Christ’s College in harmony with Holly Lea audience

18 Apr 2024

High notes from the younger vocalists, a glorious concerto by one of New Zealand’s finest young pianists, and a suite of musical treats from impressive classical instrumentalists have filled the lovely Music Room at Holly Lea Village.

Twelve College students – ranging from Years 9–13 – have shared their love of music and public performance with an appreciative audience, presenting an array of items featuring the violin, cello, clarinet, and trumpet, along with their soaring voices.

Vocalists Alex Johnstone and Ollie Trollip say it has been “a wonderful experience being asked to entertain a lovely group and share our amazing passion for music with people who have really appreciated our performances”.

“It has been so rewarding to see how much they have loved watching and listening to all of us,” both Year 10 students say. “It was also so uplifting to be able to talk with the audience at the end, and discuss music while also sharing their memories of College. As much as the people appreciated us, it also left us with good, positive feelings knowing that we had used our talents to entertain all sorts of people.”

College Director of Music Robert Aburn believes firmly in “giving boys an opportunity to perform for a supportive and encouraging audience and the chance to share their love of music”.

“Equally, it is important for the boys to play their part in community engagement, establishing stronger connections with a wide range of people,” he says. “The boys learn so much – and benefit from – going out into the community and mixing with wonderful audiences to grow those connections through a shared love of music – from a wonderful vocal performance to a beautifully played piece from a Chopin concerto.

“The boys have also relished the chance to discuss their performances and the importance of growing connections through music.”

Mr Aburn adds that “having a professional accompanist is invaluable for the boys”.

“We have been fortunate to be joined at Holly Lea by pianist Yiyi Ku. Her presence helps the boys – singers and musicians – to grow in confidence for a professional performance. It also means that vocal teacher Shelley Spang can stand back and listen to the vocal production of each boy.

“We plan to build in more of these opportunities for the boys to work with a professional accompanist as some boys are working towards a masterclass with the New Zealand String Quartet and performing incredibly demanding and difficult works. To be critiqued at a masterclass by professional performing musicians is a great benefit to the boys.”

Performing a range of pieces, the following boys have left a lasting impression: Jago Wallace (cello) performed Czardas by Vittorio Monti; Ryan Gu (piano) the second movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor; Alex Johnstone (voice) Panis Angelicus by César Franck; Paddy Newton (guitar) Sonata in A major K. 322 by Domenico Scarlatti; Ollie Trollip (voice) Bring Him Home from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Justin Wang (clarinet) Clarinet Sonata 1st movement Allegretto by Camille Saint-Saëns; Mike Ma (voice) Suddenly from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lucas Zhong (violin) Variations on a Theme by Corelli (in the style of Tartini) by Fritz Kreisler; Hugo Miller (voice) Adolphe Adam’s O Holy Night; Oscar Stove (trumpet) Concert Etude by Alexander Goedicke; Harry Vaughan (voice) Adelaide by Beethoven; Joshua Padayachee (cello) The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.