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Toi Whakaari Students Co-Create Musical Harmonic Tree

Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School Set & Props students have helped create a new musical artwork that will be installed and played by live musicians at the Wellington Botanical Gardens, 29 September to 11 October.

Resembling an exotic plant, the Harmonic Tree is a musical instrument with steel strings and percussive fruit and berries. Beneath the surface, which was made almost entirely from discarded packaging materials, the tree houses an array of audio effects processors, all adjustable by tending to twigs, branches and other parts of the tree, enabling an operator to create electroacoustic soundscapes.

The Harmonic Tree was designed and co-built by Lōemis Festival’s Andrew Laking, who is thrilled the tree will get a new life after the Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Andrew says “While it was originally intended for a botanical themed Lōemis Festival celebrating the winter solstice, thanks to the support of Wellington City Council’s Public Art Fund, Creative New Zealand and Toi Whakaari the Harmonic Tree will now be a free standalone event to enjoy in the beauty of the gardens.”

Francis Gallop Head of Department for Toi Whakaari Set & Props says he is excited about the real world experience and application this event provides for students.

“This event is a welcome addition to our growing engagement with a diverse range of creative organisations and practitioners. The Harmonic Tree has grown with the help of many hands including our second year Set & Props students Monique Tongue, Aimée Storm, Luke Scott, Jared Lewis, Stephanie Quennell, Mika Turnbull, and Harriet Trubshaw.

“This year we’ve also had the opportunity to help create for Lōemis, in and out of lockdown, a huge solstice fire effigy, an array of woodland fairy folk, fabulous celebratory banners and a shadow play machine, which will be resurrected for Lōemis 2021. A big thank you to Andy Laking and Lōemis Festival whānau for all the great mahi they have shared with us”, says Francis.

Artists will be performing on the instrument daily 10.30am - 11.30am and 12.30pm - 1.30pm.
For full schedule and information, please visit loemis.nz/harmonic-tree

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