Dobbyn, choir honour mine victims

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 09:05 22/01/2014

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The victims of the Pike River mining disaster will be honoured by an eight-minute anthem to be performed by more than 200 people, including Dave Dobbyn.

Wellington's Orpheus Choir has commissioned Dobbyn to write a song that will be performed at the Michael Fowler Centre in May, alongside several other pieces which honour mining communities.

It has been more than three years since the explosion in the West Coast mine which killed 29 men, and their remains are yet to be recovered.

Orpheus Choir artistic adviser Judy Berryman said the tragedy had captured the attention of the 150-voice symphonic choir alongside every other New Zealander.

"We're all conscious of the Pike River tragedy, it kept New Zealand in suspense for days on end, and then still we're sort of overwhelmed by the grief of it all."

Pike River Families Group Committee chairman Colin Smith said it was humbling to be approached by the choir and families had been moved by the offer.

Smith said the families supported the event whole-heartedly, and there would be at least 20 members of the miners' families at the concert in May.

Dobbyn said he was daunted by the task, but had followed the story with interest and knew it was a challenge he had to take on.

He was looking to Orpheus' music director Mark Dorrell for guidance on how to arrange for choirs, but the song was likely to be recognisably a Dobbyn tune.

"It's going to start very minimally, and finish very minimally but in the middle of it all there will be a big standalone unaccompanied choir, with soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices plus a children's choir."

Dreams Lie Deeper, with Dave Dobbyn, the Orpheus Choir, the Wellington Brass Band and Wellington Young Voices at the Michael Fowler Centre, May 10. Tickets from Ticketek.

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- The Dominion Post

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