Rally organiser ‘thrilled’

Music lovers unite . . . Dunedin supporters of RNZ Concert gather in the Octagon on Friday to make their voices heard in musical items and speeches. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON/OTAGO DAILY TIMES

Organisers of Friday’s rally in support of RNZ Concert were “thrilled” with how the event came together.

Hundreds of singers, musicians, and music-lovers gathered in the Octagon to voice their support for RNZ Concert staff whose jobs are under threat.

An earlier decision by the RNZ board to remove the classical station from the FM band has been reversed, after a wave of protest around New Zealand.

Dunedin Rally for RNZ Concert co-organiser Courtney Hickmott, a performance voice student at the University of Otago, said it was “fantastic to see such strong support for RNZ Concert as a platform, from a wide range of attendees”.

“This shows that, while we may not have been the largest centre involved in the displays, we still turned out in force,” Ms Hickmott said.

Three speakers – Deputy Mayor Christine Garey, composer Prof Anthony Ritchie, and Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris – addressed the rally, covering the issues and controversies surrounding the RNZ board’s proposals “very eloquently”, she said.

“And the massed musical items were a delight to perform with singers and instrumentalists from so many different Dunedin groups.”

It was good to have the groundwork laid for possible future protests, “just in case the board don’t come to a satisfactory decision”.