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Search for a ‘Kiwi Idol’ begins!

Search for a ‘Kiwi Idol’ begins!

Auditions for 10th Anniversary of Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2003

The future stars of the Kiwi music industry could get their first big break this month - at the auditions for the 10th anniversary of New Zealand’s biggest outdoor concert, Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2003.

The star search begins with auditions in both Auckland and Christchurch during July(ed: see below), where hopefuls are given 5-10 minutes to perform a Christmas song and show they’ve got what it takes. Artistic producer Kate Ward-Smythe says although most of those who audition each year are good performers, there are only a small number who really stand out. Their key attributes include a stunning voice, professionalism, dedication, an ability to ‘interpret’ the song for themselves – and of course the proverbial ‘X-factor’.

“You just know it when you hear it,” says Kate Ward-Smythe. “I describe it as tingles down the back of my spine.”

Only experienced singers are invited to audition – so those who fancy the sound of their voice in the shower should think twice. As Kate Ward-Smythe explains, an event like Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park requires seasoned performers who will not be fazed by a 200,000-plus crowds.

“You can usually tell within the 30 seconds of an audition, whether the singer’s got what it takes and understands what they’re getting into.”

“We’re putting on a world class production with only a couple of days for rehearsals, so we rely on our performers to to a lot of their own preparation, be totally professional and deliver the magic.”

Now in its 10th year, Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park has given a host of Kiwi performers a platform to showcase their talent. The young Hayley Westenra first performed as part of the children’s choir, and was asked to sing a solo the following year. Singer Turanga Merito, who performed as a soloist last year, has recently been asked to join the Australian production of The Lion King.

As well as the emerging young talent, the concert has included Kiwi icons such as Tina Cross, Ray Woolf, Frankie Stevens, Jackie Clarke and many more. Other performers have been ‘re-discovered’, or launched careers in new directions through their involvement with the concert. Rock tenor Phil Madsen was in a band before gaining profile as a solo artist with Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. And Richard Eriwata, who was a household name with his own music TV show 20 years ago, has also made a comeback on the stage.

Marketing manager for Coca-Cola Oceania, Annette Chillingworth, says the concert is a great opportunity for new Kiwi talent to be discovered – as well as the chance to perform in front of New Zealand’s largest concert audience and gain TV exposure.

The annual Christmas concert is one of several ways Coca-Cola supports New Zealand music. Others include the CokeSmokefreeRockquest, and the Coke Gig Southside, a South Auckland concert.

The 2003 Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park promises to be bigger and better than ever to celebrate the 10th anniversary. Proceeds will support Youthline for the third year in a row.

Meanwhile Kate Ward-Smythe is looking forward to the upcoming auditions…and she’s hoping to see more of that ‘magic walk through the door’.

“Given our small population I’m always astounded by the overwhelming talent we have in New Zealand, right across the board from light opera to rock.”

The auditions are being held in Auckland on Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July from 11am to 7pm, at the Auckland Performing Arts Centre, Motions Road, Western Springs.

The Christchurch auditions are on Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th from 1pm to 8pm, at the Christchurch Jazz School, corner of High & Madras Streets.

For an allocated audition time, e-mail

About Coca-Cola

Together, Coca-Cola Amatil NZ and Coca-Cola Oceania manufacture, market and distribute more than 100 beverage brands and flavours in New Zealand. These include soft drinks, diet drinks, juices and juice drinks, cordials, waters, sports drinks, energy drinks and iced-tea.

Coca-Cola Amatil is the authorized bottler of The Coca-Cola Company’s products in New Zealand. The two companies employ more than 1,000 people and CCA has plants in Auckland, Christchurch and Putaruru.

Coca-Cola’s contribution to the New Zealand community includes the annual Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park events in Auckland and Christchurch, The Coca-Cola Careers Expo and The Magic of Reading programme at Starship Children’s Hospital. Coca-Cola has recently formed a partnership with OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) to develop and implement a national physical activity programme for 75,000 young New Zealanders.

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