Getting their vowel sounds right for Otago tour

Rehearsing at All Saints’ Church, North Dunedin, are Dunedin members of the New Zealand Youth...
Rehearsing at All Saints’ Church, North Dunedin, are Dunedin members of the New Zealand Youth Choir (from left) Kristen Roxburgh, Rosie McAllister, Nick Finnie, Ewen Clarke-Wallace, Rosie Auchinvole and Emma Suzana. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Some of the country’s best young singers have been working on their vowels.

The New Zealand Youth Choir embarks on a tour of Otago next week, and the Dunedin-based members say they are looking forward to performing in front of friends and family.

Soprano Kristen Roxburgh, 19, said they sang "a lot of different languages".

"We take our languages very seriously.

"The more you do it, you lock into a system of vowels. We have a very good vocal consultant."

Tenor Ewen Clarke-Wallace, 20, agreed.

"Every language has its own musical tradition, you learn about it all as you go along."

The 50-strong New Zealand Youth Choir last performed together as a unit in September, but most of the Dunedin contingent kept up with their singing through the Southern Youth Choir.

"It’s very open and welcoming, but it’s also at a high level," soprano Rosie McAllister, 20, said.

The singers all enjoyed Waiata and Polynesian music, particularly when they had the opportunity to sing it in overseas competitions.

"In Denmark and Wales, we’re singing at world-renowned competitions, and it will be cool to bring our music to their corner of the world," Miss McAllister said.

Mr Clarke-Wallace said it was just as enjoyable bringing classical music to "tiny towns" as it was singing on big international stages.

"They really respond to it.

"As a choir, we put a lot of effort into performing the work as intended.

"It’s not your normal ‘let’s just hold this together’ experience, it’s about how are the vowels meant to sound — what do the words actually mean," he said.

The New Zealand Youth Choir will perform at the Lake Wānaka Centre on April 25 and St Paul’s Cathedral in Dunedin on April 28.