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SOUNZ Community Commission


Meeting the challenges that blind and visually impaired singers face will be a new experience for composer Ross Carey as he undertakes a commission to write a work for the Homai School’s National Music Course Choir.

Auckland – based Homai Campus, the national school for blind and low-vision students, and the Wellington-based Ross Carey are the sixth annual pairing in the SOUNZ Community Commission project. The project, administered by SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music, encourages community groups to work on a specific musical project with a professional composer.

“Each year in July we hold a National Music Course,” Wendy Richards, Homai Campus Braille Music specialist explains. “Students and staff come in from all over New Zealand for the week and focus on Braille music reading , choir and band. At the end of the week we have a public concert. Our choir will have up to 30 members, with ages ranging from 11 years to adult.

“Most of the students have perfect pitch, making that aspect of singing relatively easy – but there are other challenges. The singers read music from Braille scores and there are many unknown and unusual issues that need to be considered: body language and movement for example. Ross has agreed to work with our choir on a vocal composition that will reflect the diversity of New Zealand from a student’s perspective. This could include diversity of strengths, backgrounds and expectations. He will spend time with some of the students in a workshop setting allowing for their input and ideas to influence the composition.”

Ross Carey is both a composer and pianist. He was educated in Wellington and has studied and worked widely overseas, particularly in Japan and Indonesia, which has brought a Pacific-Asian influence to many of his compositions.
“I’m really looking forward to the collaborative challenge,” he says. “I will meet with the students in October and workshop ideas then, allowing the results to give a direction to the compositional possibilities: the text, accompanying instruments and so on.”

The SOUNZ Community Commission is made possible through the generosity of an overseas donor who prefers to remain anonymous. “It is always exciting to see the range of creative collaborations represented in the proposals each year,” Scilla Askew, executive director of SOUNZ comments. “The SOUNZ Community Commission is all about bringing professional composers and community musicians together. Not only do both these parties benefit in the process, but also, when the result is performed, the audience get to share in the energy and vitality that is engendered in the commissioning of new music.”



sounz Community Commission

The SOUNZ Community Commission is sponsored by an anonymous donor and administered through SOUNZ. The commission encourages community groups to work closely with a professional composer. Each year - usually in March or April - proposals are accepted from either community groups or composers for musical projects that will see them working in creative partnership.

The successful proposal is to be completed by the following May. By then a performance of the result will either have taken place or be planned.
Previous SOUNZ Community Commission partnerships:

1999: Jonathan Besser wrote New Dawn for the Millennium Parade in Gisborne
2000: Leonie Holmes wrote Invocation - a choral fanfare for South Auckland Choral Society's 25th anniversary
2001: Helen Bowater wrote Hu - a work for massed recorders and gamelan for the NZ Recorder Conference in Christchurch
2002: Steve Gallagher who wrote incidental music for Motormouth - a play for school children produced by Capital E, Wellington
2003: Jeff Henderson - to work with senior instrumental students at the Auckland Academy of Music to create an improvised work for (09)03 Festival of Contemporary Music
2004: Rachel Clement who wrote Taking Off as an anthem for the 2005 Festival of Colour in Wanaka.
2005: Ross Carey is to write a piece for the choir of the Homai National School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

sounz : The Centre for New Zealand Music

Vision Statement

SOUNZ: created in New Zealand, heard around the world!
Toi Te Arapuoru – tipua i Aotearoa, rangona e te ao!

Statement of Purpose

To provide, foster and promote music by New Zealand composers to enhance the mana of all New Zealanders and our sense of turangawaewae.

This is achieved through services and projects which:

- encourage the creation, performance, publication, recording and broadcast of music by New Zealand

- ensure a comprehensive collection of information and music resources are developed and maintained and made available for loan, perusal and purchase

- embrace the roles of advocate, facilitator and partner in national and international contexts.

The Centre is a not-for-profit organization which is registered as a charitable trust.
SOUNZ maintains an on-line searchable database of composers and their works [], a library as well as retail and information services representing the largest accessible collection of music by New Zealand composers in the world.
SOUNZ acknowledges operational funding from Creative New Zealand, APRA [Australasian Performing Right Association] and PPNZ [Phonographic Performances NZ Ltd.]
The Centre is a member of the International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC) which is a member of the International Music Council under the umbrella of UNESCO.

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