Huge com­mit­ment for a great per­for­mance

The Northland Age - - Local News - By John Matthews

What a great show John Jack­ets put on for the crowd of sev­eral hun­dred at the Turner Cen­tre in Kerik­eri re­cently.

The 61-strong con­cert choir (25 so­pra­nos, 18 al­tos, 10 tenors and eight bass singers) in­cluded not only those lo­cal to Kerik­eri, but also a fair num­ber from Doubt­less Bay and Kaitaia, sup­ported by an orches­tra of 26. That as­sem­blage of mu­si­cians and singers had spent hours of prac­tice, not to men­tion many pas­sen­ger kilo­me­tres of travel over sev­eral weeks for just this sin­gle per­for­mance.

The ded­i­ca­tion of those per­form­ers is truly in­spi­ra­tional, for which the au­di­ence was grate­ful.

And the cal­i­bre of soloists Tania Priebs and Ipu Laga’aia was breath­tak­ing.

Tania, who re­turned to Kerik­eri in 2015, has per­formed with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, not some­thing that a lot of singers in the Far North can claim.

Ipu is study­ing for his BA, and is there­fore still at the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer, and every­body who heard him per­form his solo of You are my Heart’s De­light, by Le­har, would ex­pect him to go on to do great things in opera in the not too far dis­tant fu­ture.

There was some­thing for every­body in the pro­gramme that John Jack­ets se­lected, from the mu­si­cals of The Gon­doliers, Chess and Ok­la­homa to the Operetta of The Merry Wi­dow and to Grand Opera pieces, from the Grand March of Aida, by Verdi, and La Ron­dine, by Puc­cini, even a bit of rock opera from Cabaret.

The charm of all per­for­mances by the Bay of Islands Singers is not only that the au­di­ence gets to en­joy con­sid­er­able mu­si­cal tal­ent, but also that the con­cert cham­ber is small enough not to re­quire any sort of elec­tronic am­pli­fi­ca­tion. Nor was the per­for­mance recorded by video or au­dio.

In the present age of TV, video and in­stant so­cial me­dia, the ab­sence of all such tech­nol­ogy gave the con­cert a spe­cial, unique re­la­tion­ship be­tween per­form­ing artists and au­di­ence. Noth­ing of what hap­pened will ever be seen or heard again, ex­cept in the mem­o­ries of those there to wit­ness it.

Each per­for­mance is there­fore unique. You must be there in or­der to en­joy it.

The (Kiwi) writer of this ar­ti­cle and his English wife have at­tended many con­certs world­wide, and were as­tounded with the qual­ity of this one, per­formed by mostly am­a­teurs. Go Kerik­eri, well done! Re­ally, the word “am­a­teur” hardly comes into it.

We hope that fu­ture events will con­tinue to be sup­ported by the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of art and cul­ture in the Far North. The dream would be for sim­i­lar events to be­come pop­u­lar at Kaitaia’s Te Ahu Cen­tre.

Can we look for­ward to that?


John Jack­ets con­duct­ing the Bay of Islands Singers at the Turner Cen­tre 10th an­niver­sary va­ri­ety show in 2015.

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