly awe-inspiring - if you had a very vivid imagination you could almost see beyond the drizzle and the pitch black to the sweeping beaches and rolling hills. Almost.

I finally got home at around midnight - I think. I had to catch a taxi from the Octagon home, but no dramas - the drivers were all avoiding the north end of the city after the liquid delights of last week's toga parade, and hailing a cab for any person not resembling a drunken student was easy-peasy.

In closing, I'd like to give huge thankyous to our wonderful committee, the Sinfonia, to David, and to everyone involved in organising our concerts for us. We, the humble choristers, expect everything to be beautifully organised and well-planned. And because you guys are so awesome, it always is! So thankyou - we do appreciate it very much, even though we may usually be too witless and self-centered to say so!

Bring on the rest of 2009! We'll be awesome!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Proms in Dunedin and on tour

Alex and Colin Campbell-Hunt.
To add to Rosi's great photos, here is more at this web album.

We'll remember this Proms as Alex Campbell-Hunt's BIG NIGHT. It was the premiere of his composition Sakura Trees (The Airborne Shadow) - and what a marvellous work! I just loved it - so interesting, so neatly done, with attention to detail, crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's, and a lovely tuneful theme too. I was happy to hear it at all the rehearsals and both performances, and would go back for more!

This picture tells it all - Alex and Colin in animated congratulatory mode - so well-deserved!

The Choir's moment in the sun came with the performance of Toward the Unknown Region by Vaughan Williams. Wow, what a buzz that was! Vaughan Williams really knew how to put together a smashingly good tune. Don't forget the Southern Sinfonia - I was really impressed with their playing. Well done!

And then the Choir went on tour - we got to do it all again a second time in Oamaru at the newly refurbished Opera House. What a sweet little opera house - not very big, but ever so pretty, with a real chandelier hanging from the centre dome. Mmm... behind the scenes there is still a heap of work in progress and for our warm-ups etc. the Choir was shoved into a dungeon beneath the stage - all concrete and unfinished and cold, but I suppose that was just the "growing pains" of the refurbishing project.

The Oamaruarians really got into the spirit of the Proms - they even had a guard of honour all dressed up smartly in red jackets, kilts and pith helmets (I think that's what those funny hats are called) who escorted the "Queen" to the royal seat in the front of house just before the concert started.

I could safely say that much fun was had by all and we made it safely back to our beds in Dunedin by about midnight on Saturday.

What the audience didn't see...

... a sea of red, white and blue (with occasional yellow balloons as there seemed to be a shortage of white ones). We are all lined up in blocks according to our shirt colours, red, white and blue, ready for the second half more informal half of the concert. And jolly good it was too. I'm surprised the roof is still intact after the effects of choir, orchestra and sizeable audience all going full blast for Land of Hope and Glory. There are a heap more pictures at this web album. As usual you may need to wait a little while before they load.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rehearsing for the Proms concert

Kenneth Young.Well, it's Wednesday and we've just had our first rehearsal with conductor Kenneth Young and the Southern Sinfonia, for Friday and Saturday's Proms concerts. I really enjoyed Ken's sense of humour. I think it is a required skill of any conductor to have all kinds of tricks up his sleeve to entice the musicians to deliver of their best, the way he wants them to.

As a "for-instance", while rehearsing "Pomp and Circumstance" Ken tells the orchestra that they should not rush, this should be all pompous, besides, it's BRITISH! The British don't rush, they queue!

For the choir he had this bit of advice when he wanted us to BREATHE: Try this trick when you practice your breathing - put an empty toilet roll in your mouth, close your lips around it and INHALE and feel your lungs really fill up. That's how you should breathe.

Helen Medlyn.All his little stories had the desired effect - the orchestra and the choir delivered the goods. And then of course there is Helen Medlyn - what an awesome voice! She does not need any little stories; she knows how to deliver. It's going to be a great concert.

For those who don't yet know the performances are:

Friday 27 February 2009, 7:30 pm, Dunedin Town Hall
Saturday 28 February 2009, 7:00 pm, Oamaru Opera House

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Photo gallery 2005

The following photographs were taken during the Proms Concert held in the Dunedin Town Hall in 2005.

The following photographs were taken by Ian Thomson (FPSNZ) during the Autumn Tones Concert held in Knox Church in 2005.