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Christchurch City Council Media Release 25 February 2002

Rick Armstrong Motors Classical Sparks Set to Wow Audiences this Weekend

SummerTimes® Rick Armstrong Motors Classical Sparks, Saturday March 2nd, 7pm to 9pm, North Hagley Park.

This Saturday North Hagley park will come alive to stirring classical music and stunning fireworks when Rick Armstrong Motors Classical Sparks marks the official end of the hugely popular Summertimes® festival for another season. This year Kerry Smith, well-known broadcaster and presenter of TV1’s ‘Changing Rooms’,  will MC.

For the first time pre-show entertainment will be provided from 5.45pm to 6.15pm by The Christchurch Youth Symphonic Band. The members age 13 to 21, play brass, woodwind and percussion instruments, and many of their members have gone on to professional careers. They have travelled to Hawaii and received a Gold Award in the Pacific Bands Festival, and gained several awards nationally.

This years feature programme encompasses a broad range of traditional classics, lights classics and contemporary arrangements, all presented by The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, with assistance from the Christchurch City Choir, and special guests. Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Overture is followed by Verdi’s March of the Hebrew Slaves and Stravinsky’s Infernal Dance from The Firebird Suite. The mood gets swingy with Glenn Miller’s String of Pearls, and the first half of the programme finishes with the spectacular Can Can by Offenbach.

Part two begins with the dynamic Sabre Dance by Khachaturian, followed by Love is Blue by Mauriat, and works by Puccini, Elgar and Grieg.

Special guests this year include nine year-old cellist Yuuki Bouterey-Ishido, a hugely talented Christchurch youngster who is currently studying under Galyna Zelkinska. In 2001 he won a second prize in the Christchurch School of Music Competitions, and this year he passed his grade five Royal Schools Examinations with distinction. Yuuki plays Tarantella by Squire.

Ian Edwards, a local jazz specialist, joins the show with his rendition of Mancini’s The Theme to The Pink Panther on saxophone. Ian is a founding member of the Christchurch Jazz School and has played extensively as a soloist over the years, most recently on Juliet Midgley’s album ‘Haven’t We Met?’.

Sopranos Viktoria Dodoka and Leisa Falconer join forces to present the stirring Under the Weeping Jasmine Tree from the Opera Lakme by Delibes. Viktoria is Russian born, and studied singing in Krasnodar – near the Black Sea. She attended the Tchaicovsky State Conservatory in Moscow and has performed countless leading roles including Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. In 2001 she emigrated to New Zealand and last year performed the roles of Olympia and Antonia in The tales of Hoffman for Canterbury Opera.

The Christchurch Symphony will again be conducted by their Music Director Marc Taddei. A conductor with much energy and passion, Marc has worked in the US and Europe, and is a frequent guest conductor with every major professional orchestra in New Zealand.

In an evening that encompasses so much variety and interest, thousands of families will be entertained as they picnic under the stars. As always, breathtaking fireworks will bring Rick Armstrong Motors Classical Sparks to an end.

Families attending are encouraged to bring a picnic, rug or low chairs, and make use of the $3 onsite parking, and recycling facilities.

If wet, this event will run the following day on Sunday March 3rd.

Proudly presented by Christchurch City Council Leisure and supported by Rick Armstrong Motors.

For more information: Please call Beatrice Cheer, Christchurch City Council PR and Promotions Coordinator Events, Tel. 9418 495 or 025 86 88 71

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