Woodford house

e d

Artist in Residence 2018

The 2018 Artist in Residence programme took place on 19-21 February in the Dame Kate Harcourt Performing Arts Centre. Each year, Woodford House invites a professional within the area of Performing Arts for a series of workshops. This year, we had the privilege of working with renowned Composer and Professor of Music at the University of Otago, Dr Anthony Ritchie.


Throughout the week, Dr Ritchie held hands-on composition workshops with senior music students. Dr Ritchie discussed his methods of composition, providing experience and insight into the features of writing music. The workshops were tailored to meet the varying abilities and interests of the group.

The first session outlined writing and extending melodies, with individual feedback from Dr Ritchie on how to improve our drafts. The second session revolved around song writing, and how to fluidly link words and melody lines. These workshops were valuable for developing our skills as well as understanding our individual strengths and weaknesses in relation to composing music.

“Dr Ritchie helped me learn how to express myself and my ideas through composition in new and interesting ways that I would never have thought of,” Olivia Dowley, Year 11, says.

The Chapel Choir also had the opportunity to work with Dr Ritchie. During these workshops we were provided with specialised ideas, techniques and exercises to help improve our sound. It was interesting to see the different approaches to choral singing and how these methods worked for us. Many of the techniques we learnt from Dr Ritchie are now being put into practise at our rehearsals each week.

With thanks to the Woodford House Old Girls’ Association, Dr Ritchie has been commissioned to write a piece for the Chapel Choir named There Future Lies. This piece contains our School Maxim, references from Beyond Blue Hills, and sections from an old Woodford House school song, The school on the top of the hill. The piece was also created with the upcoming 125th anniversary celebrations in mind.

It was extremely valuable working alongside Dr Ritchie and learning the intentions and meaning behind There Future Lies.

“Having the composer of the piece teach you how they envisioned it to be sung made the experience so amazing,” Ella Ruddle, Year 11, says.

The Chapel Choir will perform There Future Lies later this year as part of their repertoire at the annual Big Sing competition.

We would like to thank Ms Tobin, Mrs Carpenter and Mrs Mackenzie for organising the programme and for allowing our girls to have the opportunity to further develop their skills in composition and choral singing. We would also like to thank Dr Ritchie for taking the time to travel to Hawke’s Bay and work with us for the week.

Emily Park, Student Head of Music