Doing justice to the music
Now the Counsel in Concert is a choir and orchestra of over 50 and its annual charity concert has been a sell out for the past three years. This year, two concerts are planned at St Andrew’s on The Terrace on October 23. Proceeds will go to the Child Cancer Foundation.
“We’ve been rehearsing for this performance since July,” says Counsel in Concert founder Merran Cooke.
Members of Counsel come from throughout the Wellington region. All are lawyers or law staff from Crown Law. The orchestra also includes many lawyer-musicians, augmented by members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Vector Wellington Orchestra. Throughout the year a smaller version of the group occasionally gives lunchtime concerts and work performances, but all is in preparation for the annual charity concert. It’s a chance for lawyers to take off their wigs and let their hair down.
“It’s our big performance of the year,” Cooke says.
Cooke says she’s surprised at how many lawyers are also talented musicians. Cooke herself studied oboe at Victoria University and in Cologne before deciding to “get a real job” and do a law degree. She’s now a member of Crown Law’s legal criminal team.
“Many lawyers sing in choirs or play musical instruments. I guess it’s because it allows us to be a bit extroverted. Much of a lawyer’s work is spent sitting at a computer.”
She says the choir has also had a levelling effect among lawyers and their staff.
“Law is still hierarchical and the choir has meant QCs and the partners of the big legal firms are mixing socially with junior lawyers and legal staff.”
Next week’s charity concert features a programme of music written for movies such as The Mission and Conquest of Paradise as well as music by Beethoven, Verdi, Rossini and Canteloube. Soloists are soprano Deborah Wai Kapohe, baritone Jared Holt and tenor John Beaglehole.
In a first for Counsel in Concert, the programme also features a composition for choir and orchestra written specially for the event by lawyer/composer Aaron Lloydd. Lloydd works for Ministry of Social Development legal services, but has a Masters in composition from Victoria University and 20 years experience playing punk rock and bass trombone. His piece, The Fundamental Obligations of Lawyers draws its text, harmony and rhythm from the Lawyers and Conveyances Act 2006.
At the Movies, Counsel in Concert, St Andrew’s on The Terrace, 12.15pm and 5.30pm, October 23.