The Wallace Foundation provides grants to a wide range of arts projects throughout the year – and it’s not just the big organisations that benefit. Often it’s the smaller projects from emerging artists that receive the support so badly needed to launch their fresh, new ideas onto the stage in front of New Zealand audiences.
Rainbow Rosalind Meets the Orchestra! was one of these projects. Musician and children’s singer/songwriter Rosalind Manowitz – aka Rainbow Rosalind – received funding towards a concert she devised with the Dunedin Youth Orchestra, held at the Dunedin Town Hall in October this year. This family-friendly concert was offered free of charge, with the aim of bridging the gap between children and classical music, especially families who might not normally go along to experience a classical music concert. Each of the 16 original songs (written by Rosalind) introduced a different aspect of classical music and dance performance (the strings, brass, percussion, the conductor, tuning, the ballet dancers, bowing at the end of a concert and so on). This was an interactive show, giving children the chance to conduct the orchestra, sing and dance along as well as see the musical instruments and players close-up after the concert.
Te Reo Māori was also integrated throughout the concert, with many of Rosalind’s song lyrics providing translations into Te Reo as well as using greetings and instructions in Te Reo.
The event was a huge success, with nearly 2,000 people filling up the hall and children dancing and singing throughout the show. SOUNZ sent their team to the event to make an audio and film recording which will be made available online on the SOUNZ website. Feedback was really positive and further opportunities for Rosalind have arisen as a result of the event.
The grant from The Wallace Foundation assisted Rosalind by enabling her to offer it to families free of charge – and the concert gave her the opportunity to debut 10 new works to a large audience. Working on her compositions in rehearsals with the Dunedin Youth Orchestra alongside conductor Anthony Ritchie provided valuable mentoring. And the experience of putting on a large-scale event provided Rosalind with the chance to learn and grow not only her musical skills but her organisational skills as well – skills she can use to continue building a career in the arts.
For more information on applying for a contestable grant click here.