Covid strikes again.

OnStage Manawatū was to provide a platform for a group of the city's up-and-coming young singers at its first spring concert next week but the show was cancelled close to the last minute around concerns the venue could not provide seating conforming to level 2 criteria.

OnStage (formerly the Savage Club) aims eventually to host four students who work with vocal tutor Kirsten Clark.

Leanora Potten, Palmerston Girls' High School dance prefect, is completing year 13, comfortable in the knowledge she has already achieved what she needs in NCEA.


Annabel Orwin-Higgs finished year 13 equally successfully at Girls' High School last year.

The younger singers in Kirsten's quartet are Grayson Lodge, who is working through year 12 at Palmerston Boys' High School, and Josh Leamy, a year 8 student at St Peter's College.

Leanora and Annabel share an interest in musical theatre – both have performed in the annual co-productions staged by Girls' High School and Boys' High School – and both will bring that genre to the OnStage concert.

Leanora's choice is the tongue-trippingly disingenuous Adelaide's Lament from Guys and Dolls; Annabel's selection is another dramatic number, Vanilla Ice Cream from the musical She Loves Me.

Clearly the two singers are up for a challenge – both numbers are showstoppers in the contexts of the shows.

They share a strong interest in the genre, but soon, however, the two young women's paths will diverge.

Annabel is taking a gap year before enrolling for a bachelor of science, majoring in earth science.

Leanora plans to take up full-time musical theatre study in Australia, Covid-19 permitting.

Though she will turn to science in 2021, Annabel's gap year includes doing "as many musicals as I can".


That included Act Three Productions' embattled Sister Act, which bravely completed its interrupted season – to full houses Covid-style - at the Regent last Saturday.

Annabel sang in the ensemble.

Her tutor Kirsten played, she says with a grin, "nun 10".

Musical theatre is one string to Kirsten's bow.

While her student Grayson Lodge has also performed in the co-productions between the two high schools, he will move to another genre with Handel's Where'er You Walk.

Josh will complete the quartet's programme with the Scottish folk song Westering Home.


In addition to a small number of private students Kirsten teaches at Feilding High School and four city schools – St Peter's College, Carncot, Freyberg High School and Palmerston North Boys' High School.

Covid permitting, OnStage Manawatū hosts guest performers at its monthly 7.30pm concerts at 100 Campbell St, Palmerston North on the second Monday of each month.