26 May 2016
Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin are home to some of New Zealand’s finest young voices, with the 10 semi-finalists from these four centres now chosen to continue their Lexus Song Quest journey.
The contestants selected this week to take the next step towards the Grand Finals at the Auckland Town Hall in July are Madison Nonoa (Soprano, Auckland), Imogen Thirlwall (Soprano, Wellington), Harry Grigg (Baritone, Dunedin), Filipe Manu (Tenor, Auckland), Tavis Gravatt (Bass Baritone, Auckland), Jarvis Dams (Baritone, Hamilton), Benson Wilson (Baritone, Auckland), Emily Mwila (Soprano, Wellington), Bradley Christensen (Baritone, currently overseas) and Sophie Sparrow (Soprano, Dunedin).
Around 50 contestants competed in the initial round, and preliminary judges Graham Pushee and Patricia Price commented on the high calibre of singers, overall. "I arrived in NZ feeling hopeful and honored to have been invited to judge such a prestigious competition. My expectations were fully met! The organisation was most impressive, and the singers we listened to were of the highest quality, vocally and artistically. It was a very satisfying experience indeed,” Patricia said.
Emily Mwila of Wellington said she was “still buzzing”, a few days after hearing she made it into the next stage of the Lexus Song Quest competition.
The 10 semi-finalists will meet in Wellington in early July to work with head international judge Yvonne Kenny, where they will submit a detailed study proposal to be discussed with Ms Kenny during an intensive masterclass week.
With $85,000 in prizes to be won this year, the Lexus Song Quest can be a life changing course for the top contestants, with the winner receiving a total prize of $50,000, and the runner up receiving an immediate cash prize of $8,000, supported by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, plus a study scholarship of $10,000.
Third and fourth place getters receive $1,000 each. A further $15,000 prize, sponsored by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, will be awarded to the singer who has demonstrated great potential through the semi-finals stage of the competition.