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Wintec musical talent shines under the stagelights


MONDAY, JULY 23, 2018

Wintec musical talent shines under the stagelights

As the curtains closed on the final performance of Hamilton Operatic Society’s high energy, mid-winter musical Sister Act, a group of Wintec staff and students can count themselves among some of New Zealand’s finest musical theatre talent.

Long-time director of Hamilton Operatic Society productions, David Sidwell may have gone back to his day job to head music at Wintec School of Media Arts but there will be other shows and opportunities to draw from Wintec’s talent pool of creative staff and students.

Sister Act was a wonderful opportunity for staff and students to collaborate in a high quality musical theatre show as musicians, vocalists, backstage crew and wardrobe that sparkled from beginning to end,” says David.

“We have an extraordinary resource in Hamilton Operatic and our close working partnership is not just an asset for teaching and learning at Wintec, Sister Act had a spectacular season and gave us an opportunity to throw our talent in the spotlight.”

First year music student Emme Smith was a backing vocalist for the Sister Act production.

“One of the drawcards of studying at Wintec was that I knew David Sidwell was on the music team. I knew that I would get a chance to get into something like this.”

For Wintec academic Dr Nick Braae this was the first experience of working with Hamilton Operatic under David Sidwell's watchful eye. As musical director Nick brought the 13-piece pit orchestra together.

“My role in Sister Act involved training the singers—teaching harmonies, shaping lead lines—through the rehearsal phase of the production, and leading the orchestra.
This was my first time being involved in a Hamilton Operatic Society production, and I loved it!” says Nick.

“There were many rewarding aspects throughout this journey, but the real highlight is seeing everything (sound, lighting, dancing, acting) come together onstage in such an utterly convincing and professional state. It's a real thrill knowing that I played a hand in the show.”

Hamilton Operatic’s production of Sister Act ended on a high note on 7 July after a two week season at Hamilton’s Clarence Street Theatre. The feel-good Broadway smash based on the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act is set around nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier played by Christchurch-based belt mezzo-soprano Monique Clementson.

Wintec students and staff involved in the show were:

Mark Quirante – Wintec music student, his first time being part of a Hamilton Operatic Society production, was part of the backstage crew.
Tawny Vooght – third year Wintec music student, backing vocalist.
Brydie Senior – third year Wintec fashion student worked in the wardrobe department.
Emme Smith – first year Wintec music student, backing vocalist.
David Sidwell – School of Media Arts team manager and long-time director of Hamilton Operatic’s productions.
Dr Nick Braae – School of Media Arts academic (Music) – worked with Hamilton Operatic Society’s orchestra as Musical Director.
Debbie Nisbet - School of Media Arts music tutor played keyboards with the orchestra.

David says students enrolling to study music in 2019 will get even more opportunities to collaborate on a range of music and theatre projects and shows.

“We are planning to introduce a new Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts degree next year, says David.

“What this means for students is more industry engagement and learning opportunities, and a revitalised, more future-focussed curriculum to respond to the rapid changes in technology and the global workplace."

Ramp talk |Musical Theatre with David Sidwell and friends - Learn more behind-the-scenes insights into the music and performing arts industry at a panel discussion featuring David Sidwell and some of the cast and crew of Hamilton Operatic Society’s recent production of Sister Act. Join us at 11am on Wednesday, 1 August at Wintec city campus in S Block for this free event. For more details, and to RSVP join the Facebook event here.

Find out more about Wintec’s School of Media Arts.

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