Kate Webber

How has the scholarship helped you during your year (s) overseas?

The Anne Reid Memorial Scholarship was used to assist me in my vocal studies in the United Kingdom under the direction of vocal practitioner, Enid Hartle.

I received tuition of the highest degree in London, and undertook language and further vocal coaching from staff at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the English National Opera.

The scholarship also allowed me to audition for professional programmes offered by opera companies in the United Kingdom and in Europe. I auditioned for Young Artists programmes in France, successfully making the final 16 at L’Opéra Studio National du Rhin.

I travelled throughout Europe and took part in competitions and festivals in Barcelona and Stuttgart. I auditioned for conductors in the UK and Germany and for agents in the United Kingdom. I successfully gained representation through an agent in the United Kingdom.

I undertook chorus contracts with the English National Opera, a highlight being a performance of “War and Peace” at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms series.

Although highly sort after as a soloist, my visa status prevented me from remaining in the UK permanently. This also left me in the position that I could not accept work as a soloist.

What you are doing now?

Since returning to New Zealand, I have been employed and continue working with all of the major New Zealand Choral Societies. I have also undertaken roles with NBR New Zealand Opera and have toured with Class Act Opera.

I (re)trained as a Primary School Teacher and now juggle two careers; one as a freelance mezzo-soprano soloist within New Zealand, the other as a full-time music specialist at Pinehill School in Auckland.

I have worked as a vocal consultant with the NZ Youth Choir, the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir and the Auckland Choral Society, touring with the NZSSC to Canada to compete in the International Choral Kathaumixw.

I received a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Scholarship in 2011 and spent a period of time in Salzburg, Austria, undertaking study of children’s music education and the young singers’ voice. This was most beneficial to my current teaching practice in schools.

I teach singing, assisting members of the Auckland Choral Society with vocal technique. I also teach a small number of private pupils.

I am most grateful for the funding I received through Anne Reid Memorial Scholarship Trust. It allowed me the opportunity to study abroad and further my skills and career as a mezzo-soprano soloist.

My study with Enid Hartle was more specialized than was available to me in New Zealand and without this funding, this career advancement would not have been possible.