NZCF Wellington held their first ever The Kids Sing (TKS) at St Marks Church School, near the Basin Reserve, on Wednesday, 16 November 2016 with 810 children taking part.
We were delighted that we were able to run the event on a sunny day that was sandwiched in between days of stormy weather and also only two days after a 7.8M earthquake! As soon as the earthquake happened we imagined that St Marks might have to close the school, as many other buildings had to do, but the school management assured us that the Chapel was adequately strengthened and that the show could go on – a welcome relief. Unfortunately, several schools had to cancel at the last moment due to the earthquake and weather issues, and we hope that they will be able to take part next year.
Invitations went out in February 2016 to all primary schools in Wellington, Lower and Upper Hutt and Porirua to gauge interest in TKS, and we were delighted with the very enthusiastic response. Twenty-three schools from around the Wellington region entered one of three sessions which were offered during the day, two in the morning and one in the afternoon.
It was great to see the range in the numbers of singers in each choir (from 10 to 105), the range of ages (from years 3 to 8) and the variety of musical items performed. These included items such as: The Moon by Andy Beck sung by St Mark’s Church school choir Schola Cantorum, Te Aroha, a traditional waiata sung by Wainuiomata Intermediate choir Karanga Manu, Lean on me by Bill Withers sung by Crofton Downs School Spirit Choir and Festival Sanctus by John Leavitt sung by Kelburn Normal School choir, Lyrica. The choirs were colourful and well-presented and sounded wonderful after taking part in a massed warm-up with our guest commentator Katie Macfarlane.
Thanks go to Anya Nazaruk (Music Director), Kent Favel (Principal)and Darren Houston at St Mark’s School for generously offering to host The Wellington Kids Sing 2016. The school has a beautiful chapel seating 350 and, as each of our sessions had between 220 and 330 participants, this worked well. The school also has an extra hall and a suite of spacious music rooms for warm-ups. The St Mark’s staff were very supportive from the start and offered to host an afternoon tea prior to the event for the choral directors to meet one another and see the venue. They also provided a team to welcome the staff and students arriving on the school buses and who also gave assistance to our NZCF team during the day.
Informal feedback on the day and from many of the choral directors since the event has been very positive and, judging by the sound of children’s laughter as they entered the venue, it was a grand day out for them and a fabulous opportunity to hear choirs from other schools.
NZCF Wellington committee is now considering how we can offer this event again next year, with the possibility of extending it two days. We will know more about this once feedback has been received from the choral directors, but we already have some ideas about how to move The Kids Sing forward in 2017.
Lucy Rainey (TKS Coordinator)
NZCF Wellington Committee
Photo: Schola Cantorum (music director: Anya Nazaruk) at St Mark’s Chapel.