Celebrations in Nelson

29 June 2018 / News

Earlier this month we were honoured to take part in two gala concerts celebrating the refurbishment, re-branding and re-opening of the Nelson School of Music – now known as the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts (NCMA).

In December 2013 the Nelson School of Music’s 121 year-old heritage auditorium was closed due to earthquake risk. Since then, a dedicated team of locals has worked incredibly hard to raise the required funds to strengthen and refurbish the auditorium, and to build alongside it a new multi-use facility comprising an additional recital theatre, teaching studios and green rooms. With the re-brand to NCMA announced at the end of last year, and a new director, James Donaldson, appointed at the start of 2018, it was time to celebrate the’ rebirth’ with two gala concerts.

Nelson is a second home for us, with our annual Adam Summer School based in Nelson each year (we can’t wait to return to the new, improved NCMA facilities in 2019!) and our biennial residency at the Adam Chamber Music Festival (check out the 2019 programme!). So it was with great delight that we joined Nelson’s premier music organisations - the Nelson Civic Choir, Chroma, Nelson Symphony Orchestra, Nelson City Brass and NCMA’s Schola Musica – plus pianist Matteo Napoli and organist Alan K Gray, for these celebratory concerts.

As well as performing movements from the standard string quartet repertoire, we joined with teachers and students from NCMA to play a piece by Gareth Farr that was kindly gifted to the Nelson School of Music in 2016 as the focal point of a 24-hour ‘pianoathon’ fundraiser called ‘Sleeping with the Steinway’. Titled Ripple Effect, Gareth designed the piece to be performed when 12 bells tolled at midnight, as a nod to the past and heralding optimism for the future. Instead of church bells, the gala concert performance included handbells that had been brought to Nelson in the 1870s and donated to the School.

It was such a delight to be part of the celebrations in Nelson, and wonderful to receive this heartwarming response from NCMA director James Donaldson after the event:

"Thanks to the members of the New Zealand String Quartet for helping us fill our facility with music again! It was such a pleasure to have old friends return to help us celebrate, but to play with you as you joined the ranks of the Nelson Symphony for the second half of the programme was a thrill and a blessing we will all cherish."

We will cherish the memory of these celebrations too, and look forward to many more memorable concerts in our second home, Nelson.

NCMA NZSQ laughing Cropped

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