October 12, 2022

Article: New Home for Christchurch School of Music, Te Kura Puoro

After years of a nomadic existence, the Christchurch School of Music , Te Kura Puoro, (CSM) has been given the opportunity to build a $15 million facility in the city’s performing arts precinct.

As Music Director since 2012, this is an exciting and also terrifying prospect (think $15 million!). We will build a custom building that will include a large rehearsal and performance space, medium ensemble spaces, a well-equipped music classroom, a computer suite, 35 small and medium studios, offices, meeting room and a kitchen. The School currently
has 1100 students aged from 6 months – 85 years and we offer tuition in a wide range of instruments, four symphony orchestras, two string orchestras, concert bands, wind ensembles, rock bands, jazz bands, chamber groups, recorder ensembles, pre-school groups, foundation classes and a samba band. Along with our out-of-hours programme, the CSM also offers an extensive outreach programme to local primary schools, teaching strings, recorder, ukulele, percussion, band and orchestra.

We lost our previous home when the earthquakes destroyed the Music Centre of Christchurch and since then (and prior to the Music Centre) CSM has leased space in multiple places including schools and warehouses. We currently operate from four portacoms for our office, library, classroom and storage in the central city and use Avonhead Primary School for our after -school and Saturday morning teaching and rehearsals.

CSM has always aimed to be a central city music school, accessible to students from all over the city and beyond and to have this opportunity is definitely a dream come true. The new building will be a community music education hub, available for hire to other groups and individuals in the city for teaching, rehearsals, workshops, seminars and recitals. Its proximity to our beautiful library, Tūranga, the new Court Theatre, The Piano and the Isaac Theatre Royal will open up the possibility of some exciting collaborations.

The land has been offered to the CSM by the Christchurch City Council after a rigorous and competitive application process and the School has made a firm commitment to ensure the site is activated during the day and in the weekend. By having a building of our own, the possibilities for expanding our programme are limitless and we are very excited by the opportunity to bring life and vitality to the area.

We have a well-developed building design but this is still fluid as we consult with mana whenua, our staff and the music community to hear ideas and ascertain needs. There is a lot of work to do – many small (and big) steps along the way but our hope is to have a building to move into by 2025, CSM’s 70th anniversary.

Of course, CSM is not-for-profit, so we have a lot of money to raise! Unfortunately sausage sizzles won’t quite cut the mustard! We are working on a fundraising plan and it will be an important focus over the next few years. If you are a CSM alumnus or you just love the idea of a central city facility such as this, we welcome your donation, no matter how small. You can go to our website csm.org.nz/support-us/donate/ and donate with a credit card or directly into the bank account. Please stipulate that it is for the new CSM building. We are certainly grateful for any support MENZA members can offer.

Please contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or would just like to be kept updated.
Celia Stewart, celia@xtra.co.nz

Donations much appreciated!

BIO: Celia lives in Christchurch where she is Music Director of the Christchurch School of Music, Te Kura Puoro. She teaches flute, recorder and piano and runs foundation music classes for preschoolers and junior school students. She is co-director of a local children’s music festival, Strum, Strike and Blow and is a regular presenter of workshops in early childhood and primary music education throughout NZ. Celia is a past chair of MENZA, and vice-chair of Music Education Canterbury (MEC), is on the ONZA (Orff New Zealand Aotearoa) committee, secretary of the Christchurch Jazz Foundation Trust and a trustee of The Muse, a community music organization in Christchurch. She is a flute and recorder player and sings in local world music choir, Acapellago. Celia has a Masters in Education through Waikato University specializing in music education and in 2019 was awarded a MNZM for her contribution to music education.

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