Starlight Symphony

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, February 15, 2004

After a night of very heavy rain, I thought that the concert this evening might be cancelled. But in true Kiwi style (four seasons in one day) the weather turned and it was another hot sunny summers day by mid afternoon.

Sebastian, Caroline, Marissa, Kim and myself made our way from the Railway Campus building to the Auckland Domain via one of the special charter buses put on especially for this event. On the journey there we past dozens of people armed with deck chairs and iceboxes making their way to the park. I was starting to get an idea of how many people would be at this concert. Rumour has it that over 100,000 people attend this annual free event; but that is small scale compared to the estimated 800,000 people who attended a free open-air concert given by the New York Philharmonic in Central Park, New York City.

Once there we could see thousands of people already settled in on the grounds in front of the stage area. The hunt was on for a 'good spot' near the stage; we choose somewhere to the left that had a bit of shade from the bright sun. And the crowds just kept on coming; it was not long before the whole pavilion was just a sea of happy faces.

The show started with some light music and a couple of young soloists playing with the orchestra. While watching the concert we started munching on the food that we had all brought along. Caroline's creative contribution consisted of covering people with Nutella spread. She said this was normal back home in France.

In addition to the standard classical numbers there was a selection of songs from the musical Grease and a short visit from Prime Minister Helen Clark. One of the audience favourites was a video montage from Lord of the Rings on the huge screen while the orchestra played a selection from the film soundtrack.

It was not long before we came to the old favourites, Holst's Mars and Jupiter (sans Euphonium - what a travesty), Pomp and Circumstance, 1812 Overture. All in conjunction with a laser show, very loud canons and spectacular fireworks. The whole day was reminiscent of Fireworks Fantasia concerts I've attended in Birmingham, just on a grander scale.
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