We are very grateful that we were able to hold the Lower and Upper North Island Cadenzas this year before New Zealand went into lockdown at midnight on 17 August. Unfortunately we had to cancel the Gala Concert in Rotorua as the lockdown was announced less than an hour before the concert was due to start. However, we are so pleased that a total of 24 North Island choirs were each able to enjoy two wonderful days of music-making in either Whanganui or Rotorua prior to lockdown. Sadly, we had to cancel the South Island Cadenza just days before it was scheduled to begin. We are deeply disappointed for all the students, conductors and local organisers who had put so much work into preparing for the Timaru Cadenza.
The Lower North Island Cadenza was held at the beautiful Royal Whanganui Opera House on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 August. Twelve choirs chosen from The Big Sing regionals in Wellington, East Coast, Whanganui-Manawatu and Taranaki took part and enjoyed singing and socialising over their two days together.
Rotorua was the perfect location for the Upper North Island Cadenza, which saw twelve choirs chosen from the Auckland and Waikato-Bay of Plenty regions coming together on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 August at the Energy Events Centre. Although lockdown put a halt to the final Gala Concert, the participants had already completed two days of adjudicated sessions and massed item rehearsals.
Our 2021 Cadenza adjudicator was former King’s Singer and new New Zealand resident, Timothy Wayne-Wright, whose musical insights and encouraging feedback was greatly appreciated by the participating choirs. Tim and The Big Sing Director, John Rosser, joined forces to rehearse the choirs at each Cadenza in three massed pieces to be performed at the Gala Concert: Mozart’s Ave verum corpus, an arrangement of The Drinking Gourd by André Thomas, and Kirby Shaw’s arrangement of Till There Was You from The Music Man.
Each of the participating choirs has received a graded award based on their performance of a total of four songs in two recitals. These awards have been named after three of New Zealand’s iconic singing birds and are (in ‘pecking’ order from the top): Tūī, Korimako (Bellbird) and Wharauroa (Shining Cuckoo).