NZ Pops Orchestra weekend debut showcases new star

  • 15/03/2012

By Ali Ikram

The New Zealand Pops Orchestra wants classical music to be fun.

The orchestra has its first concert at the Auckland Town Hall on Sunday where a star might just be born.

When you are offered an interview with a singer dubbed as the goth Hayley Westenra, it conjures up all sorts of mental images.

So how goth is Toni Gibson? She talked me through her tattoos.

"It's ancient Egyptian writing there, it says ‘window to the soul’ and I got it because it says ‘don't judge someone by their cover, look into their soul and embrace your differences’," she says.

Since winning a mall talent quest at 11, every couple of years Ms Gibson would ask Gray Bartlett to represent her but each time he knocked her back.

But now Mr Bartlett does not just manage her, he is a fan along with his international contacts.

"Most of them are besotted with her and say she's going to be one of the best we've ever produced,” he says.

He is the man who discovered Westenra, Yulia and Elizabeth Marvelly. Yet while New Zealanders have found fame in the fertile ground between classical music and pop there has not been a local stage for the sort of antics that have seen Andre Rieu sell 40 million discs worldwide.

The brand new New Zealand Pops Orchestra wants to change that starting this weekend.

Musical director Rita Paczian musical director says her aim is to move people.

“I don't care whether they laugh or cry, so long as they feel something."

Singing in front of the orchestra will be Ms Gibson’s first big concert – a long way from singing her favourite Phantom of the Opera songs in her bathroom.

"[I’m as] ready as I’ll ever be. I want it so bad, obviously I’m nervous. I’m nervous doing this [interview] right now.

“It's what I’ve always wanted and I’m going to push past my barriers and achieve my dreams.”

Her album Echo in My Soul comes out mid-year.

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source: newshub archive