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Malvina's magic!

Polished Foundation performers shine

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The concerts held at Shona McFarlane and Malvina Major Villages captivated the audience with performances from two outstanding singers: soprano Katherine McIndoe 24, and baritone Ben Reason 21, who are both are studying on foundation scholarships at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Chair of the Wellington Dame Malvina Major Foundation, George Troup, prepared the audience when he introduced Bruce Greenfield who arranged and presented the programme. "You're in for a treat!"

Bruce who has contributed greatly to the efforts of the foundation, and is an accomplished pianist accompanied the singers.

He is currently with New Zealand Opera, and works as a vocal coach and mentor at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington.

Dame Malvina was thrilled to return to the villages and was amazed how much her namesake village had changed.

She commented on the long association her foundation has with Ryman Healthcare and expounded on how much the foundation had broadened since it began in 1991 to now support not only young New Zealand singers, but the performing arts including actors, violinists, conductors, language coaching and even ballet dancers, who are studying all over the world to prepare for a professional career.

The concert began and ended with Katherine and Ben performing seductive and romantic duets from Mozart.

Tosti's L'ultima Canzone, a moving solo by Ben, was described by Bruce as "olive oil for the voice." The Last Song sung by a lover to his beloved before she is to marry another man. "It's the ultimate love song."

Following through with the romantic theme, Katherine sang Morgen, composed by Richard Strauss.

The lied, is a wedding present to his wife on the morning they are to be married – "as the sun rises and you are with the person you love."

Queen Margaret College student, Iris Ma 13, thrilled the audience playing Mendelssohn's Venetian Gondola Song, transporting the listeners to the canals of Venice and 14 year old Anna Li continued the water theme, playing a more contemporary classical piece - River flows in You, by South Korean pianist and composer Yiruma.

Both students showed outstanding ability and charmed the audience.

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An audience favourite was an English war-time song recognised by many of the older listeners and one which has featured more recently on the original motion picture soundtrack for the film, Their Finest in 2017.

The singers encouraged the audience to sing along to the refrain "You can't black out the moon!" written and composed by Art Strauss. And they loved it!

It was a fabulous, entertaining concert filled with variety, and performed by exceptional singers and pianists with a huge passion for music who captivated the audience with their professional energy and vivacity.

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