They'll be singing round the mountain
They’ve been singing in the car, in the shower, in their gardens and in various rehearsal rooms, and now they are ready to sing for Taranaki.
Over the past few months, various local choirs have been working on a harmonious and tuneful project that will feature in Taranaki Art Festival Trust’s Spiegel Fest this month.
Called Taranaki Sings - Our Singers, Our Songs, the project features local choirs Ars Nova, City Sounds, Living Harmony, Taranaki Male Choir, Taranaki Singing Venture, Taranaki Children’s Choir and Spotswood College kapa haka group Te Kura Tuarua O Ngamotu and led by composer Julian Raphael, and includes work by scores of first-time songmakers.
“The tagline of this event is Our Singers, Our Songs, because that’s what’s at the heart of the project: the voices of Taranaki itself,” says Raphael.
Through two-part cocreative workshops, the participating choirs brainstormed and then refined their ideas, identifying lyrical themes and melodic fragments, which Raphael then synthesised in his studio in Fitzroy into finished compositions. These were recorded and shared digitally for the choir members to practise - in the car, in the shower, and in the garden, as well as together in their rehearsal rooms in the leadup to
“Each song is quite distinctive, each an expression of the
respective choir’s choral style and personality as well as of their take on Taranaki life,” says Raphael.
Megan Brown, Spiegel Fest artistic director, says the songs celebrate people and place.
“The connection Taranaki people feel to the maunga, the sea, the rivers and the city - this is what grounds us and drives us, and Taranaki Sings has afforded an opportunity for us to express this through words and music. It’s a beautiful project that unites singers and our community in time and place.”
Locals and visitors will be able to enjoy the finished product with a series of performances scheduled for Saturday, November 12, in New Plymouth. Over the afternoon, various locations in New Plymouth will become a temporary stage as the choirs present their free, open-air performances.