World Symposium on Choral Music – Istanbul, Turkey

Our HOD of Music, Mrs Wilson, attended the World Symposium on Choral Music (WSCM) held in Istanbul from April 22 – 30th. The WSCM is the largest global gathering of choral clinicians, composers and singers and is held every three years in prominent cities around the world. Because the 2020 Symposium was cancelled due to the pandemic (scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand) there was a real buzz and excitement amongst the 2,000 delegates, presenters, and singers, especially around the theme of ‘Changing Horizons’. As well as 26 concerts from some of the top 50 choirs in the world, there were over eighty thought-provoking keynote presentations and plenaries running over the 5-day Symposium. Mr Jonathan Palmer (prior Maths teacher at WGHS) co-presented with Elise Bradley (conductor of Nota Bella choir) a session on ‘The Voices of Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (Oceania) which was well received.

Mrs Wilson, who conducts our premier Westlake choirs Cantare and Choralation, was accepted as one of eight international choral conductors to participate in a Conducting Masterclass. For six days, she worked in class with two professors: Ragnar Rasmussen from Norway and Lorenzo Donati from Italy, by conducting two choirs from Istanbul – a mixed choir and a female choir. It was an intense and pressured learning time with classes for 6 hours a day and for the last three days, the classes were open to the public to observe. The Masterclass concluded with a public concert, after which the conducting participants were presented with certificates for their achievement.

Mrs Wilson has been excited to return to her choirs at Westlake and put into practice the many lessons she has learned from this experience. She is extremely grateful to the WGHS Boards of Trustees who presented her with a travel award in 2022, that enabled her to take advantage of this once in a life-time opportunity to represent New Zealand on the global choral stage.