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Kiwis Selected for Asia Pacific Youth Choir

Kiwis Selected for Asia Pacific Youth Choir


Tim Evans and Ameera Woods are two singers from Aotearoa New Zealand who've been selected for this year's Asia Pacific Youth Choir, which will rehearse and perform in Daegu, South Korea in July.

Tim Evans is a young composer and choral performer originally from Kirikiriroa Hamilton and currently studying in Auckland. They'll participate in the World Choir Games later this year, singing as a bass in the Auckland Chamber, Auckland Youth, and NZ Youth Choirs. Tim is currently in their third year of a Bachelor of Music and Arts conjoint degree, majoring in composition and anthropology. 

Ameera Woods is a Nelson-born soprano who now lives in Christchurch and studies in Dunedin. She has just begun her first year at the University of Otago, where she is studying neuroscience and classical performance under the tutelage of Dr Tessa Romano. Ameera is also looking forward to participating in the World Choir Games with the Aotearoa New Zealand Academy Choir just before she heads off to Daegu. 

We asked Tim and Ameera to tell us a bit about their love for choir, their most memorable performances so far, and what they're looking forward to in Daegu. 

Tell us a bit about your experience in choirs - what got you hooked on singing?

Tim: I started singing at a young age and was the textbook awful singer with enthusiasm. I was convinced I had what it took, and I don’t think anyone else around me agreed. Still, I kept singing because I loved it and eventually started lessons about halfway through high school. I found myself becoming more interested in classical music due to my instrumental background and jumped at the opportunity to audition for the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir. Once I was in, I knew I’d found my place. That choir and all the choirs since have brought me an amazing community and so much more joy to my musical journey.

Ameera: I began singing at quite a young age. My grandfather was a music teacher, and would play songs for me to sing on the piano. I eventually began taking singing lessons when I was 11 years old, and my singing teacher asked me to be a part of a children’s choir that was performing the New Zealand premiere of Cantata Memoria: For the Children by Karl Jenkins. We ended up travelling to Wellington to perform this work at the Michael Fowler Centre. I remember I was infatuated with the songs and the backstory of this work, and ever since then I've been passionate about singing in choirs.

Ameera performing with Resolutions (Rangi Ruru Girls' School).
Which choirs do you sing in at the moment? 

Ameera: I'm currently a part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Academy Choir. We really dive deep into the small but important details of every piece, and Elise Bradley, Rowan Johnston and Robert Wiremu have imparted so much knowledge. I enjoy the camaraderie of this choir, and the friends I have made from across the country - and I'm very excited to participate in the World Choir Games in July. I've also recently joined the Southern Youth Choir, and am really enjoying singing with other students and friends.

Tim: At the moment, I sing in Auckland Youth Choir, Auckland Chamber Choir, and NZ Youth Choir. I appreciate the opportunity to work with some incredible powerhouses of the choral world in the music teams (Elise Bradley, Rowan Johnston, and David Squire to name a few) and I love seeing so many passionate people. I also find it really exciting to work with people with all different kinds of musical abilities, because watching someone discover how cool choral music is in real time is absolutely incredible.

What made you want to apply for the Asia Pacific Youth Choir? What are you looking forward to about the experience?

Tim: I auditioned just because I heard about it and thought, Why not? Hearing the news that I got in was such an incredible moment, it definitely took me by surprise. I’ve never travelled beyond Australia so it excites me to be amidst a really different culture (as much as we deny it, Australia and Aotearoa are very similar).

Ameera: It sounded like an amazing opportunity to travel to another country and sing with others around the world who also have the same passion for singing as I do! When I found out I got in, I was so excited. I am looking forward to experiencing what travelling as a musician is like, as well as experiencing a new culture and meeting new people. Daegu also gets very hot in July, so it will be nice to get away from New Zealand winter!

Tim Evans with other members of the NZ Secondary Students Choir and Eric Whitacre, composer (centre).
Tell us about the choral piece you've been most excited to perform.

Ameera: In 2021, my school choir Resolutions, directed by Helen Charlton, sang the piece, ‘Northern Lights’ by Ēriks Ešenvalds. The song itself is so beautiful, but also different to any choral works I have sung before because it included tuned wine glasses and power chimes! It was such a fun piece to sing and it’s fascinating how Ešenvalds was able to compose something that closely resembles the sound of the northern lights. 

Tim: My favourite work to perform was something which hasn’t yet been heard. I was lucky enough to be a part of the film Tinā, directed by Miki Magasiva, which is still in production. There's a piece - which you'll see when you watch the film - that took so much effort to learn and perform, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was also my first time recording music, which was such an eye opening experience. I was surrounded by the most incredible, supportive people both on screen and behind the camera. I highly recommend going to see Tinā when it is released - you will absolutely love it.

For more about the Asia Pacific Youth Choir, visit their website.

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