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Singers celebrate International Women's Day

Wednesday 10 March 2021 1:27pm


On Monday a choral "flash mob" met in the Link to mark International Women's Day, celebrate Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne's service to Otago, and welcome new Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jessica Palmer.

The Octagon Ensemble sang the "Gloria" movement from Laura Jekasone's Folk Mass, Truth by Andrea Ramsey, and Te Aroha.

School of Performing Arts Lecturer in Voice Dr Tessa Romano and John Buchanan founded the group in January 2020. Mr Buchanan, an Aotearoa choral conductor who recently received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to choral music, has retired to Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Tessa Romano image
Dr Romano

Dr Romano says the ensemble is an ever-changing mix of musicians and always involves singing students from Otago's voice programme and several alumni.

"We recognised there was a lack of specialised small vocal ensembles in Ōtepoti that were highlighting the wonderful diversity in choral repertoire, especially in works composed in the last decade."

The singers were (above, from left) Dr Tessa Romano, Michelle Walker (Otago voice alumna), Lillian Gibbs (current Otago voice student), Anna Tarbotton (community member), Erica Paterson (recent Otago voice graduate), Rhiannon Cooper (current Otago MMus student in voice), Sophie Gangl (community member and singer in Dunedin City Choir), Ondine Gottschalk (community member and singer in St Paul's Cathedral Choir), and pianist Sharon McLennan.