New Zealand Rhapsody Tour
The musical adventure
In July, 23 of our Trinity students headed over to the Rhapsody Rotorua Festival in New Zealand.
Held over one week, this annual festival features music and fun filled study rewards for the students. It was an active week, jam-packed with adjudication, workshops, performances and cultural experiences. Our Choir and Concert Band performed for local schools and in a concert with other schools from across Australia and New Zealand.
Monday Day 1 - After having a later start than we anticipated we arrived at the airport with a half hour to spare before check-in opened. The adventure through customs was swift and everyone seemed to have a tale to tell on different questions they were asked by airport staff along the way.
That is, except for poor Mrs Grosse needing to go through every extra security check there was to be seen and Mitchell (Year 7) being searched before being allowed to step foot in the country.
Tuesday Day 2 - Tuesday we travelled to Rotorua upon arrival, we headed straight to the Museum where a lovely lunch was delivered before our performance for the visitors at this tourist attraction. Tuesday’s performance only involved the choir and some of the flautists.
Dinner was at the Agrodome where we had some pre-dinner entertainment with a sheep show and enjoyed the opportunity to meet the students from the other Australian schools.
Wednesday Day 3 - We had the great privilege of performing for two predominantly Maori primary schools. The children loved our music, clapping along and ooo-ing and ahh-ing at our instruments. As part of our show we taught them a round of Kookaburra Sits In the Old Gum Tree (a traditional verse and a funny, made-up verse) with actions. It was wonderful to see every child be so involved in the music and all of our students engaging with the locals. In between our school visits we had a tourist stop at Rainbow Springs where we had a tour of the Kiwi sanctuary and watched a bird show. Afterwards the students split off into groups to wander the rest of the nature park and venture onto the big splash while us teachers headed to the cafe for a coffee.
In the evening we headed off to a great Maori cultural evening at the Tamaki Experience where Mr Kennedy was selected to be the chief for our clan (school). This started out as a bit of fun until it was time for him to face a scary and intimidating challenge from the great Maori warriors alongside the chiefs from the other schools. Mr Kennedy did a marvellous job and even became quite good at doing the Haka after about 5 times of performing it.
Thursday Day 4 - We started the day with an early departure for the Polynesian Spa. Unfortunately Adeline (Year 10) was too unwell to go and Mitchell (Year 7) started to have an allergic reaction to some nuts that had somehow contaminated his breakfast. With Mrs Grosse with Adeline and Mr Kennedy with Mitchell, that left Mrs Evans to get the kids to the convention centre on time for their adjudication sessions and 10mins to spare to re-write poor Alex's (Year 11) trombone music so that he could cover some of Mitchell's trumpet solos. That said, our adjudication sessions could have been appalling with the students upset for the friends and unsettled by the music changes. But they weren't, our wonderful college students rallied everyone, sorted out all the warm ups so that Mrs Evans could focus on how we were going to pull our pieces off. Praise God, the students (and their stressed teacher) really gathered themselves together in time and performed really well.
After that ordeal, we were pleased to be able to get Adeline and Mitchell some medication that would make them better and headed off for the Waka village. This is where a real Maori clan live with their village over a geothermal fault line. Our wonderful tour guide was able to explain Maori sculpture, traditions and cook us sausages and corn in the hot waters running in the pools within the village. In the evening we had our final official Trinity performance. We were part of a public concert at the packed out convention centre with each school at the festival having the opportunity to perform their best pieces. The concert band performed 'Man from Snowy River' and the choir sang 'Seasons of Love' and 'City Called Heaven'. This was, by far, our finest performance of the week with our choir being the best choir there and our band being the best smallest band to!
Friday Day 5 - was a fabulous music day, some of our students had even been heard saying that it was the best music day of their life!!! Students were sent off to various electives and ensembles for the day. Some chose to do Maori dance class, steel drum workshops, singing-have a go, improvisation, vocal technique, basic or advanced flute, trumpet, sax and the like as well as choirs, concert band, stage band, jazz singers and string ensemble. This was a day when our students mixed with others schools from both Australia and New Zealand before performing in their ensemble at the evening concert. The evening concert was sold out - and all of our students shone with some of them even doing solos within their ensembles (Lizzie, Carly, Sophie, Alex and Lachlan).
Saturday Day 6 - was fun day. We started out with a visit to Wai Taupo to look at the geothermal springs and lakes followed by a visit to the famous Lady Knox Geyser. Next was agroventures. The students had a tonne of fun on the jet boat, swoop, sweeb and free fall. Afterwards we headed up on the gondola to race each other on the luge. The sight from the top of this mountain was absolutely stunning and the coffees, for some of us, was divine.
Next stop was the hotel, where the students had just enough time to get ready in their party gear. We walked down to the Distinction Hotel (where two of the other Australian schools were staying) for a presentation evening, dinner and dance party. We were quite pleased when the organisers came over and asked whether any of our students could say grace for everyone before dinner. We don't know whether they always do this or whether it was out of respect for having a Christian school there, but went with it and Alex did an outstanding job honouring God with this. We were given a bronze award for both our concert band and choir performances. We were quite pleased with this result considering it was based on the morning we were two staff and a two students down while I was madly trying to re-write music so that we covered all the pars require.
Sunday Day 7 - was the most difficult morning to get up and going. We were scheduled to depart the hotel at 8:30 am, but it understandably turned to 9:10 am instead. On the way to the airport we stopped for a quick trek up Mt Eden which gave us stunning views over Auckland. Next we went to Sylvia Park shopping centre, at the students request, for lunch. It was funny, all of the students were amazed that NZ has exactly the same shops as we do in Australia!!!
Next stop was the airport where we were very grateful for the assistance of our tour company to check in all our luggage and equipment. Once checked in and through security, we had plenty of time to sit and send students to spend what little NZ cash they had left.
On our final night in Rotorua - the students surprised us with a little presentation. They very kindly and sneakily managed to buy each of us a gift and say some very kind words in appreciation of our efforts. The three of us were very touched and thanked them for the privilege of bringing such a stunning group to NZ for our first music tour. The trip was not hard in regards to managing students, but more of a holiday. The schedule we had for the week was gruelling and before embarking, we wondered whether they would all survive. Praise God, they all did. Not one of us heard a grizzle, a harsh word against another person nor any tears.
God bless, Alison, Ros and Anthony
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