Young musicians and their dreams

Taking their studies to the next level.

Taking their studies to the next level.

TUNEFUL: Soprano Cheyney Biddlecombe. Picture by Paul Rickard.
Elle Williams

Having studied music at school under Gavin Maclean and Gisborne Girls’ High music teacher Jane Egan, school-leavers Cheyney Biddlecombe and Elle Williams are about to take their study to the next level.

Cheyney Biddlecombe

Her punk rock enthusiast dad played hard rock artist David Lee Roth on Christmas Day but Cheyney Biddlecombe would have preferred baroque composer George Handel’s epic work, Messiah.

The young singer still listens to a little punk but her passion now is classical music.

“I didn’t gravitate naturally to it. Gavin Maclean opened musical possibilities I didn’t know were there.

“I was brought up on Motorhead.”

Biddlecombe is now about to embark on a six-course study programme over four years in music at Victoria University.

“I’ll be doing classical performance singing. That’s my passion. You know when you’re attracted to classical and you can’t help it. It feels so powerful when you sing it. When you sing an aria you feel it in your whole body.

“It’s so raw, even if it’s in a different language you can feel what it means.”

Different languages will be part of Biddlecombe’s study. This year her musical study includes Italian and German. Next year: Russian and another language.

“I won’t be fluent but at least I can understand what I’m singing. It is scary but I’ve always wanted to sing.”

Biddlecombe particularly likes Handel and recently took on solo parts in the Gisborne Choral Society production of the 18th century composer’s Messiah.

“When I was young I sang his work. It’s great for growth as a musician.

“He has a great understanding of contrast – long sad melancholic arias then you’ll hear something like the Hallelujah chorus or Glory to God. It’s amazing.”

Elle Williams

Pop music and songwriting will be the focus of Gisborne woman Elle Williams’ study at Auckland University for the next three years.

Williams is one of two students who have trained in music under Gavin Maclean and Gisborne Girls’ High School teacher Jane Egan and are about to embark on music studies at university.

Williams will study popular music and songwriting for a Bachelor in Music degree. Students in the programme learn to write and perform their own songs.

“My genre is country-folk-indie, mellowed down and meaningful,” says Williams who sings and plays guitar and piano.

“I like to work with metaphors in my songs.”

She describes her younger self as a “little poet” who aspired to becoming a writer.

“When I studied music with Gavin and Jane I was able to meld the two – poetry and music – together. I did songwriting at school. Gavin and Jane were good at motivating me and making me more confident about songwriting.”

In 2014 Williams performed as a singer with the combined choirs and Gisborne Civic Orchestra production of Karl Jenkins’ modern mass to peace, The Armed Man. The Anzac Day concert opened the newly-built Gisborne War Memorial Theatre.

“It was awesome to be part of a huge production that really means something. That was an honour, to perform in something so special.”

Having studied music at school under Gavin Maclean and Gisborne Girls’ High music teacher Jane Egan, school-leavers Cheyney Biddlecombe and Elle Williams are about to take their study to the next level.

Cheyney Biddlecombe

Her punk rock enthusiast dad played hard rock artist David Lee Roth on Christmas Day but Cheyney Biddlecombe would have preferred baroque composer George Handel’s epic work, Messiah.

The young singer still listens to a little punk but her passion now is classical music.

“I didn’t gravitate naturally to it. Gavin Maclean opened musical possibilities I didn’t know were there.

“I was brought up on Motorhead.”

Biddlecombe is now about to embark on a six-course study programme over four years in music at Victoria University.

“I’ll be doing classical performance singing. That’s my passion. You know when you’re attracted to classical and you can’t help it. It feels so powerful when you sing it. When you sing an aria you feel it in your whole body.

“It’s so raw, even if it’s in a different language you can feel what it means.”

Different languages will be part of Biddlecombe’s study. This year her musical study includes Italian and German. Next year: Russian and another language.

“I won’t be fluent but at least I can understand what I’m singing. It is scary but I’ve always wanted to sing.”

Biddlecombe particularly likes Handel and recently took on solo parts in the Gisborne Choral Society production of the 18th century composer’s Messiah.

“When I was young I sang his work. It’s great for growth as a musician.

“He has a great understanding of contrast – long sad melancholic arias then you’ll hear something like the Hallelujah chorus or Glory to God. It’s amazing.”

Elle Williams

Pop music and songwriting will be the focus of Gisborne woman Elle Williams’ study at Auckland University for the next three years.

Williams is one of two students who have trained in music under Gavin Maclean and Gisborne Girls’ High School teacher Jane Egan and are about to embark on music studies at university.

Williams will study popular music and songwriting for a Bachelor in Music degree. Students in the programme learn to write and perform their own songs.

“My genre is country-folk-indie, mellowed down and meaningful,” says Williams who sings and plays guitar and piano.

“I like to work with metaphors in my songs.”

She describes her younger self as a “little poet” who aspired to becoming a writer.

“When I studied music with Gavin and Jane I was able to meld the two – poetry and music – together. I did songwriting at school. Gavin and Jane were good at motivating me and making me more confident about songwriting.”

In 2014 Williams performed as a singer with the combined choirs and Gisborne Civic Orchestra production of Karl Jenkins’ modern mass to peace, The Armed Man. The Anzac Day concert opened the newly-built Gisborne War Memorial Theatre.

“It was awesome to be part of a huge production that really means something. That was an honour, to perform in something so special.”

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