Brother act for new NZ Youth Choir

Three brothers write history in new New Zealand Youth Choir

Friday, 24 March, 2017

Three brothers write history in new New Zealand Youth Choir

For the first time in New Zealand Youth Choir (NZYC) history, three Auckland brothers – Benjamin (Tenor), Benedict (Bass) and Benett Tan (Tenor) – have all made it into the new NZYC. 

Benjamin, 23, is doing a PhD in engineering at the University of Auckland. Benedict and Benett are 19-year old twins currently studying at different universities. While Benjamin and Benedict have sung in the last NZYC, it is Bennett’s first time with the award-winning national choir. Older brother Benjamin said they were all absolutely overjoyed to have been selected for the choir. “We grew up with a lot of support from Mum and Dad, and they always encouraged us to pursue our interests. By coincidence, we all enjoyed music! However, due to the age difference between me and the twins – of about 4 years – we haven't had a lot of opportunity to be in the same groups.”

The last time they all sang together in the same choir was in 2010. Benjamin explains, “it was my last year of high school, and the twins' first! So being able to sing together and travel with music is something we look forward to, even more so now that the twins are split up, with Benett studying in Auckland, and Benedict in Dunedin.”

Benjamin said their parents were quite proud, “especially because they really think that the experience NZYC provides is quite unique; it's such a great opportunity to be able to pursue musical excellence but also gain so many other skills, like teamwork, communication, and learning about cultures. There's a little bit of worry about the pressure on the wallet, but they've always believed that if we're willing to commit, and if we're really going to get something out of an experience, they'll try their best to back us all the way.”

Benjamin can confirm that all three of them are excited about the music-making ahead. “It's a real privilege singing with so much expertise in front of us – the choir has a world-class music team – and to share with and learn from those around us, and to do some repertoire that we just don't get to do in our own centres.”

NZYC has been the springboard for some impressive singing careers for Jonathan Lemalu, Anna Leese, Madeleine Pierard, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, the Sol3Mio ensemble, but also provided ‘a life-changing experience’ for TV presenter Hilary Barry.

The present New Zealand Youth Choir (NZYC) was selected from auditions held nationwide in November 2016, and is extra-special because this cohort will mark the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Youth Choir in 2019. Every three years, new auditions are held throughout the country to find around 50 of the best young singers between the ages of 18 and 25. Most are university students or working, so it’s a busy schedule, but the experiences are so worth it, especially the international tour at the end of the three-year term!

During the year, intensive workshops are held culminating in a concert or series of concerts that are toured around the country. In 2017, the New Zealand Youth Choir performs at venues in Kapiti Coast, Featherston, Wellington and on Waiheke Island.

The New Zealand Youth Choir has achieved considerable success since its formation in 1979. Performances in New Zealand and ten international tours including visits to the UK, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, Russia, the Republic of Korea and China have firmly established its reputation for consistency, energy and excellence. The Choir has won many prizes – during it's 2016 European Landmark Tour, NZYC won the GRAND PRIX at the 2016 IFAS in the Czech Republic and the CHOIR OF THE WOLRD title in 1999 at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales. Music Director is the renowned choral conductor David Squire.

This new New Zealand Youth Choir can be seen and heard for the first time in Wellington on ANZAC weekend.

The New Zealand Youth Choir receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and New Zealand Community Trust, the principal sponsor is Infratil.

More information about the new NZYC members.