Kapiti Concert Orchestra at Nga Purapura

By Margaret Andrews

Otaki’s Angela Ford during her clarinet solo, with conductor Vincent Hardaker at right Otaki’s Angela Ford during her clarinet solo, with conductor Vincent Hardaker at right
Otaki’s Angela Ford during her clarinet solo, with conductor Vincent Hardaker at right

The Kapiti Concert Orchestra began its 10th anniversary concert series with an Otaki concert, performed in the Ngapurapura complex.

To begin the year’s celebrations, the Otaki concert featured three soloists, all longstanding members. Otaki’s Angela Ford on clarinet, Robert Dussler on cello and Jay Hancox on violin, had all played in the orchestra’s first concert in November 2004. Up and coming young conductor was Vincent Hardaker from Christchurch. “It’s been a great pleasure to be able to conduct the Kapiti Concert Orchestra,” Hardaker told the audience. “You are so lucky to have such a great ensemble here in Kapiti. I’ve had an enjoyable few weeks preparing.”

The programme opened with Douglas Lilburn’s Aotearoa Overture, the first movement which was repeated as an encore to bring the afternoon to a close. This piece, one of Lilburn’s three early works, centred on the theme of national identity, was written in 1940.

Angela Ford’s clarinet solo in Andante for Clarinet and Orchestra by Alice Mary Smith was the first time it has been performed by an orchestra in New Zealand.

The Elegie for Cello and Orchestra by Gabriel Faure followed, with a solo performance by Robert Dussler and Jay Hancox’s solo by Romanze for Violin by Johan Svendsen, brought the afternoon to a close. Hancox was also the orchestra’s leader. Other musical interludes in the programme included English Folk Song Suite by Vaughan Williams, and Jean Sibelius’ Karelia Suite.

With the popularity of the orchestra’s Otaki concerts, they had outgrown the Memorial Hall, hence the move to Ngapurapura. Performed in the vast sports’ hall where the audience sat on the tiered seating looking down on the orchestra, was “different”, but had one advantage: all the musicians could be seen and followed during the concert. It didn’t appear to lose any “intimacy”, in the new venue.

The Kapiti Concert Orchestra’s next Otaki performance will be on November 23rd when the orchestra will combine with the Kapiti Chamber Choir and Kapiti Chorale, featuring pianist Michael Houstoun, under conductor Kenneth Young, again at Ngapurapura.