Thursday, August 14, 2014

What a day!

It started out smoothly.  We walked from the hostel to the main train station of Auckland. Took a 40 minute ride out to West Auckland, followed instruction and began walking to St. Dominics.  But somehow we took a wrong turn.  Just as we realized we were walking in the wrong direction, the skies opened up.  For any boy who didn't know what a "tour moment" was, he knew now.  An army of 55 marching through an intense New Zealand rain with Garment Bags in hand. We stopped for cover at - of all places - the awning of a South African cafe of sorts.  So of course, we broke out into Shosholoza.  The South African owners we bewildered and delighted.  This is exactly why we don't rent Charter Buses.  Much fewer tour moments on a tourist bus.  The boys won't soon forget this morning.

Nor will they forget the rest of the day.  They were ROCK STARS at the all girls school - as predicted. The girls cooed at the littlest boys and the oldest ones as well. ;-)  The principal said she had never experienced an assembly by a visiting group in all her years of teaching. The boys ate it up. One of our boys put it this way: "Life Lesson #23:  talent = chick magnet."

We then headed to Liston College where we were greeted by the school's Kapa Haka.  AWESOME. We were received in the traditional way. Hosts sat facing guests. And while the women staff and chaps were instructed to sit behind the men staff and chaps (for protection) a female was asked to give the honorific first speech. Martha spoke beautifully. This was followed by more greetings, songs, and dances - from both sides. Our boys were mesmerized by the welcome Haka, and the Liston boys were equally enchanted by "Cape Cod Girls."

The Maori elder Pa then taught our boys a Maori song.  He had our percussionists David and Noah join in and they were terrific ad libbing in the style of the tradition. Pa then had the boys add in traditional movements.

We returned the musical immersion by encircling Pa and teaching him a South African piece. We explained the concept of ubuntu which of course he fully understood as the same concept is central to the Maori tribe.  We'll be working with Pa more on Saturday when he teaches us a welcome Haka.  Should be fantastic.

This evening we had our joint concert with the Liston College Choir. Small but terrific group of boys and young men.  We sang several pieces together and it was really quite moving to see how connected we were after only a day together. The power of choral singing! The audience was small but extremely appreciated and quite taken by our boys. I must say they are sounding quite stunning and we are talking about recording them so we can have a tour CD . It would be the first ever all-treble KSB recording. It's about time! We  have knick-named this tour the  "WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING GRADS!" Tour. Of course we love of our Grads and our SATB concerts are always thrilling. But this tour and this particular boys are proving that the KSB Trebles are more than capable of turning in exceptional performances that move audiences in that very special KSB way.

Off to bed and then off to Hobbiton.

More later...

P.S.  Happy 15th Birthday Charles Miller!

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