Modern songs, classical twist
A ‘‘one-off’’ orchestral event can be given a recurring role if supported by the community.
Orchestral Moments, a musical showcase bringing together modern and classical music, will be staged in Hamilton in November.
It is intended to be a standalone show but singer Raewyn Watkins hopes enthusiasm for the project means it can return.
‘‘Support could earn more concerts down the line,’’ she said.
Featuring the music of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel and Bacharach and others, popular songs will get a classical spin.
It’s the kind of music often concealed in Hamilton, Watkins said.
‘‘People say they want something different, well, this is different.
‘‘Discerning music tastes require something different, elegant and beautiful and it’s going to be all of those things.’’
Joining Watkins on stage will be ten musicians, including pianist Stephen Small and cellist Yotam Levy.
Childhood friends, Watkins and Small met at Berkley Intermediate (now Berkley Normal Middle School) where they shared their interest in jazz. They were also the youngest members of Hamilton group Gentle Jazz.
As time progressed, both musos pursued their passion.
Small has been orchestrating the music of electronic composer Michel Huygen for his recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra.
He is also the music director and arranger for Grammy award winning artist Kitaro.
‘‘We’re so lucky to have him back in the Waikato,’’ Watkins said.
‘‘He’s doing this because he’s a Waikato boy and he’s supporting Waikato musicians.’’
Watkins and Small worked together on their Moments performance at the 2016 Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.
Yotam Levy began playing the cello at age eight in Israel.
At age 12, he moved with his family to New Zealand and attended Hillcrest High School.
The recipient of the 2007 Hamilton Civic Choir Associate Artist Award, Levy also participated in the NZSO NYO in 2011 and 2012 as sub principal.
Orchestral Moments, November 11, 7.30pm, Gallagher Performing Arts Centre, University of Waikato.
To purchase tickets visit: www.waikato.ac.nz
Singer Raewyn Watkins and cellist Yotam Levy collaborate for Orchestral Moments.