David Sidwell’s 40-year contribution to the arts honoured with Institutional Medal

David Sidwell’s 40-year contribution to the arts honoured with Institutional Medal

David Sidwell at the piano getting ready to perform an original score at his honorary event at Wintec House.

The name David Sidwell will be recognisable to many people in the Waikato region and no wonder, the performing arts maestro and manager at Wintec’s School of Media Arts has been a prominent force across music and theatre for the last 40 years.  It will surprise no-one that his achievements were formally recognised with the bestowment of an Institutional Medal on Tuesday evening.

The medal is part of Wintec’s prestigious Honorary Awards which are presented to those who have made a significant contribution to Wintec or the nation through innovation, scholarship or industry, or for enhancing New Zealand society. Previous Wintec recipients this year included health advocate Le’aupepe Elisapeta Peta (Peta) Karalus, arts patron Sir James Wallace and entrepreneur Dallas Fisher.

Barry Harris, Wintec Council chair who formally awarded the medal said that “David is an extremely worthy recipient of this medal and he really is an institution in himself.”

Upon receiving the award, David noted that it “truly validates for me the value that Wintec places on arts and culture within the institution as well as the creative arts industry and arts community.  In 2000 I came to work at Wintec and I’m still here almost 20 years later. I’m proud to say that the Bachelor of Music and Performing Arts degree further endorses Wintec’s support of the arts. That has been a career highlight for me.”

David’s career stretches across the Waikato where he has been director for the Hamilton Operatic Society and various other theatre companies. In 2014 he received the Freedom Holder of the City award for his contribution to Hamilton’s music and theatre scene, the highest civic honour that can be awarded.

“Hamilton is truly an arts-focused city where talent is nurtured. A city that has the breadth of talent and passion for the arts needs an internationally recognised state-of-the-art facility that will allow the arts to prosper and flourish. The new Waikato Regional Theatre will be a fantastic new facility to further grow arts in the region.”

Around 100 people attended the event in the Atrium including Wintec honoraries Richard O’Brien, creator of the Rocky Horror Show, and Gordon Chesterman, former chair of the Wintec Council. The occasion was also marked by the presenting of the Gordon Chesterman scholarship to musician and Wintec student Casey Messent. The scholarship is worth up to $15,000 and is awarded on the basis of academic merit, personal character and community involvement. 

The evening closed with performances by Casey, Alexandra Wiltshire, Pamela Wallace, Yotam Levy, Scot Hall and David on piano. Guests also heard a snippet from the new musical Mum’s Kitchen written by David and Wintec tutors Jeremy Mayall and Nick Braae. The show opens at the Meteor Theatre on Thursday 22 August.

Find out more about the School of Media Arts at Wintec.

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Mum’s the word for Wintec staff behind new musical

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Scholarship winner is mining his musical talent