Pacific singers in semi-finals for Lexus Song Quest

Three Pacific singers from Auckland are amongst the 10 selected in May to compete towards the grand finals of the biennial Lexus Song Quest – Samoan/European soprano singer Madison Nonoa, Tongan tenor Filipe Manu and baritone Benson Wilson, of Samoan descent. 


Lexus Song Quest


The contestants were selected in late May to take the next step towards the Grand Finals at the Auckland Town Hall in July.


Around 50 contestants competed in the initial round, and preliminary judges Graham Pushee and Patricia Price commented on the high calibre of singers overall.


"I arrived in NZ feeling hopeful and honored to have been invited to judge such a prestigious competition,” says Patricia Price.


“The singers we listened to were of the highest quality, vocally and artistically. It was a very satisfying experience indeed.”


The 10 semi-finalists will meet in Wellington in early July to work with head international judge Yvonne Kenny, where they will submit a detailed study proposal to be discussed with Ms Kenny during an intensive masterclass week.


There are $85,000 worth of prizes to be won this year, with the winner receiving a total prize of $50,000, and the runner up receiving an immediate cash prize of $8,000, supported by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, plus a study scholarship of $10,000.


Third and fourth place getters receive $1,000 each. A further $15,000 prize, sponsored by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, will be awarded to the singer who has demonstrated great potential through the semi-finals stage of the competition.


Past winners include a number of well-known Pacific and Maori singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Aivale Cole, Amitai Pati (Sol3 Mio) and Jonathan Lemalu.