Wellington chamber choir Inspirare recently presented a concert of songs for women’s voices titled Femme, featuring 16 of its women alongside 16 student singers from four colleges in the Wellington region: Kapiti College, Tawa College, Samuel Marsden Collegiate and Queen Margaret College.
Inspirare’s music director Mark Stamper (who also conducts the choir at Queen Margaret College) says: “The choir directors at Kapiti, Samuel Marsden and Tawa all sing in Inspirare, so it was an ideal opportunity to run a mentoring initiative with some of their students. We felt it was a chance for the women of Inspirare to have direct influence over a young woman who loves the arts, who is potentially considering music as a career, and to share in an experience that could impact them for a very long time. We encouraged the Inspirare women to talk with their student ‘mentee’ about her musical experiences so far and what she hopes to do with singing in the future. One of our main goals is to encourage students to keep singing once they leave secondary school!”
The mentors and students first met at a luncheon immediately before the first rehearsal and were positioned next to each other throughout the rehearsal period and in the concert. The mentors helped their students mark up their scores, making sure they were on top of all the performance directions and offering to go over any tricky sections before or after rehearsals.
One of the student singers, Jess Jenkins from Tawa College had this to say about the experience: “Being able to sing in a choir outside of school with women who are very experienced singers, and to surround ourselves with good vocal models, has definitely broadened our musical horizons.”
Perhaps Inspirare will be an inspiration to other choirs to do the same!