Siblings strike winning chord at competition

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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HEAVENLY MUSIC: Theodore, Ida and Eden Vaatstra are off to Napier for the regional final of the secondary schools chamber music competition.PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY
HEAVENLY MUSIC: Theodore, Ida and Eden Vaatstra are off to Napier for the regional final of the secondary schools chamber music competition.PHOTO/ BEVAN CONLEY

The Valinor Trio gave their oldest member a fitting send-off with a win in the Whanganui secondary schools chamber music competition.

The trio is made up of homeschooled siblings Ida, 18, Theodore, 16, and Eden Vaatstra, 15. They were judged the best of the 30 ensembles that took part in the competition at Wanganui Collegiate School on June 10.

"It was just lovely that we won," Eden said. "It was really nice for Ida since this is the last year that she can be in the competition because of the age limit."

They played Josef Haydn's Piano Trio in E-flat, with Ida on piano, Eden on violin and Theodore on cello.

"Haydn is perfect for us because his music is at the right level for us," Eden said.

"It's not a showy piece so you have to make a lot of it because it's quite academic. Haydn is known as the father of chamber music so his music is very educating for young musicians like ourselves."

The group's name comes from a shared love of the works of JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

"In the Elvish language, 'valinor' means 'heavenly'," Eden said.

The group started playing together as a group in 2011, and this is the fourth year they've taken part in the competition. Last year they received a highly commended award in the same competition.

The trio will travel to Napier to compete in the regional final on Sunday. The winner of the regional final will be one of 12 ensembles to compete in the national finals in Auckland in August.

As with last year's winners, RD3, the members of Valinor Trio have a strong Christian faith and had to think carefully before agreeing to play in the regional final, which is held on a Sunday. Sunday is traditionally a day of rest and church-going for Christians.

However, unlike the members of RD3, the Vaatstras have decided to take part in the event.

The three were taught music by their four older brothers, all of whom studied music to tertiary level and are accomplished musicians. Ida, Eden and Theodore now study with Pamela Dowsett in Palmerston North.

The Turneresque Trio has also been selected to take part in the regional final. They are a combined Wanganui Collegiate/Whanganui High School group of Shaila Hawkins (voice), Angela Wu (flute) and Jonny Matthews (piano).

They played three of the four William Alwyn Seascapes and gained a highly commended and a KBB Award in the district contest.

The group are called the Turnerseque Trio since their music, Seascapes, is a musically impressionistic portrayal of sea images and brings to mind the paintings of William Turner. Also, the work was commissioned from recorder player John Turner, and first performed in 1982 as an accompaniment to an art exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester.

The two Whanganui groups will compete alongside seven groups from Wellington and one each from Palmerston North, Hawke's Bay and Gisborne.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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