Kiwi music legend Don McGlashan (The Mutton Birds, Blam Blam Blam, From Scratch, The
Front Lawn) has added his name to the list of those performing a fundraiser for Sistema
Aotearoa, the children’s music education programme based in Otara and run by Auckland
Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) with funding for a pilot scheme from the Ministry for Culture &
McGlashan will share the stage with the Jade String Quartet, and joins a bill that already
includes award-winning 14-year-old singer Khona Va’aga-Gray, soprano Morag Atchison and
pianist Rosemary Barnes.
The concert, which takes place from 3pm Saturday 10 March, also marks the rare and
welcome appearance as a pianist of APO Music Director Eckehard Stier, who performs jazz
standards with violinist Dr Joe Harrop, Programme Director of Sistema Aotearoa.
Emcee for the afternoon is the accomplished actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand, who also
worked with Don McGlashan in the music/theatre group The Front Lawn.
Since Sistema Aotearoa launched in April 2011 the young pupils, aged between five and eight
years, have played several concerts, including one to 600 people at TelstraClear Pacific
Events Centre in Manukau. And while they’ve performed to family, friends and even
government ministers, the fundraising concert will be in front of their most important guest yet:
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General of New Zealand. Indeed, the
concert is held outside on the lawn of Sir Jerry’s official Auckland residence, Government
“I’d like to thank Their Excellencies Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine for making
Government House available to the children of Sistema Aotearoa,” says APO Chief Executive
Barbara Glaser. “Through our season-opening Summer Matinee concerts, the APO has had a
strong relationship with Government House for 20 years, and there is nowhere we would
rather be for this event. I’d also like to thank all the artists, who have generously donated their
time and talent to this wonderful cause. We take immense pride in Sistema Aotearoa, and
with the help of people like Don McGlashan and Jennifer Ward-Lealand, we hope to secure
additional instruments and ensure the ongoing success of the programme.”
The concert is free to attend, but because it is held at the Governor-General’s residence, it is
open only to ticket holders. For more information and to secure your ticket, click HERE or phone (09) 623 1052. The concert is held outdoors and
in the open; the rain date is Sunday 11 March.
About Sistema Aotearoa:
Launched in April 2011, Sistema Aotearoa is a music education and social intervention
initiative led by Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with funding for a two-year pilot programme
coming from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Sistema Aotearoa is based at Otara Music
Arts Centre (OMAC) in Otara town centre.
The first Sistema programme was founded in Venezuela in the mid-1970s. More than 400,000
children learn an orchestral instrument, and the programme has been credited with a drop in
youth crime, a rise in school attendance rates, and a reduction in the number of young people
falling into lives of gangs and drugs.
In New Zealand, initial indications suggested that the first Sistema intake would comprise 50
students; however, 80 children turned up on the first day. Sistema Aotearoa now has more
than children enrolled and attending regular classes in music instrument instruction.
The students are drawn from 7 primary schools, all within walking distance of OMAC. This is
part of the Sistema philosophy, whereby there should be no cost – and therefore no economic
barriers – to musical participation. Similarly, instruments are provided free of charge, as is the
tuition, which is supplied by professional musicians and music teachers.
As well as the after-school classes and school holiday immersion courses attended by the
core students, tutors from Sistema Aotearoa travel to the 7 schools during class time to give
lessons in general musicianship, meaning that the programme has now exposed 450 children
in the Otara area to the joys of music making.