Our Kids Sing festival in Auckland is normally a two-day event with Contributing Primary School choirs (Years 1-6) taking part on day 1and Full Primary and Intermediate choirs (up to Year 8) on day 2. The event is held in the Auckland Town Hall and is always one of the highlights of the Auckland school music calendar.
This year the first day of adjudicated sessions (17 August) had just finished when the news broke of a case of Covid-19 in the community in Auckland. Anticipating an imminent change in alert levels, we quickly cancelled the evening Gala Concert and the following day’s event, not yet realising the whole country was about to go into lockdown at midnight. We sincerely hope that Day 2 can be postponed to a later date.
Nonetheless, we are grateful that over 600 children from 11 primary school choirs were able to take part, in choirs from all over the region ranging in size from 23 to 85. Each choir gave a recital programme of three pieces, and those that chose to compete for awards sang the test piece Red Diggers, Yellow Diggers by Christchurch composer Richard Oswin. This piece was commissioned by NZCF Auckland for The Kids Sing.
A number of choirs sang works written specially for them. Highlights included Edith Poon’s Masks performed by Kristin Junior School’s ‘Treble Clefs’ who wore the appropriate accessories, and David Gordon’s The Stars Are Dancing , which included 16 hand bell ringers and was written for the Junior School Chapel Choir at Auckland Diocesan School for Girls. It was fantastic to see many choirs include a piece in te reo in their programme.
Catherine Peake, conductor of Belmont Primary choir ‘Belmont Bellbirds’, was the recipient of the Conductor’s Professional Development Award for a choir director who shows ability and potential.
The Kids Sing Auckland’s adjudicator David Squire says… “I really enjoyed listening to choirs from all over the city singing some wonderful music with such enthusiasm, care and skill. As a conductor who usually works with older age groups, it was certainly heartening to see and hear good work happening with primary choirs. Although the event was interrupted by lockdown, I’m hoping to hear the rest of the choirs later in the year if we’re able to reconvene.”
Further Kids Sing festivals were scheduled to take place in late August-early September in Nelson, East Coast and Whanganui-Manawatu but were not able to go ahead during lockdown.
The Kids Sing Nelson will now take place Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 November.