The children of Sistema Aotearoa are preparing to celebrate their latest milestone: the official launch of Rangatahi Philharmonia o Tara, the programme’s flagship full orchestra.
The inaugural performance by Auckland’s newest youth orchestra will take place at the Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday 7 October, at 6:30pm. The event is supported by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), which administers Sistema Aotearoa, and Creative New Zealand.
Rangatahi Philharmonia o Tara comprises 60 children aged 8-12 years who have been part of Sistema Aotearoa for three or more years. Many of the young musicians have been with the programme since it began in Otara in 2011, and can now competently play a wind, brass or percussion instrument in addition to their initial string instrument.
Sistema Aotearoa Programme Manager Ros Giffney says the children have been working hard to prepare for the concert, which includes a performance by the full orchestra as well as smaller ensemble and chamber groups, and a special performance by pre-schoolers from Pūoru Pīrere, a programme developed together with the Ministry of Education for toddlers and their caregivers.
“The concert will be a celebration of how far the children have come in less than five years, and we are looking forward to showing whanau and supporters the high level of musicianship these children have learned through Sistema Aotearoa,” Ros says. “This latest milestone reflects the high quality tutor team, the supportive whanau and greater South Auckland community support we have received, which is critical to the ongoing success of Sistema Aotearoa.”
The launch event will also kick-start a fundraising appeal, with the aim of raising enough money to purchase 90 violins and cellos for the newest intake in the Sistema Aotearoa programme. “The programme is growing at an extraordinary rate and in 2016 more than 300 children will receive tuition. Our fundraising goals will help ensure our next intake of 6-year-olds are able to learn on real instruments,” Ros says.
Launched in Otara in 2011, Sistema Aotearoa is a system of musical tuition based on El Sistema, one of the world’s most successful music and social development projects. The students are drawn from seven primary schools, all within walking distance of Otara Music and Arts Centre (OMAC). The free, high-quality music tuition is part of the Sistema philosophy, whereby there should be no cost – and therefore no economic barriers – to musical participation. Instruments are provided free of charge, as is the tuition, which is supplied by professional musicians and music teachers.
Entry to the launch of Rangatahi Philharmonia o Tara is by koha at the door, with all donations going towards Sistema Aotearoa fundraising efforts.