With my parents having lived in NZ for well over a decade, I feel a slight excitement whenever we’re able to visit this beautiful country. I was an adult by the time they moved, so I never really lived here, but it’s always felt in some ways like a home country for me – along with the US where Stephanie’s from, of course! It’s perhaps most odd for me that my children are all citizens of the US, whereas I’m not (although I’m sure I can fix that in time).
The beauty of the landscape, and the friendliness of the people, are probably the two abiding memories I take with me whenever I’ve visited New Zealand. We’ve been here for only two days so far, and Christchurch is definitely still in recovery from the devastating earthquake of seven years ago, but it’s great to see the green shoots of recovery as the city rebuilds. The people are resilient, and a 21st century city is rising from the rubble.
Three-week tours can seem interminable at times – particularly for those we leave behind – and I have to say I’m looking forward to getting home. We finish in Auckland on Sunday, which will be the second of two performances with Voices NZ, and I’m making a mad dash for home first thing on the Monday morning. That being said, it’ll still take around 36 hours of constant flights and layovers before I finally arrive! It’s a long journey, to say the least.
I’m intrigued to perform with Voices NZ. Their reputation is excellent, and we have a wonderful new commission from Leonie Holmes that we’re very much enjoying so far. The opportunity to sing with choirs around the world is always enjoyable – it creates a different sound texture in our programming, as well as allowing us a collaborative element that helps to spread the message that singing is a GOOD thing to do!
Some of you may have seen my two pieces of news from earlier this week, announced on Facebook and further afield: from 2019 I will become a Professor at the University of Redlands, in California, teaching a brand new Masters degree in choral chamber music and business. It’s a unique course, that’s taken well over a year to write and have approved, and I’m so excited about this next step in life as I aim to help choral students to understand the music industry as well as honing their choral skills. The faculty there is truly excellent and I’m delighted to be joining.
I’m also honoured to have been shortlisted for the position of Artistic Director with the Phoenix Chorale, one of America’s finest choral ensembles. Being able to direct a professional ensemble has always been an ambition of mine, and having spent almost 15 years being trained in the finest choral arena there is – as a member of The King’s Singers – I can’t wait to have the opportunity to take a full project with the Chorale next February, as the final stage in their recruitment process. Cross your fingers for me!
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