An afternoon of “Fantastic Classics” at St-Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, on Sunday 5th March was held in the presence of Her Excellency, The Rt. Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand. During the concert Her Excellency presented awards to Nicholas Baughan and Ethan Bull, from Kristin School, Albany, for work they did on producing a promotional video for Kiwanis’ South Pacific Schools Support project to Vanuatu.
Last year, as part of their media studies, the two boys won a school competition and went on to produce the promotional video for Kiwanis New Zealand-South Pacific, filming the longstanding project that has been operational for more than two decades. The video was played during the interlude before the boys were presented with their trophies, handcrafted by Papatoetoe Kiwanian, Dave Young.
Former St Matthew-in-the-City organist, Michael Bell, opened with a rousing organ fanfare as the Governor-General arrived, making the most of the amazing acoustics of the church. He concluded the afternoon with a strong rendition of Widor’s Toccata from Symphony No 5 as the Governor-General left the church.
Other performing artists included soprano-soloist Jan-Maree Baughan (mother of Nicholas) who sang the NZ national anthem and followed with two brackets of songs including ‘Hillside in Scotland’, an aria from Cosi Fan Tutte’, ‘Can’t help loving that man’ from Showboat and ‘Sancta Maria’ from Cavalleria Rusticana.
Ashley Brown, cellist with the NZ Trio did a solo performance of ‘Faeries and Gypsies’ from Distance and Enchantment that brought his cello to life as the audience sat in awed silence.
This was followed by The Villani Piano Quartet presenting a different slant on classical music with the tinkly sounds of baroque, skilfully engineered between the piano, violin, viola and a cello.
Amongst the lineup of New Zealand’s foremost classical artists, up and coming South Auckland group The Shades, provided a humorous twist to their very professional performance. Beginning with ‘On This Night Of One Thousand Stars’ they quickly changed tempo to ‘Granada’, ‘Loch Lomond’, ‘Mama’ and finished with a humorous rendition of “The Sound of Music’.
Kiwanis was also delighted to have ‘jammers’ from partner organisation, Starjam, in the audience. Normally when the two organisations get together it is to listen to the jammers perform their own brand of music and dance, so it was a nice change for them to enjoy the concert as guests – and to meet Her Excellency during the concert.
Proceeds from the concert went to Kiwanis New Zealand-South Pacific’s South Pacific Schools Support project, to help fund containers of school supplies sent to Vanuatu, Fiji and other islands.