Kawiti Waetford outside Marama Hall after rehearsal
yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A young Dunedin singer is heading for the top of the
music world. Kawiti Waetford starts a two-year master's degree
in advanced vocal studies at the Wales International Academy of
Voice in Cardiff next month.
''I'm excited-slash-nervous,'' the 22-year-old baritone said
''I'm a bit sad to be leaving Dunedin, because I've been
studying here more than four years, now. But, I've never been
there [Wales] before, so I'm definitely excited.
''I'll be working with the likes of Dame Kiri [Te Kanawa],
who is the patron of the school, and Dennis O'Neill, who is
one of the best bel canto teachers in the world.''
He is holding a farewell benefit concert ''for my Dunedin
family'' this week to help offset the $60,000 annual fees.
Waetford grew up in Whangarei and has spent the past four
years completing a bachelor of music degree, majoring in
performance voice, at the University of Otago.
His big break came last year, in winning the inaugural Lexus
Song Quest Masterclass Scholarship, judged by the director of
Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff, tenor Dennis
Criteria for the $15,000 scholarship were based on the
technique, musicality, presentation and overall international
potential of the singer.
He has since performed at a string of engagements, most
recently with Dame Kiri at Sir James Wallace's Auckland home
Waetford had every chance of making it to the top, Kiri Te
Kanawa Foundation trustee Terence Dennis said yesterday.
''He has a beautiful, natural voice and outstanding stage
presence. This is like the finishing school for people going
into a professional career on the big world stage.''
Waetford leaves Dunedin on August 30 and starts at the
academy on September 30.
The benefit concert is on from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday
in the Glenroy Auditorium and features Waetford, Terence
Dennis, Joel Amosa, Grace Park, Maia Vegar, Kurt Murphy, He
Waka Kotuia and the University of Otago Capping Sextet.