Rhapsody Rotorua 2017

So I just got back from a seriously good few days in Rotorua, adjudicating at the Rhapsody Rotorua Music Festival, alongside the rather legendary Owen Clarke.

It’s a festival populated by mainly Australian groups, popping across the ditch for some music and adventure, but it always has a collection of New Zealand groups, and is a great performance opportunity for local groups from the Bay of Plenty region.

Days one and two are adjudicated sessions directly followed by clinics with an adjudicator – this was good fun, great to hear and work with so many groups.

These two days finish with rehearsals of the combined and honours groups. I took the combined string ensemble of 61 players. It was mammoth – 15 firsts, 22 seconds(!), 6 violas, 13 cellos and 5 basses. We enjoyed working on Sibelius, Holst and Leonie Holmes. Here they all are…

My 61-piece string ensemble. #music #conductor

Day three is mainly a day of instrumental workshops with specialists. As a bit of difference I said I’d do one along the lines of ‘composing for your school ensemble’. I thought I’d get 5, perhaps 10 people max. About six people turned up in the first wave, and I was about to shut the door, then I heard footsteps and I ended up with about 70 students all super excited and ready to hear some tips. We had a medium sized dressing room and were packed to the absolute brim, with people out the door too. Here they all are…

All of these glorious people came for a composition workshop. #music

Concerts Thursday and Friday nights complete the festival, and the groups have concerts elsewhere too.

I managed three pretty impressive dinners while I was there, so I thought they deserve a mention. First night was Indian Star Tandoori Restaurant – super, super delicious, and it’s located in the impressively modern Eat Streat precinct. Second night was Sabroso Restaurant – Mexican, heathy and completely hit the mark. Third night I hit the Rotorua Night Market – I remember having an almighty feast here when I was at the festival last time, but this one topped it – completely blew my socks off – glorious, fresh and great atmosphere too.

A really fun few days. Hopefully I can go back again one day!

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