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The New Zealand Children's Choral Academy

An exciting new choral venture was launched last month in Auckland: The New Zealand Children’s Choral Academy. We invited the project’s two Artistic Directors, Elise Bradley and Karen Grylls, to tell us more about it:

We are thrilled to be invited by NZCF to share our latest project with you all. We have long anticipated an opportunity to establish a choral academy to bring excellence of choral endeavour and musicianship to a wider cross-section of children and young people, and to directors and teachers throughout NZ. This initiative desires to support the good work already happening throughout NZ.

The New Zealand Children’s Choral Academy launched its first project on 4 October 2022 at the Te Tuhi Arts Centre in Auckland. The four day course saw 46 singers and 24 choral leaders/teachers come together in singing music from different genres, periods and in different styles including Māori and Samoan music, and to learn about key aspects to teaching children and to building a successful choir. We were honoured to have Amelia Giles (Kodály expert), Elisha Hulton, (Pasifika Advisor and Composer), Robert Wiremu (Māori Advisor and Clinician) and Bella Allan-Moetaua (Kapa Haka clinician) as members of the artistic team. We are also thrilled to have Bob Chilcott and Sofi Jeannin as our patrons.

NZCCA is committed to the enhancement of young people’s lives through engagement with eclectic choral repertoire, with Māori and Pasifika music traditions, and through the discipline and collaboration of excellent choral singing and performance. Specifically, we propose to establish regional children’s choirs (ages 5-18) throughout NZ, providing children with unique musical opportunities, excellence in performance through the study of the choral art and an enriched choral music education programme which facilitates and contributes to learning across the regular Arts curriculum in NZ schools.

We aim to promote and inspire musical artistry and foster a love and appreciation of music through inclusivity, diversity, and mutual respect while providing a safe space which encourages empathy, tolerance and collaboration, and supports the wellbeing of children and families.

We also aim to champion NZ music and composers through commissions of Māori, Pasifika and NZ contemporary art music, and to develop national and international relationships in the Arts.  We will create performance opportunities through continuous learning and personal growth, and perform and record repertoire from across the world.

The Academy will also offer choral leaders, teachers, university and college students the unique opportunity to study vocal pedagogy, conducting pedagogy, musicianship skills, ear training, and rehearsal and performance techniques through repertoire selection and programme development. New Zealand children, including Māori, Pasifika, and other ethnically diverse communities, will work under nationally and internationally acclaimed tutors to produce high-quality performances and will contribute to a Northern Children’s Choir (North Island) and Southern Children’s Choir (South Island) and subsequently a National Children’s Choir.

For more information please visit https://www.nzchildrenschoralacademy.co.nz/.

We would love to hear from you if you wish to be involved, or to know more about our upcoming projects and choirs as they are established. If you wish to support a child to be part of this initiative, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, that would also be very much appreciated.

– Elise Bradley and Karen Grylls, Artistic Directors