Igelese Ete, a New Zealand national who since 2006 has been at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva has returned to prepare a mass choir of 300 students from across various schools based around Honiara, for the Inaugural Solomon Islands High Schools Choral Festival.
Igelese believes that “Music is a transformational and a unifying tool that transcends all cultures, creeds and ages. Music can be used to empower people positively and for young people, music can be used to affirm their Culture and Identity in a Changing Pacific”.
Ete knows too well the responsibility that accompanies he’s talent and has been sharing these testimonials with the mass student choir.
Ete shares with us “A fond story I have that reflects the power of music and dance was captured in an email I received during a Malaga Production Rehearsal in 2006 in Fiji, there at a rehearsal, a volunteer heard our choir singing and wrote me an email saying that he had been contemplating suicide and that the songs that were sung encouraged him to carry on. Literally, Music is a life saver and a tool for affirming young people. This is why bringing the Festival to the Solomon Islands is very important”, Igelese adds that “Many people within the Student Choir are also sharing across these life lessons about who music and dance has helped them overcome their personal challenges”.
The last time Ete was in the country a few weeks ago to talk to sponsors about the High Schools Choral Festival, there were talks of riots and violence going around Honiara, “I was not deterred; this reaffirmed me that the youth of Solomon Islands needed a positive platform to be created to build a brighter future. Its positive to see generated excitement among young people who are keen on using this forum to inspire and firmly build a resilient Nation. We are engaging the future leaders of the Solomon Islands and giving them the opportunity to dream big about the future that they want”.
Igelese understands that this platform, which they hope will be staged annually, will eventually be incorporated in the Education Curriculum.
“Across the Pacific, there is a general feeling that the Arts are neglected. Pacific Island Governments should look into improving the music and arts curriculum and see the benefits of incorporating culture and contemporary art forms to affirm Pacific Identities. The Music Festival feturing School Students is a vote of Confidence that young people want their voice to heard in such platforms. The Choral Festival is a launching pad for dance, sports and drama festivals that can provide a career for Solomon Islanders in the enabling environment is created and sustained with proper State Funded responses” adds Ete.
The next rehearsal is at the Art Gallery, Honiara, today (Monday 30th June) at 2pm.
All Students are welcome to attend.
Although an invite was sent to students from within the municipality of Honiara, students have also come from as far as Betikama Adventist College, Selwyn College in Guadalcanal province, and Waimaipuru National Secondary School in Makira Province.
Since it is the school holidays, this is a great way to spend leisure time.
Other details will be released soon.