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Music tutor the man behind Aotea sounds

May 31st, 2010 | By | Category: Arts/Entertainment, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

MUSIC tutor and barbershop director David Brooks has led Aotea College to many successes since 2001, and this year is no different.

brooks MAIN

ALL TOGETHER: David Brooks guides the Aotea barbershop girls in rehearsal before they won the 2010 title last month.

Last month the girls’ chorus and quartet both placed first, and the boys’ chorus finished second and the quartet third.

Having taught numerous choruses and quartets for more than 15 years, Mr Brooks says the popularity of barbershop has grown since he began teaching in 1993.

He started teaching at Aotea College after he caught the eye of music head of department Marilyn Baigent, while directing a chorus at an annual singing event.

“She spotted me at The Big Sing,” says Mr Brooks, whose barbershop involvement has taken him overseas, including to the US.

He taught his first schoolboys’ quartet, Pacific Sounz, in 2001 for one hour a week and they placed second in the Wellington Young Singers in Harmony regional competition and second at the national competition.

Mr Brooks says he started his first girls’ chorus in 2002 with 20 keen members.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm, the energy was great.”

Now the chorus has more than 70 singers and over the years members have gone on to finish top in New Zealand and represent the country overseas.

Mr Brooks says the girls’ chorus has always had the advantage of producing a warm sound which gives them top marks every year, whereas the boys’ chorus are always fun to work with because they contribute humour to their music.

“In the girls’ chorus we’re lucky to have a lot of low voices so we have a rich sound. We are producing music at adult women level.”

He says personality changes the sound and the year 13 students show that through the leadership within the chorus.

The choruses have received a lot of support from staff and management at Aotea College by helping with uniforms, discipline and sometimes allowing students to attend practices during class.

“I think the school is very supportive,” he says.

In the two weeks leading up to the competition, Mr Brooks says he spent 10 hours a day at school and also weekends preparing the quartets.

He says his most memorable season was in 2008 when the girls’ chorus placed first in the regionals and the nationals.

“We did things we weren’t able to do before, certain things came right. It just all came together.”

On the downside, Mr Brooks talks of times of frustration but says there are also wonderful moments teaching the young singers.

Students such as Moemoe Nanai, who was in Mr Brooks’ choruses up to last year, are happy to praise their teacher for his ability to get along with the students.

“He’s a very intelligent man, the way he executes his passion into the songs we sing. He kept us interested.”

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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