Home' Waitomo News : 10 May 2016 Contents 12 Waitomo News Tuesday, May 10, 2016
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A PASSION for singing will see two women
from Otorohanga perform on stage in the ‘En-
tertainment Capital of the World’ – Las Vegas
For Rika Cowan and Julie Mansell – members
of the 75-strong Hamilton based singing acapella
group The Waikato Rivertones Chorus – it’s a
once in a lifetime opportunity.
After winning the right to represent New
Zealand following the Acapella Capital Sweet
Adelines competition on May 7, the group now
has its sights on the world contest in Las Vegas
in November 2017.
Held at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wel-
lington, the group won the most improved and
mid-sized choir and were then crowned overall
Mrs Cowan, a seasoned performer with the
group for the past 20 years, has always been pas-
sionate about singing since childhood.
She performed with the Te Kuiti-based King
Country Chorus for five years in the 1990s, until
it disbanded and then joined the Rivertones as
a bass singer.
Having had a taste of international competi-
tion in Nashville, San Antonio and Denver, she
is confident the group is well voiced to make an
“Currently we are ranked seventh in the world
but we’re confident we can improve on that, and
that is our overall goal,” she says.
But travelling to an international singing
event will be a first for West Yorkshire-born Julie
Mansell, who along with husband Grant, farms
alpacas on Honikiwi Rd. Mrs Mansell joined the
Rivertones late last year after hearing a lyceum
choir Mrs Cowan was singing in.
She says being a newcomer to singing in a
large group didn’t faze her “as they were all very
“Having someone listen to you sing can be
quite scary but I felt confident at my first audi-
Having passed that audition, she then took
part in a six-week training course before another
audition along with three others, all singing dif-
ferent harmonies. Mrs Mansell became one of
14 new Rivertones members ranging in age from
16-70 for the group’s 2015 intake.
What followed was more coaching, a lot of
practice and then the need for her to take a step
out of her comfort zone when she realised there
VIVA LAS VEGAS: Winning the national title at the Acapella Capital Sweet Adelines in
Wellington earlier this month, Otorohanga members Julie Mansell (left) and Rika Cowan are
now looking towards competing in Las Vegas in November.
was a requirement to dance as well.
Both women say the dancing part of perform-
ing doesn’t come naturally for them.
“We are lucky being placed on staged on the
risers so most of what we do is facial expres-
sion, so no-one can really see our feet,” says Mrs
Singing in a choir can also present other chal-
lenges she says.
“You might be a lead singer like I am, but when
you are standing next to a baritone who is singing
a different set of notes and you have to be quite
strong to stay on track.
“And because acapella is an American art form
you have to learn to sing the vowels in a different
way to the way we pronounce them.”
Both know they have a lot of fundraising to
do to raise the $5000 needed to get them to Las
Group members will all be involved with
assisting each other whether it be singing as a
quartet, catering, or at a local cake sale.
Executive members of the Rivertones are
organising fundraising shows.
In Las Vegas the group will perform for six
minutes in front of a theatre audience of 8000
with the event being televised to an audience of
thousands in the United States.
All toned up
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