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New Zealand’s First Arts Festival Anthem

New Zealand’s First Arts Festival Anthem

New Zealand’s first arts festival anthem will premiere at the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour and rehearsals are well underway in preparation for the musical milestone.

Taking Off, by poet laureate and Central Otago dweller, Brian Turner, is set to music by Christchurch composer, Rachel Clement, who last month took up the Mozart fellowship at Otago University.

John Buchanan, conductor of both the Central Otago Regional Choir and Central Otago Regional Orchestra who will combine for this concert, said both he and the musicians were very excited about the project.

“The anthem is a lovely piece of work – interesting, exciting and evocative, all at once. Rachel has captured Brian Turner’s poem beautifully and the audience is going to be in for a real treat.”

Another first during the recital sees local Wanaka student Hannah Curwood presenting her unaccompanied choral work based on the James Baxter poem, The High Country. Also in the programme are spirituals by Michael Tippet and works by Benjamin Britten and Vaughn Williams.

Taking Off is supported by the Upper Clutha Community Arts Council and will perform in the Infinity Pacific Crystal Palace on 1 May at 4pm with admission just $5 on the door.

For more information on the Festival of Colour and details of the full programme, visit


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