The week-long celebration, put on educational travel' />

New Zealand's premier youth musician festival Rhapsody Rotorua returns to the city next week.

The week-long celebration, put on educational travel company WorldStrides, combines orchestral and band performances by New Zealand and Australian top school music groups with a celebration of Maori culture and Rotorua's unique attractions and natural beauty.

Now in its 16th year Rhapsody Rotorua will feature over 600 students from more than 15 Australian and New Zealand schools coming together to make music, be adjudicated, and perform two free public concerts for the local community.

"Something truly special happens when students from different countries and backgrounds come together to share their love of music," said Worldstrides Performing Arts program leader Karene Philips.

"Adjudication from top musicians in each field also provides the students with valuable feedback to hone their craft."

Destination Rotorua Trade Manager Patrick Dault said the event is a perfect fit for the region.

"Rhapsody Rotorua brings a large number of students into the region in our quiet season."

"It also showcases Rotorua's superb proposition for the educational sector, such as our maori culture, incredible geothermal landscape, and world renowned tourism products."

"Rotorua is not just a great place to learn, but a place for these students to come and have fun. They always leave charmed and enthusiastic about their stay which is why Rhapsody is now returning for its 16th year," said Mr Dault.

Worldstrides was founded in 1967 by a school teacher and has been creating unforgettable educational travel experiences for almost 50 years. With 45 offices on 6 continents, to date they have taken over 7 million students on educational tours.

Mr Dault said working with the experts at Worldstrides was always a great experience.

"Their expertise and knowledge about New Zealand and the region ensures that they continue to deliver fantastic itineraries for their students. This ensures that they return home ambassadors for Rotorua, often returning later for family holidays."

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Rhapsody Rotorua's two free public concerts feature music of all genres, with concert bands, stage bands, drum-line, choirs, string orchestra, Celtic music and a guitar ensemble.

The festival will run from June 27 to July 2 at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.

Concert details:
- 7:00pm Thursday 30 June | Individual School Ensembles
- 7:00pm Friday 1 July | Gala performances from Honours, Festival Bands, Orchestras & Choirs plus Roger Fox Quartet with Jazz Singer Erna Ferry

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