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School and University join forces for children’s opera.

Aug 6th, 2014 | By | Category: Arts/Entertainment, Latest News

IN PREPARATION: Kelburn Normal School students from left Lara Vautier (9), Maddie Campbell(9) and Eilish Harding (11) rehearse for the Children’s Opera Brundibar to be held at St Andrews on the Terrace at the end of August. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington

A history lesson with a difference.

Kelburn Normal Primary school is joining forces with the school of music at the nearby Victoria University to stage the German children’s opera Brundibar.

The production involving 32 members of the school’s choir will double as a history lesson according to the music teacher Charles Bisley.

Brundibar, composed by Hans Krása, was originally performed by the children in a Nazi concentration camp and tells the tale of a brother and sister who join forces with a sparrow, cat and dog to outwit an evil organ grinder.

Mr Bisley says it exposes children to history and is a good way for them to take part in a wider community.

“Arts and core literacy go well together academically. It’s about getting the kids together and creating things,” he says.

Year eight student Anya Brookes has been involved in singing since year five, starting in the school choir as a Piccolo singer and progressing to Lyrica.

“Learning the music helps me understand the story,  and music lets us express ourselves as kids,” Anya says.

Victoria University, senior music education lecturer, Robert Legg, has been with the New Zealand School of Music for a year.

It was Dr Legg who approached the school regarding the opportunity for a school choir in the Brundibar Opera.

He also agrees that getting kids involved in a production like this is important for their learning.

“We forget the history of these things so we have to remind ourselves of it,” he says.

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