Singing school marks 20th year

Seniors practising at Monday afternoon's Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School session.

By Mick Jensen

The Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School is in its 20th year and this year’s singing intake is rehearsing hard ahead of three public concerts, including a special celebratory gala performance on Saturday evening.

Friday evening and Saturday afternoon concerts will follow the usual format and present favourite medleys from the past as well as new music.

The gala show will also feature a scholarship alumni group, and an alumni choir of past students, some of whom have enjoyed successful careers in musical theatre.

Past scholarship winners performing include Luke Glendining, Julia Bell, Jack Hanrahan, Olivia Brown, Lucy Clough, Jacqueline Doherty, Libby Higson, Samantha McArthur, Emily-Jane Stockman, Jack Bubb, Joe Danielson and three 2020 scholarship winners.

The alumni choir of 40 includes some well-known performers such as Chris Woods, Courtney Donaldson, Jared Corbett, Layna Hunt, Matt Williams, Megan O’Reilly, Sophie Brennan, Sarah Yeoman and Sarah Hart.

Singing school director Jo Castelow said 20 years of musical theatre camps was quite an achievement and a fitting milestone to celebrate in style.

“In the early days we performed at Ashburton College, but later, and to accommodate more students and greater technical requirements, we moved to the event centre.”

Numbers had been well over 100 for many years and peaked at 150 a few years ago. This year’s intake numbered 120, she said, with 70 juniors and 50 seniors.

Auditions for sought-after solo roles were held on Sunday.

The public concerts will take audiences through such shows as Les Miserables, Jekyll and Hyde, Finding Neverland, Matilda, Motown and many more.

The senior and junior groups will perform at all three concerts, but the alumni at the Saturday evening concert only.

Tickets for all shows are available from the Ashburton Trust Event Centre or

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