Kiwi Kapers concerts delight thousands of children with (spell)binding tale

In November, over 3,200 primary and intermediate school students enjoyed the entertaining tale of The Bookbinder at four Auckland Philharmonia Kiwi Kapers concerts held in Central and South Auckland. This enchanting stage show, presented by Auckland Philharmonia in collaboration with Trick of the Light Theatre Company, cleverly intertwined music, shadow play, puppetry and paper art.

The Bookbinder is a one-man stage show, created and performed by Trick of Light Theatre Company. Through the aid of a beautifully hand-crafted pop-up book, the story of a bookbinding apprentice, who loves to cut corners, unfolds. The show was performed in four parts, interspersed between other orchestral music, with presenter Tuaratini Ra’a weaving them together into a mesmerising cohesive performance.

These concerts were also a special opportunity for students from 53 primary and intermediate schools across Auckland to see the orchestra perform live in concert. Composer Tane Upjohn-Beatson, who worked on the original score for The Bookbinder, was commissioned to do a full-scale orchestral arrangement of the score. Between the performance of Upjohn-Beatson’s Bookbinder arrangements, the Auckland Philharmonia, conducted by David Kay, presented a lively repertoire of orchestral music that included Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald MountainDanse du Rouet et Scene from Ravel’s Mother Goose ballet, Kat’s-Chernin’s Dance of the Paper Umbrellas, Debussy’s Clair de lune and Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre.

Every student that attended a Kiwi Kapers concert was also provided with a free education resource, available in English and Te Reo Māori, with stories of the composers, an introduction to the orchestra and post-concert activities.

For over 30 years, Auckland Philharmonia’s Learn & Participate programme has delivered concerts (now called Kiwi Kapers) specifically designed to engage and delight Auckland’s primary and intermediate students with live orchestral music experiences. Thanks to the support of Creative New Zealand, Auckland Council, Four Winds and Foundation North, the programme continues to deliver these concerts and provide children with important access and engagement with orchestral music. For children, the benefits of live music experiences can include education and inspiration, creating a sense of connection and belonging, breaking down barriers to the music and musicians, and contributing to their overall wellbeing and mental health.

Next year, our Learn & Participate programme continues its great work delivering a wide range of workshops and events for schools. Some 2024 highlights that school students can look forward to include our popular annual Discovery concert for high school students, Link Up (interactive recorder concert, in partnership with Carnegie Hall), Play In South (side-by-side workshop/orchestral rehearsal for high school students of any ability), and Kiwi Kapers concerts will return to delight primary and intermediate students.

If you are a teacher or school who would like to find out more about our Learn & Participate programme or events, please go to or contact us at .

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