Ambitious Otaki Concert Great Value

Kapiti Concert Orchestra Celebrates in style

 By Ralph McAllister

Nga Purapura Who would have thought that we would have queues and traffic jams at Nga Purapura last Sunday in the middle of the afternoon?

The occasion was a concert to celebrate 10 years of classical music by the Kapiti Concert Orchestra.

Helped by the Kapiti Chorale and the Kapiti Chamber Choir and, most of all by celebrated pianist Michael Houstoun, conductors Ken Young and Eric Sidoti presented a programme of rich and varied delight to an audience of over 800.
Did I say 800? Indeed, surely this attendance sets a record for the Kapiti Coast?  Please let us know if there has been a bigger crowd anywhere for something of this
nature.
Walking in to the packed auditorium of the splendid Nga Purapura was a breathtaking experience in itself. Seeing over 200 performers ready to entertain us, merely added to the anticipation. The multi-purpose hall was at its best for the orchestra and soloists.

Classical treats

Michael HoustonFingal’s Cave Overture lured us in with its melodious Mendelssohn, the orchestra responding well to Young’s brisk, no nonsense tempi. This prepared us nicely for a dynamic presentation of the beloved Grieg Piano Concerto, with Michael Houstoun.

Houstoun, a truly national treasure, offered an interpretation, at once romantic and electrifying. His technique assured us from the first chords that we were in the safest of hands.

He received a rousing reception.

After the interval

The second half was bit of a hotchpotch: Carols and Fantasia, Handel and John Rutter, Thompson and Stroope.

Stroope? His Lamentations of Jeremiah was one of the discoveries and highlights of the programme. Dark and moving.

John Rutter came off well with I Wonder as I Wander touchingly performed by Shirley Gullery and choir.

80% of us stood for the Hallelujah Chorus, some of us croaking along with the combined choirs, and all of us shared, finally, in O Come All Ye Faithful.

Some minor quibbles but a great success

The stage managing could have been better. The placing of the choirs, the length of the hall, must surely have made it very difficult, to hear what was going on for the singers. Sitting at the back meant for strange echoes for some audience members.

And after the interval it would have saved time to have had the choirs and orchestra in first, no need surely for a second entry procession.

Small matter for what turned out to be one of the most successful musical ventures in this part of the country for some considerable time.

Congratulations to all concerned.

Even the traffic jams leaving Otaki seemed to be part of the fun!