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New Patrons For New Zealand Singing School

Media Release
For immediate release
8th Aug 2012

New Patrons For New Zealand Singing School

The New Zealand Singing School Trust is adding to its stable of stellar patrons with the appointment of tenor, Simon O’Neill and actor and singer, George Henare OBE, CNZM. They join existing patrons Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major and Sir Donald MacIntyre.

Described as “the best heroic tenor to emerge over the last decade” Simon O’Neill is currently a principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala and both the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals. He regularly returns to sing in New Zealand, most recently performing the role of Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Simon is a graduate of the 1994 New Zealand Singing School. He attributes his attendance at the School with his meeting many of NZ’s finest singing teachers who helped him to improve his voice and stage experience on his path to becoming a professional singer on the international circuit.

The New Zealand Singing School Trust wanted to represent the full spectrum of vocal opportunity at the School by including a patron from the contemporary singing field, and the long and full career of George Henare filled this objective perfectly.

Following a start with the New Zealand Opera Company, George has gone on to work with the Maori Theatre Trust, Wellington’s Downstage Theatre, Radio Drama, the Mercury Theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company and in Australia with the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre and Belvoir Street Theatre. He has a long list of screen credits and numerous awards for his theatre work and services to the Arts.

In 1988 George received an OBE for services to theatre and in 2008 he was made an Arts Foundation Laureate Award and received Te Waka Toi Award for his outstanding contribution to Māori theatre.

Bringing George Henare on board is a clear signal of the excellence the School expects and delivers, and matches the calibre of the New Zealand Singing School’s other classical patrons.

“We are thrilled to say the least” says Trust Chair Eileen von Dadelszen, “our patrons are very important to us and we relish their involvement and support of the School. They are such valued mentors to the students and also to the faculty and Trust who make each School possible”.

“We’re just so lucky that New Zealand is incredibly well represented by such successful singers with superb international careers – it goes to prove we’re not only a rugby nation!”

The School gives students a unique opportunity to experience a range of singing styles with guidance and tuition from an experienced faculty at a time when students are considering what future in music they wish to pursue. Although the reality for most singers is that they must be versatile and able to deliver performances in a variety of genres in order to maintain a full singing career.

Eileen von Dadelszen says adding to the School’s patrons in not “gilding the lily”, but a way of involving the industry in the education of up and coming singers; and it also helps in the never-ending drive to raise funds for each and every School. Student fees generate only about half the income required to stage the School which is held at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay every two years. The balance of the money needed comes from generous individuals and organisations.

“The willingness of Mr O’Neill and Mr Henare to represent us as patrons encourages us that there is value in what the School is doing and the excellence of the product itself” she says.

“The Trustees are a group of volunteers who have been running these Schools for over 30 years – our patrons’ interest and support is a welcome pat on the back for all of us”.

Enrolments for the 11-day School in January 2013 are open, and close 20th August – check the website for details Observer enrolments are also open and run through till the end of the school - check the website for details


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