• Singing School

Styling a New Singing School

Newsletter for NEWZATS enews, published Sept 2020

- Helen Walker, Chairman, NZ Singing School Trust

We’ve seen so many talented performers and theatres getting creative over the past few months to keep their audiences engaged and inspired. Singing School NZ -Te Wānanga Toi Waiata has been no different.

Our Trust Board fortunately has some long-term members with solid ‘institutional knowledge’ which has kept us grounded and our new members have specific skills ideal for planning something fresh.

We quickly decided to delay Singing School NZ from its usual January summer slot and move it to July. Initially it was in the hope that our international tutors would be able to get to Hawke’s Bay – but that now looks unlikely.

The 30th school will held from 3 – 10 July 2021 - a shorter 8-day, Matariki school. We are grateful that our major sponsor, the Eastern Institute of Technology in Taradale, Napier is happy for us to use their modern campus again. The focus of Singing School NZ has always been on creating voices of the future and emphasising performance, both vocally and physically. Singers at the school can also get good career advice – something essential in these uncertain times – and we are proud of many of our students who have become professionals and moved on to stellar careers in Aotearoa and overseas.

The 2021 school is in good hands with our Artistic Directors Christine Douglas and Mark Dorrell. Both have been involved with Singing School NZ before as tutors, and we are pleased such talented and well-connected people have stepped into these roles.

Christine heads the classical singing stream. As a singing teacher, opera director, and a soprano with a highly successful operatic career, she brings a wealth of experience to the school. She also established Pacific Opera in Sydney which has a superb reputation for developing young performers.

Mark is head of the musical theatre stream. He is a highly experienced Musical Director, conductor and freelance pianist who has worked extensively in London where he worked with some of the great stars of theatre and music including Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, and Judi Dench. He is now based in the Wellington region and works with both opera and musical theatre productions.

Mark and Christine are currently assembling their teams of tutors and accompanists, so students will have a range of skills and knowledge to draw on. Classical, musical theatre and crossover singers may have different styles but all require good technique and performance skills.

Students will benefit from our usual programme of one-on-one tutoring, ensemble experience, performance opportunities and stage experience. Vocal health will also be included. We’ll announce the programme later this year.

One new aspect – perhaps Zoom is a positive outcome of Covid-19! – will be online classes to prepare our students ahead of the shorter school, and maybe increase access to singers who can’t get to Hawke’s Bay in July.

We are excited about this opportunity to reshape the school. It’s a whole new world! So we’ve also refreshed our branding with a new logo, website and name!

All dates are still subject to Government decisions on Covid Levels, but we aim to call for registrations before Christmas and for audition videos early in 2021. We’re thinking of everyone who has had their plans and performances interrupted by the pandemic and we want to help our talented people to rise above the disruption and be terrific!

Toi toi toi!


Connect with SSNZ

You can email us at info@singingschool.org.nz with “Love to Sing” in the subject line to be added to our e-newsletter list – you’ll be first to key dates or covid changes! Our website is singingschool.org.nz and we have a Facebook page.

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