Kowhai Singers new Musical Director

The Committee are pleased to announce they have appointed Ken Leech to lead the choir as its Musical Director and conductor. Ken has had a long and varied career involved in choral music and is looking forward to maintaining the high standard already established by Kowhai Singers and developing it further. He will begin rehearsals in February for a concert program to be presented some time in  May.

Go to the Personnel page to find out more about Ken.

There will be an opportunity to meet Ken in person at the annual BYO picnic to be held on Saturday 11 February from 4pm at Marion & Robert Jones' home, 14 Tamahunga Drive, Matakana.

The first choir rehearsal for 2023 will be on Monday 13 February, commencing 7.15pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Warkworth and every Monday thereafter

Spring Concert 2022

We are very grateful that Susan Hayday was able to fill the role of interim musical director in 2022. Along with the support of Fiona Strathern our accompanist, we were able to perform a very successful “Let’s Begin Again” musical evening at Leigh Hall in November.

Even though the numbers of choristers was down on previous events, we managed to sing to our full potential and entertain the crowd who turned up on a very wet and rainy night.

Also a big thankyou to Rob Nute who provided the sound for the concert and made a recording of the event.

Autumn Concert 2021

Our presentation of an eclectic mix of choral music - from both classical and modern sacred pieces to 19th century operetta to contemporary New Zealand works - delighted two very well attended concert performances at Leigh and at Warkworth.

The title of this concert came from a rousing Latin chorus by American composer David Giardiniere.

It has been pleasing to give an airing to some works we had already been preparing last year but were unable to perform because of COVID restrictions. These included a serene piece by impressionist composer Claude Debussy and, in contrast, four joyful songs from Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus.

We were also delighted to introduce to our audience some pieces by contemporary New Zealand composers Jenny McLeod and David Hamilton.

A small group of women singers presented some lighter colourful songs as interludes between the full choir works.

Christmas Concert


After a year of stop/start rehearsing and concert cancellations it was a real joy for our singers to be able finally to present a concert of good choral music to the wider Warkworth public.

And from the large size of the audience it seems our stalwart supporters had been feeling just as deprived as we were.

The concert - with a mix of beautiful songs, audience participation in the carols and an exciting performance by brilliant young violinist Marika Balzat accompanied by our conductor Amy -  was very well received.  Despite a quite short rehearsal period we all felt we had produced a choral sound of high standard and the enthusiastic comments from the audience have confirmed this.

We are looking forward to starting rehearsals in mid February for  a concert of all new music to be presented sometime in May.


Nov 2019

This was a lovely concert, well patronised at two performances, including one in the Leigh Hall for the first time ever at that venue. The following night we presented the same program at Warkworth Town Hall with to a similarly enthusiastic reception.

We presented a variety of songs from 16th Century classical (Tallis) to modern American (Whitacre) - the latter being a recent and highly original musical realisation of the favorite children's story book from the 1940s, Goodnight Moon.

The second half of the concert included more up-beat pieces and featured Barbara Hamilton accompanying the choir on double bass.


Who are the Kowhai Singers?

Kowhai Singers
is a community choir based in Warkworth, a thriving rural town about 70km north of Auckland City. With a strength of about 40 men and women the choir draws its members from the town and surrounding districts.

We normally present two or three full program concerts each year often with the support of soloists and instrumental musicians from outside of the choir.

A wide variety of music is performed from  Renaissance madrigals to recent New Zealand choral compositions. The list includes Baroque masses, classical art songs, songs from the American Songbook and works from the modern English choral tradition. There is often a sprinkling of songs in lighter vein. The style of concert presented can best be obtained from perusing the selection of past concert programs that can be viewed at Gallery. See what we've been doing lately on the News page.

The choir enjoys the support of a loyal following from the wider community who have come to expect an evening (or occasionally a winter's afternoon) performance of fine music, thoroughly rehearsed and presented to a very high standard.

Kowhai Singers welcomes new members. If you want to sing with a group of friendly, enthusiastic music makers from all walks of life please contact us and come along to the next rehearsal or attend our next concert.

Recent Concerts

This was a highly successful concert enjoyed by an audience of almost 200 people in the charmingly re-furbished Warkworth Town Hall. It was enjoyed immensely, too, by the singers who have responded very positively to the direction of Amy Cottingham conducting the choir for the first time.

The choir, larger than it has been for some years, was in very good voice and fortunate to be supported by their excellent accompanist Susan Elliott on the Town Hall's Yamaha concert grand piano.

The programme was a collection of songs, many in classical style - some very old, some contemporary - and several in lighter vein. Two interludes featured the young guest violinist Marika Balzat accompanied by Amy on the piano. They played a movement from a Mozart violin sonata and thrilled the audience with the mounting intensity of two Tangos by Astor Piazzolla.

A copy of the full program can be viewed by clicking here.

The presentation of Handel's oratorio Messiah in the newly renovated Warkworth Town Hall was a triumph!

Over two afternoon performances on 13, 14 May 2017, both booked to absolute capacity, more than 500 patrons thrilled to the voices of four top class soloists and two choirs - Kowhai Singers and Matakantata - in their best form ever.
Supporting the singers was an instrumental ensemble of 10 players and organist.
Conductor Peter Cammell accepted a standing ovation at the end of both performances on behalf of all taking part.

Please go to the Gallery page to see a video of some of the Hallelujah Chorus recorded at the Saturday performance.

This was a triumph, enjoyed by large audiences at both venues.


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