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The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday May 4 2017 27 Theatre/Arts A cappella group on road to stardom • By Georgia O’Connor-Harding CITY COUPLE Malia and Julian Hay have never been afraid to take risks. It was just over a year ago they delved into the unknown, setting up the city’s first ever vocal academy specialising in contemporary a cappella singing – Voices Co. The endeavour has proven to be successful for the Linwood pair who have produced more than 20 songs, had about 50 come through their school and have three established squads. So when Television New Zealand began the hunt to find the country’s top a cappella singing group the couple decided to enter their top performance squad in the new show The Naked Choir. The ensemble made up of Mr and Mrs Hay, Liam Dacombe, Jasmine Salam and Anneliese Veronese was one of eight voice groups to be selected to compete on the reality show hosted by singer Jeff Hunkin. Already the group has made an impact singing their own version of singer-songwriter Sia’s The Greatest, making it past the first stage of the competition on Sunday. “The first week we didn’t know anything about the groups we were competing with . . . we sort of had no idea if we were the only group doing contemporary against maybe four different choirs,” Mrs Hay said. Expecting to be assigned a specific song for their first challenge, the groups were thrown a “curve ball” having to choose their own song and arrange it in two weeks. Mrs Hay said the first challenge was “agonising” with the group needing to choose a song that showcased their best skills and what contemporary a cappella is all about. Having first met at the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival when the couple was 10, Mrs Hay said the city’s music scene has been a huge part on their life. “Earthquakes aside it is very special to be representing our city. But a city that has had a lot of change and really had to pick itself up creatively,” she said. Aiming to take the title for the country’s best a cappella group is not all the Hays have on the go, with plans to take their academy into high schools later this year. ON THE TELLY: Voices Co have successfully entered their top performance squad in the national television show The Naked Choir. (From left) - Julian Hay, Jasmine Salam, Liam Dacombe, Anneliese Veronese and Malia Hay. The academy will offer schools master classes and will look to perform at schools to inspire students to study music. Plans are also in the making for the academy to run a workshop conference over the summer holidays for singers and people wanting to start up their own tutor groups. Mrs Hay said she wants the academy to contribute to the city’s music economy and help singers get paid work. “I certainly don’t think musicians work any less hard than any other profession its just it is hard to get started and that is what we are passionate about,” she said. But she said the academy is also aiming to make contemporary a cappella accessible to everyone who wants to give the style a go. •The Naked Choir airs on Sunday, 8.30pm, TV One. Voices Co appear again on May 14. Singer bares his soul in musical comedy A CITY-BASED singer, songwriter, entertainer and massage therapist will bare his soul at the upcoming Cavell Leitch International Jazz and Blues Festival. Gary Starlight, also known as Jeff Clark (right) is set to perform a three-night season of musical comedy show as part of the festival to be held at Orange Studios in Woolston. Jeff Clark is a veteran improviser who performs with The Court Jesters and has been involved in The Court Theatre’s Scared Scriptless since 1996. Clark describes his alter ego Gary Starlight as a cross between John Rowles, Elvis, Michael Buble and Pepe Le Pew. As part of the show “Gary Starlight” will recount the worst year of his life and sing the songs he wrote following each event. The one-hour show will be filled with original songs produced “out of thin air” inspired only by Clark’s interactions with the audience. The character “Gary Starlight “ first emerged as a wedding singer in The Court Jesters’ ensemble improvisation show The Early Early Late Show in 2012. Since then several shows have been created by Clark with The Gary Starlight Christmas Special at The Court Theatre in 2013 and An Evening With Gary Starlight with the Nelson Fringe Festival last year. Clark will be accompanied by pianist Kris Finnerty and guitarist/bass player Brad Kang. •Clark will perform at the Orange Studios on May 25,26 and 27. For more information on the Cavell Leitch International Jazz and Blues Festival go to http://jazzbluesfestival.co.nz/ style noun elegance and sophistication. synonyms: flair, grace, poise, polish, suaveness, urbanity, chic, finesse, taste, class, comfort, luxury, affluence, wealth, opulence, lavishness. Magazine & TV | sTyle.kiwi