Help to kickstart Rakiura

Rakiura photo 1 My exquisite wife Wendy and I walked the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island over New Year. It was absolutely amazing - the scenery and wildlife was breathtaking. A highlight was when a Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (Tokoeka) walked across the track in front of us in the middle of the afternoon - it was beyond amazing. I stored these memories away and didn't expect much would come of them...

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Soon after, in February, I got an email from Keri at Signs of Life Photography with an idea... a very cool idea. She spent three weeks as a photographer for the Department of Conservation on Stewart Island taking photos! The best of these have developed into a stunning album called Rakiura: Seeds in the Sand and to release it Keri is combining this beautiful photography with a Kiwi composer (that's me) and a real-life, full-size symphony orchestra. How? By commissioning a brand new piece to be performed by the Auckland Symphony Orchestra as part of their October 26th (Auckland Town Hall) and November 2nd (Bruce Mason Centre) concerts which are also the two launch events for the album. Peter Thomas is at the helm of the concerts and was pivotal in getting me involved with the project.

Check out the video here:

What I really love about this book is that it isn't just photography - there is a story that binds everything together. Keri says:

Tide in...

"It’s a story of the tenacity of life, of design and purpose, of the importance of perspective, and of pain and decay. But over and over, again and again, it’s a story of hope. We see the processes of repentance and repair in the conservation activities, and finally from the land itself, from the life that is inherent within it, we see renewal."

...tide out.

So, a great story and a great project. BUT, we need your help! There is a lot of money involved with producing this high-end product, commissioning a new piece and of course working with a symphony orchestra.

VISIT HERE to read the entire story and to see how you can help our Kickstarter campaign so that the final costs can be met so this fantastic project can come to life.

Thank you in advance, you are all wonderful!

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The Polkadots and the APO

Polkadots + APO

All aboard. Magic carpets are passing now!

Ah yes, the lines for every Polkadots song still resonate in my head. In fact throughout the concert both my wife and I knew every word. I guess we had heard it hundreds of times at home as I worked on the arrangements.

Last Saturday was the first of the Polkadots "Magic Carpet" shows. It really was something quite special. While I've written a lot of arrangements - never a whole show for a pro orchestra with singing, dancing and narration.

I went to the rehearsal the day before the show hit the stage and only had a few minor tweaks to make before relaxing and enjoying the musicians put it together. They hired super-pro drummer Ron Samson, so he held it all together nicely and provided a great energy.

REHEARSAL

Polkadots + APO

Polkadots + APOPolkadots + APO

Polkadots + APO Polkadots + APO

Polkadots + APO Polkadots + APO

Then came concert day - two back-to-back performances at the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday 29th March. It was great to see the hall packed and so many young people having a great, great time! In fact, the APO musicians on stage looked as though they enjoy themselves too.

CONCERT

Polkadots + APO Polkadots + APO

In a few weeks' time the show hits:

  • Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna - 23 April, 10am and 11:30am
  • Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau - 24 April, 10am

Make sure you gather your little people, get along and enjoy!

Thanks to the Auckland Philharmonia, David Kay (conductor) and Robert Dill (director) for making this amazing show such a success. Stay tuned for similar shows...

The Polkadots get ready to meet the APO

PolkadotsOver the last few weeks I have been orchestrating and arranging the music of the Polkadots and writing some new material for their show, Magic Carpet Ride, with the Auckland Philharmonia in March. There are eight pieces in total for my contribution, each varies greatly in style from Caribbean, salsa, lullaby, Maori, ballad, storytelling, blues, and more - making it loads of fun to bring to life with the orchestra.

After transcribing each track into a piano/vocal reduction the fun began - unleashing the orchestra! Being a show for little people, the songs are often short, bold and simply structured so the challenge is to keep this while bringing in the massive presence of the orchestra, giving them some moments of their own, and giving the players material to get their teeth into.

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I am in the closing days now, which is mainly just final touches to the orchestrations and part preparation to be done. Home straight!

I'm really looking forward to seeing the project come together and I hope to be at the rehearsals to see the magic carpet take off and the fine work of my friends Robert Dill (director) and David Kay (conductor).

MAGIC CARPET RIDE (event link here)

  • Saturday 29th March 2014
  • 10am and 11.30am
  • Auckland Town Hall
  • Adults/Senior: $15
  • Child/Student: $15

Some merry arrangements!

Over the last few weeks my Christmas arrangements have been popping up all over the place. The concert I'm most looking forward to is...

AUCKLAND SYMPHONY CHRISTMAS CONCERT

ASO Christmas

Tonight the Auckland Symphony Orchestra give their hugely popular and FREE Christmas concert at the Auckland Town Hall. The 90-strong orchestra team up with the Choir from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, along with combined Auckland church choirs, in this annual Christmas Celebration under the direction of Peter Thomas.

Each year I orchestrate a selection of the stunning choral arrangements by Niu Syddall and they also include some of my own arrangements.

This year they are:

  • "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day"
  • "Hark the Herald"
  • "Silent Night"
  • "The First Noel"
  • "Who Would Imagine A King?"

The orchestra is also performing my arrangement of Snoopy's Christmas in their Sunday concert in Milford.

Last night's dress rehearsal sounding mightily impressive so get there if you can. Click here to find all of the details, be early, it fills up fast.

AUCKLAND PHILHARMONIA APO4KIDS XMAS

321348-167428-7It was great to see my arrangements of "Little Drummer Boy", "Snoopy's Christmas" and my new "Frosty the Snowman" for solo bass trombone and orchestra got outings at the hugely popular APO4Kids Xmas concerts recently. They performed them at Massey High School on the 24th November and two concerts at the Auckland Town Hall on the 30th.

"Frosty" seemed a particular favourite, thanks to Tim Sutton on bass trombone for his superb efforts, and to my good friend, conductor David Kay.

ARRANGEMENTS TO SWEDEN AND THE UK

This year I shipped a number of Christmas arrangements off around the world. By shipped, of course, I mean whizzing PDF through cyberspace. They were to Stockholm in Sweden:

  • "Joy to the World"
  • "Drummer Boy"
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" (I agree, not entirely Christmas)

And to the UK:

  • "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth"
  • "Lullaby for Christmas Eve"
  • "When You Wish Upon A Star"
CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR SOLO VIOLIN

Each year my violin students get a book of Christmas Carols to play leading up to Christmas. There are thirteen in total, they are easy, bowed and jolly good fun, so feel free to download the PDF below. If you want them for another instrument, let me know and I'm sure my arm could be twisted.

Download it here and have a very Merry Christmas!