Spectrum 068. The composer has 25 minds
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Spectrum was a long-running weekly radio documentary series which captured the essence of New Zealand from 1972 to 2016. Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins produced the series for many years, creating a valuable library of New Zealand oral history.
Keith Hunter follows the production of a Māori youth opera in Northland. The composers and performers in the opera are all teenagers and most are Māori.
Narrated and produced by Keith Hunter.
Northland college pupils were recorded at Waitangi Marae over a four-day workshop to compose and write an opera.
Guitarist 17 year old Paki Nicholas and singer Turi Sadler are heard working on a song together. Music teacher Linden Duncan outlines the rules for staying on the marae to the students and explains how the idea for the production came about.
The students and teacher explain the story is about a boy who moves from Kaikohe to Auckland, and gets into trouble, and discovers he needs the connections of home, family and friends, even in his new home. The opera is simply called "Boy".
Babe Kapa, who is 16 is voted as the lead character, Boy.
The cast are heard rehearsing and workshopping a song called "Lonely", which includes some lyrics in te reo Māori. Veronica, one of the student writers, talks about how she came to write it.
Teacher Dave Heglund helps with the script and explains how he tries to have minimal impact on the students work. Another of the songs deals with mispronunciation of Māori placenames.
Linden Duncan talks about how the project is expanding the students' confidence in tackling new, unfamiliar musical forms. They all have musical ability although none have had any formal training.