College: A Night in Buenos Aires

September 08, 2014 at 9:56 AM

The Music Department has fond memories of their trip to Argentina three years ago and has been waiting for the right moment to bring the sultry music of Buenos Aires to the Saint Kentigern stage. It all came together on Saturday night when the sounds, smells, tastes and moves of the Argentinian capital filled Elliot Hall.

The department first premiered its annual themed concerts in 2010 with an invitation to the ‘Last Night of the Proms.’ Since then, the College Community has been treated to range of spectacular concerts which mix professional musicians and singers to perform alongside our students; delivering many different musical styles over the years.

MC for this year’s event, Head of Admissions, Mr Tom Gordon, had joined the 56 students who travelled to Argentina and recalled the trip with great affection. As tantalising smells began to waft from the barbecue, Mr Gordon forewarned the audience that Argentinian cuisine would hold little appeal for vegetarians!

Divided into three ‘courses,’ the ‘Entrada’ dished up a popular pair who have supported many of our musical evenings. Concert pianist, Matteo Napoli and his wife, soprano, Lilia Carpinelli joined to set the tone for the evening before the first course was served – choripan con salsa creolla (chorizo and milk bread).

For the ‘Plato Principal,’ our premier choir, Kentoris, teamed with the Buenos Aires Orchestra, a mix of students and professional musicians. The choir was supported by opera singers, soprano, Hannah Bryant and tenor, Andrew Grenon. Combined, they delivered the haunting, ‘Misa Criolla,’ the signature work of Argentine pianist and composer, Ariel Ramirez. A Catholic mass, this was written in the early 1960’s just as the Second Vatican Council permitted the celebration of Mass in the ‘vernacular.’

Written in Spanish, rather than Latin, it introduces indigenous instruments and rhythms. ‘Misa Criolla’ had its origins in a post-Holocaust visit to Germany by Ramirez, he said, ‘I felt that I had to compose something deep and religious that would revere life and involve people beyond their creeds, race, colour or origin. The song is a tribute to human dignity, courage and freedom, with a distinct message of Christian love.’

A main course of manuka roasted savannah sirloin with chimichurri dressing followed before moving on to the ‘Postre.’ The next guest drew the biggest applause of the night from our students, calling for an encore, as Eddie Giffney’s deft finger work flew across the piano accordion. His musicianship and audience appeal made it clear why he has been both a New Zealand and Pacific Region champion twice.

A taste of tarta de zapallo en almibar (goat cheese tart with candied pumpkin) completed the courses and brought the evening to a cross roads – the tango! It had been made clear from the outset that this was not a moment to watch, but one to get up, learn, following instructors, Martyn Atack and Vikki Brannagan and be at one with the tango!

As giggling students, staff and parents who were keen to give it a go surged forwards, some of the ‘not so keen’ dads could be seen beating a hasty retreat! Not necessarily for fear of revealing two left feet, but in hope of getting home in time to see the All Blacks beat Argentina! Which they did, 28-9!

Our thanks to Choral Director, Mr Lachlan Craig and his team for bringing the evening together. A special thanks to the professional musicians and singers who gave their time to work alongside our students. Yet another fantastic evening of music on a theme.

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