Summer singing school kicks off

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Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School seniors practice at Monday afternoon’s opening session.

he popular five-day Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School has kicked off.

About 130 young singers, split into junior and senior sections, have been taken through their paces by singing tutor Jo Castelow and choreographer/director Alice Sollis.

The music for this year’s summer school includes songs from The Greatest Showman, La La La Land, Hello Dolly, Sister Act, Footloose and Newsies

The public will have the chance to see the talented youngsters when they stage three concerts under the title Soundwaves on January 18 (7.30pm) and January 19 (2pm and 7.30pm) at Ashburton Trust Event Centre.

The concerts will feature choir and solo pieces.

The singing school was started in 2000 by Jo Castelow as a vehicle for the talented singers who lived in the district.

It has since expanded and attracts singers from around Canterbury.

Many of this year’s participants have been to previous summer singing schools.

Mrs Castelow said there was a high calibre of singers again this year.

Some 20 soloists, chosen after auditions, would perform with the choirs this year.

The summer school extended singers and developed and re-ignited friendships and was a “delight” to be involved with, Mrs Castelow said.

Since 2012, the summer school has provided two scholarships to students continuing their musical or stage education. Recipients have included Jane Leonard, Olivia Pike and Jack Hanrahan.