'Big Night In' draws top vocalists

(Clockwise, from top left) Tina Cross, Jackie Clarke, Ainslie Allen, Chris Crowe, Paul Ross,...
(Clockwise, from top left) Tina Cross, Jackie Clarke, Ainslie Allen, Chris Crowe, Paul Ross, Chris Fennessy.
Some of New Zealand's most popular singers will star in the Otago Daily Times "Big Night In" 150th anniversary community concert.

Tina Cross (Auckland), Jackie Clarke (Auckland), Ainslie Allen (Wellington), Paul Ross (Auckland) and Chris Crowe (Wellington) will join former-Dunedin artist Chris Fennessy and a host of regional singers and dancers in the concert at Forsyth Barr Stadium on November 12.

"We're absolutely delighted with the artists involved. The calibre is just outstanding. Everyone we've invited is either at the peak of their game, or is well on their way," artistic director Doug Kamo said yesterday.

"Our musical director, Stuart Walker, has been rehearsing with the ensemble for the last few weeks and everybody has been incredibly enthusiastic. It's coming along just nicely."

Mr Kamo spent two months travelling around the South Island, auditioning nearly 200 performers for the landmark concert.

Regional guest artists include Dunedin schoolgirl Kylie Price (18), who won the Good Morning "Find a Star" national television talent quest in August, and Wanaka country singer Jody Direen (22), who came third in the competition. Tina Cross was the judge of the competition.

To make the concert as family-friendly as possible, just about every music genre would be represented, Mr Kamo said, "with a few extra little surprises in store on the night".

"The stage is going to be like a giant front page of the ODT,"he revealed.

The singers were equally excited yesterday.

"I feel honoured to be invited. I saw the stadium in the Rugby World Cup and it looks fantastic. Just magnificent," Jackie Clarke said.

"I've been watching all the players running around after the ball and now it's our turn to have a ball," the New Zealand Idol judge said.

For Brisbane singer Chris Fennessy, who grew up in Dunedin, it will be a special return home.

"It's so exciting and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a great celebration of Otago music," he said.

"The stadium looks fantastic on TV and it's going to be amazing to perform there. It's going to be such a great cross-section of styles."

Tina Cross had a string of hits in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, including the Shortland Street television soap theme, while Ainslie Allen has been contracted to perform one of the national anthems in the Rugby World Cup semifinals.

The "Big Night In" will celebrate the 150th anniversary of New Zealand's oldest daily newspaper and is being supported by the Dunedin City Council as the opening community concert at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Allied Press managing director Julian Smith said the concert was a "thank you" to the Otago community for 150 years of support.

Regional guest artists are: Dave Horizon, Georgie Daniell (18), Kylie Price (18), Sequoia Cunningham (15), Greg MacLeod (all Dunedin), Libby Hamilton (Alexandra), Simon Green (Queenstown), Jody Direen (Wanaka), Jack Fraser (Invercargill) and Jenn Shelton (Wellington).

Ensemble: Ben Wombwell, Darrel Read, Michael Grant, Louise Monson, Elita McDonald, Moly Devine, Christy Key, Halamehi Bloomfield, Kelly Hocking, Amanda Goodwin, Jenny Paris (all Dunedin) and Finley Brentwood (Oamaru).

OD Glee: Edward O'Driscoll, Ben Thomas, Evan Fenemor, Eleanor Aldridge, Toni Thomas, Steph O'Brien, Mitchell Fulton, Connor Blackie, Zac Seales, Callum Fisher, Sam Madden, Rosalind Manowitz (all Dunedin), Hannah Lindsay (Milton), Bryony Harrison (Balclutha), Marv Kopa (Gore) and Annalise Nelson (Geraldine).

Dancers: Petra Leonard, Briana Heffernan, Emma Holloway, Xzenia Witehira-Kutia, Elizabeth Adams, Sophia Collins, Lillian Pang (all Dunedin) and Kristie Leonard (Balclutha).

ODT circulation manager James Smith said ticket details for the November 12 concert would be released at the end of this month. Entry is by free ticket only. Gold-coin donations will be accepted at the gate for the KidsCan charitable trust and Lions club.

- nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

 

 

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