Moana Ataahua, the premiere

On Saturday 8th May, Moana Ataahua, the 2009 SOUNZ Community Commission, was premiered at the 2010 ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival by the Taupo Choral Society, Tauhara College Choir, Great Lake Big Band, Taupo Youth Wind Band, Taupo Concert Band, and Tauhara College Stage Band and was conducted by Justin Gibbs. Before we get to the concert, the day before we had a final rehearsal and the recording. The recording

It was such a special project and one that so many people were involved with, so making a recording to keep as a memory was an absolute must. I have not personally heard it yet, but I have been told that it sounds great. See all the photos from the evening here, a selection is below:

Moana Ataahua, the recording 17

Moana Ataahua, the recording 7

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Moana Ataahua, the recording 14

Moana Ataahua, the recording 13

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The concert

The morning setup and sound check went well and the weather (thank goodness) was pleasant. The concert was the groups all performing their own set, leading up to Moana Ataahua at the end. They absolutely nailed it! Far better than the recording the night before and by far the best they ever performed it. Stephen Gibbs at SOUNZ said:

The well-rehearsed group gave a committed and enthusiastic performance of the work that was equally well-received by the audience. The compositional skills that Ryan brought to the work were apparent in the way that he was able to layer, mix and blend relatively straight-forward musical lines for such a wide range of voices and instruments. The result was a work full dynamic changes: verve, interest, subtlety, and volcanic energy leaving performers and audience with a suitable sense of grandeur.

"If Lake Taupo were a piece of music, what would it sound like?" was the Festival's introduction. Ryan provided an apt answer.

See the entire SOUNZ article here. Here are some photos from the setup:

Moana Ataahua concert Taupo 4

Moana Ataahua concert Taupo 5

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Moana Ataahua concert Taupo 17

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The concert selection (see most photos here and the rest here):

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Moana Ataahua concert Taupo 8

Moana Ataahua concert 2

Moana Ataahua concert Taupo 13

Moana Ataahua concert 1

It was such a big project for the community, they were proud of it, they put so much rehearsal time into it, and all stops were pulled so to see the polished and fine performance at the end of the journey was just fantastic. In the weeks leading up to premiere I was looked after so well by the ERUPT festival and the community so a huge thank you to everyone. A big thank you must also go to festival director Drew James who thought of the project and SOUNZ for making it happen with their community commission.