The 2015 IFAC Handa New Zealand Singing School opens Wednesday 7th January 2015, and will welcome 72 students and around 35 faculty to Hawke’s Bay for an intensive 11 days of study and performance at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier. The New Zealand Singing School Trust has run 28 schools for singers from throughout New Zealand with recognisable talent. The calibre of the school is now attracting students from Australia also.
“The strength of our School is the excellence of our faculty. We handpick our faculty based on the focus of each School. Our faculty come from throughout New Zealand and this year also Australia, England, America, and the Netherlands” says New Zealand Singing School Chairperson, Jill Tobin.
The 2015 School theme is “Inhabiting the Text”. This theme will flow through the curriculum to create a focus on bringing the story at the heart of every song and aria to life. There will also be a strong focus on English diction and Italian language.
“We are striving to give students insight on how to bring a piece of music alive. This takes an understanding of the composer, the lyrics, and the significance of the piece within the Opera or Musical. Researching and reflecting on all these elements, gives a richer performance” says Jill Tobin.
The school is unique in the southern hemisphere as it covers both music theatre and classical musical genres. It provides the opportunity to study both classical and cross-over singing genres, which is seen as a particularly important feature for a productive and bountiful singing career.
“You need to be versatile”, says Jill Tobin. “We are preparing students at the start of their career to be strategic, aware and prepared for a working career. Having an excellent voice is just one component. This is the insight that the Artist in Residence is so useful in providing.”
This year New Zealand baritone, Robert Tucker will be returning to the school as Artist in Residence. Robert follows on from Broadway Music Theatre star Liz Callaway and lyric soprano, Napier-born Anna Leese.
“We are excited to have Robert with us. Robert has settled back in New Zealand, although he continues to perform internationally. Very importantly, he is an alumni of the School and will relate well to the students who are at the beginning of their singing careers” says Jill Tobin.
Students work with faculty of national and international acclaim, providing access and experiences that they might not otherwise receive through their regular study or training. A mixture of one-on-one and general tuition opportunities including masterclasses, vocal technique training, lectures, language coaching, ensemble singing and movement are provided.
This supportive environment helps students to break through barriers in their singing, learn about their voice and the anatomy that powers it, and to experiment, observe and celebrate with like-minded singers.
“There’s such satisfaction in seeing the “a-ha” moments they inevitably experience. The students gain so much from attending – some return again and again. We’re welcoming back a fourth-timer – that’s proof enough for us of what we are doing” exclaims Jill Tobin.