900 students rehearse as New England Sings continues to grow in popularity

Program Manager Corinne Arter is organising this year's event.
Program Manager Corinne Arter is organising this year's event.

New England Sings is on again this year as primary and secondary school students from throughout the region prepare to provide their audiences with what NECOM program manager Corinne Arter described as a mass choral/orchestral event.

Students from more than 30 schools are preparing to perform at Lazenby Hall on October 21.

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“For the six months leading up to New England Sings, we run workshops in Armidale and in all the outreach centres. So, for example, today we had workshops in Gunnedah and Tamworth,” Corinne said on Thursday.

“All of the outreach students work with the music teachers in their schools and then they all come together on the weekend for two concerts on the Sunday.

“This will be our fifth New England Sings and and it continues to grow. This is probably be the biggest one we have done.”

Corinne said works were commissioned from very highly regarded children’s choral composer, Dan Walker, for the primary school choir, and the lead singer of The Cat Empire, Felix Reibl, who had composed works for the secondary school chior and himself to sing and full orchestra.

The greatest accolades should go to the schools and all the music teachers involved.

Corinne Arter

If it sounds as though this show is exceptionally well organised, then it is probably handy to not that it is an award winning event.

“We’ve won the Australian Art Music Award for Excellence in Music Education in 2014 and then in 2016 we won the Australian Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Centre,” Corinne said.

“We were competing against some large organisations, such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Gondwana Choirs and so forth.

So, it was a great honour, in a category where some iconic organisations were involved. But it’s not so much about the awards, it’s the involvement of the kids and it’s a team effort.