Each year we like to share our concert tour experiences. Sadly, we missed reporting last year’s escapade so to bring you up to date . . . A group of 42 choristers and support staff of seven – all geared up to showcase a little of our Aussie talent – flew out of Tullamarine at the beginning of the 2015 September school holidays for a 10 day tour of New Zealand’s north island.
Performances in Auckland, Rotorua, Napier and Wellington were the mainstays for the tour, but it is often the peripheral activity that defines a great tour. We all know how professional the NBCA choristers are (they can hold their own in performance venues around the world) but to see them ‘work’ the community is a sight to behold.
When organising a tour we like to encourage the boys to ‘give back’, often visiting Retirement villages, Nursing Homes and local schools along the way. These informal performances provide enjoyment to many who may otherwise not have the chance to see the boys on stage, but more importantly choristers mingle, chat and share two- way information exchanges with some ‘wise old (and not so old) owls’ of the community. In Auckland the boys were fortunate to visit the Park Lane Retirement Village. Here residents and guests clapped and cheered the boys as they staged a colourful performance of Benjamin Britten’s The Golden Vanity – the feisty pirates and sailors were rewarded with a delicious morning tea and lots of chatting afterwards.
The tour group also called into the Rotorua Primary School – what a special time that was. The school recognises the importance of the indigenous language, culture and heritage and provides Maori bilingual classes from Prep to Year 6. NBCA boys were ‘blown away’ with the reception they received from students. After a short NBCA performance, the Rotorua children enthusiastically responded, singing heartily and confidently with every hand, arm and facial expression contributing to the telling of the tale. The most overwhelming feeling from all the Aussies present was just how passionate these children were with the sharing of their heritage. Of course it’s not all about the Arts – after the formalities it was off to the sporting field to show off their ball skills. Boys will always be boys!
The Choir is proud to represent Australia when it travels and the boys are the perfect diplomats. The boys often enjoy the hospitality of Embassies and Ambassadors around the world. On this tour the Australian High Commissioner in New Zealand, Mr Michael Potts, kindly extended an invitation for the Choir to join him for morning tea followed by an informal performance for staff and friends of the Australian Embassy in Wellington. What a joy to watch these boys ‘work the room’ – professionals!
Ten days passes very quickly – throw in visits to the Sky Tower, Hobbiton, Tamaki Maori Village, Te Puia Thermal Reserve, Maori Arts & Craft Institute, Wairakei Thermal Area, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo, Te Papa Museum and oh so much more – not to mention the ‘energy burning’ activities including cable car, gondola rides, luge runs (in the rain!) and the exhilarating Jet Boat ride at Huka Falls. The boys returned exhausted and happy to have been part of the 2015 Tour Choir.