Review by Hanno Fairburn for the Daily Post, Rotorua of the New Zealand Youth Choir

Rotorua was fortunate to have such a renowned choir, here for workshops and concerts.

What: New Zealand Youth Choir

Where: St Lukes Church, Rotorua

When: Thursday 15 February 2018

Rotorua was fortunate to have such a renowned choir, here for workshops and concerts.Over the years the choir has won many awards for its musical precision and expression in imaginatively-chosen programmes. Their skills and training have let them achieve splendidly in a variety of styles and techniques, with complex harmonies.We heard them for ourselves in a venue with fine acoustics, from among diverse works, how their successes have come through wide-ranging vocal strengths, marked by freshness and disciplined exuberance.The choir has had a succession of distinguished conductors, and the present one, David Squire, assisted by Michael Stewart, got impressive results from the singers through clear and stimulating gestures.The choir opened by encircling the audience for ‘Flame’ by Ben Parry, an arresting performance rising in intensity and involvement. ‘Autumn’ by Denzel Panama, a member of the choir, had its world premiere.It was striking for the way it mixed tones, chants and textures and with the colour and structure of a mature composer.‘Waerenga-a-Hika’ by Tuirina Wehi was notable for the depth of feeling it created by adroitly blending melody, chant and haka.The fervent cast of two spirituals made a fitting end to a marvelous concert.
Hanno Fairburn