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Skycity Starlight Symphony Returns

17 February 2005

Skycity Starlight Symphony Returns To Auckland Domain This Saturday

SKYCITY is thrilled to announce the magic of the annual SKYCITY Starlight Symphony event will return to Auckland Domain this Saturday 19 February (event begins 7:45pm).

Among the estimated 200,000 strong crowd, an army of 500 volunteers as a few celebrity faces (including sports legend Beatrice Faumuina, media personality Kerre Woodham, TV presenters Neil Waka, Sarah Bradley and Wendy Petrie) will be encouraging donations and selling light sticks for this year’s recipient charity – Kidz First Children’s Hospital.

Some of New Zealand’s most promising young opera singers will make their Auckland opera debuts at this year’s SKYCITY Starlight Symphony. They are the 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists - Paloma Bruce (Wellington), Sarah Wood (Thames), Rebecca Crabtree (Auckland) and Malcolm Ede (Wellington).

John Hawkesby is once again the charismatic MC for the event and returning are the Auckland Philharmonia with Brian Law as conductor and the SKYCITY massed choir conducted by John Rosser.

The show will make a departure from opera to modern music in the second half with highlights from Symphonic Rock, arranged and conducted by Penny Dodd. Well-known local performers Frankie Stevens, Jackie Clarke, Tina Cross and Taisha will sing rock classics from Deep Purple, Joe Cocker, The Beatles and more.

Other highlights in the 2005 SKYCITY Starlight Symphony programme include the return of the nation’s largest laser show – the Mercury Energy laser light show (this year to Mission Impossible) and annual crowd pleasers Pomp and Circumstance, Tchaikowsky’s 1812 Overture, The National Anthem and Now is the Hour to round off the evening. As night falls, incredible new special effects moments include a giant, 80-foot in diameter, spinning Catherine Wheel which will light up the night sky to the 70s classic by Blood Sweat and Tears “Spinning Wheel,” as well as a “ring of fire” to add sparks to the second half of the programme in the well-known epic “Earth Song.”

Especially for this year’s SKYCITY Starlight Symphony event, Shortland Streets’ good versus bad lads – Roy Snow and Shane Cortese (who played on Shortland Street the likeable nurse Matt McAllister and the evil Dominic Thompson) perform alongside one another in a one-off medley joined by crowd favourites Helen Medlyn and Frankie Stevens, to perform a sneak preview of the upcoming Auckland Theatre Company’s ASB Bank season of Cole Porter’s 1940s classic High Society (which will be on at SKYCITY Theatre later in 2005). Songs include well-known musical hits “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” “Well, Did You Evah?” and “High Society.”

TV personality and charity representative at the 2005 SKYCITY Starlight Symphony event, Wendy Petrie will join John Hawkesby on stage to waltz to “The Blue Danube Waltz” following a heartfelt charity message to encourage people to dig deep into their pockets for the cause - Kidz First Children’s Hospital, based in Counties Manukau.

“We’re delighted to be the major sponsor of this event since 1998,” says Megan McSweeney, SKYCITY General Manager, Communications.

“SKYCITY Starlight Symphony is a celebration for our city and an event which seems to grow year on year, attracting an audience of close to a quarter of a million people, making it one of the country’s largest free community performance events,” she says.

The concert, supported by associate sponsor Giltrap Motor Group and assisted by Mercury Energy, Auckland City, New Zealand Herald and More FM, will begin at 7:45pm and is estimated to conclude at around 10:30pm. A postponement date at the same time on Sunday 20 February will apply if heavy rain occurs on the morning of Saturday 19th February. Official radio station, More FM, will carry postponement details from around midday on the 19th February 2005.

Although there is a rain postponement date for the next day, (Sunday), the weather forecast is looking good at this stage and event organisers urge concert-goers to take heed of some simple advice to ensure the event is once again, memorable and trouble free.

EVENT ADVICE: Make a checklist to bring including sun block, a blanket or rug (chairs make it difficult for people to see behind you), refreshments (water especially) and cash for the official volunteer collectors (who will be clearly marked wearing special yellow hospital gowns). Be wary about donating to any non-official collectors who can attend events such as these to make money illegally for themselves.

Each year there is some confusion over a liquor ban, which only extends directly around the museum and therefore doesn’t affect the SKYCITY Starlight Symphony. There is no problem with people packing a picnic hamper with wine/beer and snacks as they have in the past. Transport and parking should be taken into consideration with such a popular event (approximately 200,000 people each year).

Directly around Auckland’s Domain, parking is limited and those wanting a quick get-away after the event are encouraged to actually park further away from the park as congestion is heavy for around half an hour or so when the concert is over (at around 10:30pm). With some road closures from 7am and numerous road blocks around the Auckland Domain throughout the day, it’s recommended to walk or catch a taxi or bus from a central city location to save time and hassles.

SKYCITY has been proud to support Kidz First Children’s Hospital since 2000. More than 11,000 New Zealand children are admitted to Kidz First hospital each year and some 20,000 children are treated for emergency care. Funds raised at the SKYCITY Starlight Symphony will support Kidz First’s ongoing work to boost the health of our young ones.

As well as Kidz First Children’s Hospital, SKYCITY’s sponsorship portfolio includes The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, Starship Children’s Hospital, the New Zealand Special Olympics Foundation, The NBR New Zealand Opera and Auckland Rugby.

ENDS

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