The Northland Age

Huge commitment for a great performanc­e

- 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?

 ?? PICTURE / PETER DE GRAAF ?? John Jackets conducting the Bay of Islands Singers at the Turner Centre 10th anniversar­y variety show in 2015.
PICTURE / PETER DE GRAAF John Jackets conducting the Bay of Islands Singers at the Turner Centre 10th anniversar­y variety show in 2015.

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