Wellington Scoop

Topp Twins to join hundreds of musicians performing at Parliament, in support of RNZ Concert


The Topp Twins and Karen O’Leary (Officer O’Leary, Wellington Paranormal) are among the thousands voicing support for RNZ Concert by offering to MC the “Birthday Bash” at Parliament on Monday. RNZ Concert is the country’s only classical music and jazz station, and its future has been at risk since RNZ announced plans to axe its FM frequency in favour of a new youth station.

Monday has been chosen as the date for the event because it was 87 years ago that the government first set up 2YC, the station that morphed into RNZ Concert, and it’s about time that was celebrated.

Hundreds of musicians will perform on the steps of Parliament, and speakers include 17-year old violinist Jess Jenkins, studying te reo for NCEA, who was one of thousands to write to MPs voicing support for RNZ Concert and opposition to the planned new youth station.

“Let’s think about it; how many of our generation are actually going to listen to this new station? We have Spotify, Soundcloud, YouTube Music, Apple Music, Google Music, Shazam, Amazon Music, Deezer… the list continues.”

“I don’t know where RNZ get their numbers from when they say the vast majority listening to RNZ Concert is over 65. That’s not true of my friends. And when you think about all the youth orchestras and competitions that Concert records, I would say that Concert is far more in touch with young New Zealand than National.”

Composer Claire Cowan, who is the driving force behind Save RNZ Concert, is one of many flying in from other centres to attend.

“One amazing side-effect of this horrible situation has been the amount of love that has been pouring in to us from all over New Zealand. My favourite is the text that said “If Concert is elitist, then I as a retired truckdriver have at last made it up the ladder.”

Other speakers at the concert will include Andy Foster Mayor of Wellington, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, poet Bill Manhire, and conductor of the Orpheus Choir Brent Stewart, who will be conducting the largest group of musicians that Parliament has ever seen or heard.

Music numbers in the concert will include ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana, Mozart’s heartfelt ‘Lacrymosa’ from the movie Amadeus, trombone quartet Bonanza, Porirua’s Virtuoso Strings, and of course numbers from Karen O’Leary and the two Dames themselves – The Topp Twins.

Cowan says: “We’re going to be making the biggest noise that Wellington has heard for some time. And yes, there will be cake!”

Monday 24 February, 4pm-5.30pm

News from Orchestra Wellington – 19 February
Hundreds of musicians will perform on the steps of Parliament to voice their opposition to plans to axe Radio NZ Concert, the country’s only classical and jazz music station.

A massed choir and orchestra, conducted by Wellington’s Brent Stewart, have chosen RNZ Concert’s 87th birthday, Monday 24th February, to voice their support, with a performance of the classical hit Carmina Burana.

“It has been very encouraging to see so many New Zealanders rallying to the cause of the long established and well respected RNZ Concert Programme,” said Helen Clark, former Prime Minister and former Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

“A concert on the steps of Parliament reminds us how important the Concert Programme is to our performing artists and composers. The station is a significant contributor to the arts and culture in New Zealand with high intrinsic value. It deserves to be supported.”

Brent Stewart, the music director of Wellington’s Orpheus Choir, said the 24th of February 1933 was the day the government first set up 2YC, the predecessor station of RNZ Concert.

“We applaud efforts to set up an intelligent youth orientated network in New Zealand, but is really necessary to kick Beethoven off the radio in order for it to happen?”

“It’s madness that the CEO and Board of RNZ could so flippantly take away the beating heart of our musical infrastructure.”

“We cannot stand by and become the only developed country without a dedicated and well presented Art Music station. It will cripple our orchestras, bands, choirs, and future generations of musicians.”

RNZ plans to shift Concert to the lower quality AM frequency, to free up the station’s FM network for a new youth music channel.

Orchestra Wellington’s General Manager Kirsten Mason is calling people to join the protest at Parliament grounds.

“Orchestra Wellington is delighted to be part of the birthday celebrations for RNZ Concert. For almost nine decades this radio station has belonged to and been loved by New Zealanders. I urge everyone who loves classical music and jazz and believes that they have an important place in our culture to come along – come
and sing, come and play – or just come and support our radio station!”

Concert organisers Claire Cowan, composer, Brent Stewart, conductor and Kirsten Mason, General Manager Orchestra Wellington, plan to release more details about artists and invited guests in coming days.

Carl Orff’s choral-orchestral masterpiece Carmina Burana is a widely popular piece which has been heard in the movies over 15 times. The movement ‘O Fortuna’ has become a highly recnisable staple in popular culture, setting the mood for dramatic situations.

The concert will begin at 4pm on Monday 24th February at Parliament.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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  1. Barbara Smyth, 11. February 2020, 10:52

    I will definitely be there on the steps of Parliament on the 24th of February and I will send this link out to as many friends as I can.

  2. Neil Douglas, 11. February 2020, 12:15

    I don’t think many Parliamentarians will be there. They don’t usually sit on Mondays.

  3. Traveller, 11. February 2020, 12:29

    But all the important ones will be there – Cabinet meets on Mondays …

  4. Lindis Taylor, 19. February 2020, 20:22

    Well, we can at least hope that the Wellington region members and list members will show up. Especially if everyone sends messages to our MPs threatening to abandon support if they don’t. That should terrify them.

  5. Rochelle Wilson, 21. February 2020, 14:40

    Now the proposed changes have been canned .. will the concert still be going ahead?

  6. Neil Douglas, 21. February 2020, 19:13

    I suggest everyone wears a cardigan Rochelle at the Protest Concert to make clear to RNZ management we don’t want our program dumbed down by people like Kate Hawkesby (she thinks we RNZ Concert listeners are a cardigan wearing elite).

  7. Brent Stewart, 21. February 2020, 19:34

    Things are ramping up for the Birthday Bash on Parliament Grounds this Monday at 4pm. Great presenters and performers are lining up. Remember, everyone is invited to perform in the two massed items. Please bring your own stand and download your own scores from here. http://www.savernzconcert.com

  8. Claire Cowan, 21. February 2020, 19:48

    Got your scores printed to play along in O Fortuna or Lacrymosa?
    Full Orchestral Parts with additional parts for younger players, SATB Choir, Melodica, descant/tenor/treble/alto recorder, sop/alto/tenor/ bari sax, all brass band instruments. Download scores here.
    -Your instrument
    -Your music, printed and preferably in a folder
    -Pegs to combat the wind
    -Placards, signs, banners with clear messages on them
    -Birthday Party attire!
    -Foldable music stands if possible.
    Chairs for cellists or people who need to sit. Music stands (first come first served).PA system for speeches

  9. Don Noble, 23. February 2020, 20:54

    Will not be able to be there tomorrow. You have my full support. What a wonderful idea to give the clowns in parliament a concert. All those involved in this shocking attack on the Concert program must be removed, not in the fullness of time, but now, before they do any more harm. There was a time when such people could be held responsible for their muck ups. You can bet your bottom dollar this will be a slow unsatisfactory exercise. Nothing like a previous Labour prime minister who would have solved it virtually overnight.

  10. Marion Leader, 24. February 2020, 8:02

    Neil, the timing is actually marvellous since there is a Grand Reception for Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister in the Parliamentary Banqueting Hall between 3 and 4.
    The least the big-wigs can do at 4 o’clock is to walk a few yards and enjoy some real music.

  11. Pauline, 24. February 2020, 8:13

    Like Dom unable to make it but it has my full support and still spreading the word.