Rally to support RNZ Concert

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Stepping up . . . Organisers of Friday's Dunedin Rally for RNZ Concert, (from left) singers Courtney Hickmott and Anna Leese Guidi, and Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris are keen to show their support for the announcers and technicians of RNZ Concert. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Waiata and a short excerpt from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy will be sung during a public protest rally in support of RNZ Concert tomorrow, February 28, in the Octagon.

Organised by local lovers of classical music, led by Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris and singers Anna Leese Guidi and Courtney Hickmott, the musical protest will be held from 4.30pm.

The protest will be addressed by Prof Anthony Ritchie and Tessa Dalgety-Evans and the singing will be led by City Choir Dunedin members and a contingent of performance voice students from the university, conducted by David Burchell.

The Dunedin Rally for RNZ Concert is one of multiple protest rallies taking place around New Zealand on Friday, to protest threatened job-losses among RNZ Concert’s expert announcers and technicians.

On Monday, thousands gathered at the Parliament forecourt to highlight the issue and celebrate RNZ Concert’s 87th birthday.

The Dunedin co-organisers are passionate about RNZ Concert’s value to musicians and music-lovers in New Zealand and around the world.

Ms Harris said RNZ Concert was “vitally important for New Zealand’s culture and identity”.

“Their recording of orchestral music and choirs is invaluable so important that our voice is heard on the radio.

“Our sector has had so many body blows in recent years and these proposed cuts are striking at the heart of classical music in New Zealand hence the outcry around the county,” she said.

Ms Leese Guidi said RNZ Concert had a long history of supporting young musicians and singers, which had helped to launch many careers.

“For myself, appearing on RNZ Concert really helped to raise my profile as a singer and led to more work for me.

“It is an integral part of the career path for musicians.”

Ms Hickmott, who is studying performance voice at the University of Otago, said RNZ Concert was available free to all and it was vital that it was retained.

“These proposed cuts feel like the final nail in the coffin,” she said.

All are welcome to attend the Octagon rally and those who wish to join in the singing are welcome to attend an optional short rehearsal at Hanover Hall at 3.30pm, before taking part in the rally at 4.30pm.

If raining, the rally will be held in the Regent Theatre.