Concerts grand highlight

JUDITH RITCHIE
Last updated 14:10 23/01/2013
Ebbe Munk
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
DEDICATED DIRECTOR: Ebbe Munk, choral conductor for the Summer School of Music and concerts at the Nelson School of Music

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This year marks the 13th year of the Summer School of Music, held this week at Teapot Valley.

It has become a highlight for choral singers throughout the country, 60 of whom will come together for a 10-day period. During the last two days, the choir will give concerts at the Nelson School of Music.

Ebbe Munk, conductor of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, has arrived from Denmark and is directing the gathering.

It will be demanding, exciting and truly amazing to hear the choir when it comes together after only a short time, he says.

"At the beginning, you have no idea what the sound will be like. Many people will not even know each other," Munk says.

"The joy of coming together as a team is expressed by sports people, but it doesn't compare to the joy and shared passion of people singing together. It is a sublime experience."

It is quite miraculous that a concert will be performed to such a high standard, when the choir has had only a short time together. Normally, this would be the equivalent of more than a year's work, he says.

This year, the choir will perform Rossini's Petite messe solennelle, with concert pianist Diedre Irons and accompanist Jonathan Berkahn.

Munk is very enthusiastic about the concert. "If people know the opera, they will be surprised. It will be done with such taste. It will be wonderful, deep and appealing.

"It's a strange combination, full of personal and original ways to compose, technically demanding, but majestic. Opera lovers should really come to this performance. It is sublime, quite remarkable."

Summer School organisers husband and wife team Carl Browning and Inga Lane are just as excited, having spent the past six months preparing for the event.

Participants not only experience the tutorship of Munk, a world-class choral conductor, but they also have time to play, with evening events and games, and an in-house cabaret, Mr Browning says.

Often they leave, having made many new friends, and it can be quite an emotional farewell.

As well as the summer school, the couple offer two scholarships to young students, aged between 17 and 22, who will go to England and sing with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

This year, 14 young people in this age group are partaking in the school. Several of those are from Nelson College for Girls and Waimea College. Mrs Lane predicts four or five of those will audition for the scholarships.

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Summer School of Music, Rossini's Petite messe solennelle, concerts at the Nelson School of Music, 7.30pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.

- Nelson

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