Students from Brightwater School join Richmond Mall manager Belinda de Clercq, musical directors John Phillips and Paulette Nott, and Hope School principal Dave Pritchard to announce the Rock da House combined schools musical initiative. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Schools set to ‘Rock da House’

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Nearly every fortnight between the end of this month and August, Richmond Mall will host a mini concert as excitement builds for the 2014 Rock da House event.

Thirty-three schools from across the region have confirmed their place in the Richmond Mall sponsored event – the largest school music initiative in the Top of the South.

The initiative is about encouraging participation, developing talent and creating opportunities, and is coordinated by musical directors John Phillips and Paulette Nott, along with Dave Pritchard, Leallen Andersen and Monika Burrows who represent some of the region’s schools.

Before the final three concerts in Motueka on August 18, 19 and 20, choirs, duos and soloists will perform in the mall food court nearly every second Thursday evening for about an hour.

Richmond Mall manager Belinda de Clercq says a schedule for the mini concerts would be confirmed in the coming week, and she was excited about the opportunity to be involved with Rock da House. “We’re a community mall and the schools are the centre of the community. It creates a bit of excitement for our customers,” she says. “It looks like we’ll have a mini concert every fortnight and that’ll be between 6:30pm and 7:30pm in the food court, starting in March.”

Last year’s show in Nelson drew a total audience of 3500 over the three nights, making it a huge success, and musical director John Phillips was excited to have the mall on board for 2014. “The mall is becoming a bit of a hub for us for little performances like family duos, and there’s a roster of schools coming down,” he says. “It’s fresh and funky and everyone is getting in behind it.”

Another new initiative this year is the development of the Richmond Mall Rock da House regional choir – an auditioned choir of about 60 kids with exceptional talent.