Anderson Park was the place to be for the Invercargill City Council Parks Week celebrations recently, the sun shone and Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) music and audio students shone also; the iconic southern mansion provided an epic backdrop for the budding entertainers who were warmly received by the attending public.
The Family Fun Fair on March 13th provided a variety of family-friendly activities in the grounds of Anderson Park, with more than 600 people enjoying face painting, bouncy castles, animal balloons, rock painting and more – and for the first time, SIT students provided live music for the event.
Claire Benedict, tutor for the Schools of Contemporary Music and Audio Production said when the Anderson Park Trust contacted her to ask if SIT wanted to be involved with their students, she said yes, as performance opportunities in the community for creative students are of high value.
Practical experience is an integral part in many SIT programmes, the coveted performance spots allow music and audio students to gain real-life education and they pull out all the stops to bring their ‘A-game’ when entertaining the public. In the process it helps the development of their stage presence, professionalism and musicality.
The students worked hard at preparing suitable material for the family-focused day, covers were chosen with some of their own original material integrated into performances.
Ms Benedict said when the students arrived at Anderson Park to set up their gear, they were rapt when they realised their stage was directly in front of Anderson House. The inspiring scenery helped create a performance energy and their diligence paid off, as all involved had an amazing day.
Ms Benedict said the successful performances provided a big boost to the students’ self-esteem. They received such positive feedback from Anderson Park organisers, the opportunity for ongoing involvement in the event is promising.
“It went very smoothly... it was a very successful day and we got amazing photos and video, which is something the students can use in their portfolios”.
“It’s really great to see the rewards of the effort put into getting creatives recognised and into the industry. We are also dedicated to supporting our community spaces that are unique, historic and encourage the creative arts”, said Ms Benedict.
Rebecca Coats of Anderson Park Trust said when organising the day she was looking for a particular style of music which would enhance the atmosphere of the event – it needed to be light- hearted, easy to listen to, and entertaining - she approached SIT to see if they could meet the brief.
The student performances ticked all the boxes with an eclectic mix of genres played – jazz style, soul, light pop - the easy-listening selection created just the right tone - inviting people in, to relax and enjoy the chilled-out sounds. “They were well received, we noticed the mixed-age crowd they drew, just enjoying the ambience”, she said.
SIT student Tom Tutahione sang vocals for The Flock, and was also one of the audio engineers for the event. He said he enjoyed the beautiful day as much as the audience did, because the students had the opportunity to showcase their abilities.
“It was a great opportunity to show the public our skills... The chance to mix a live performance for an audience outside of SIT made it more real, made it feel like we actually had the skills to make it in the audio industry”.
Mrs Coats said the trust were pleased with the good turnout at the event and hopes the Family Fun Day will continue as an annual date on the calendar, and they’re keen to foster an ongoing relationship with SIT music and audio students because the formula worked so well.
“The students performed brilliantly on the day, they sounded very professional and exceeded our expectations ”, she said.