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Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival marks 80 years

The sound of music from students across Christchurch will fill the Town Hall for the first time since the quakes.

The Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival will mark its 80th year with a series of performances in the newly-reopened Town Hall from 5 November.

More than 4000 children are involved in the festival, which features choir singers, a symphony orchestra and a concert band.

Musical Director Patrick Shepherd says the festival gives primary and intermediate students from all socio-economic areas the chance to take part in a high-quality performance, while also fostering a love for music-making.

“In the 80 years  the festival has been operating, we have seen  participants go on to have  careers in music. Many ex-festival students are now key members of the CSO, NZSO, National Youth Choirs and registered NZ Composers, who work nationally and internationally,” he says.

“The concerts provide an opportunity for schools and children to come together and participate  in vocal and instrumental performance on a grand scale, which they may not otherwise experience.”

Mr Shepherd says this year’s theme is ‘You’re the Voice’ – taken from the John Farnham song of the same name.

“We chose this theme because that is exactly what the festival does, it gives the children a voice and a platform on which to use their voice.”

Mr Shepherd says part of the festival will be dedicated to the victims and loved ones of the March 15 mosque shootings.

“There’s this line saying ‘we’re not going to live in fear’, and I think that really hits home. The theme has become even more pertinent.”

He says being able to host the event in the Town Hall after years of displacement will be “incredible”.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on all the children’s’ faces when they are there. We have been rabbiting on about how amazing it is, and about the acoustics – they’ll be blown away.”

The Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival will run over four nights from 5-8 November. Visit their website for more information, and to purchase tickets: