Kowhai Singers News

Spring Concert 2018

Once again Sola Tuo lead the choir to a successful Spring concert. In November an appreciative audience of around 120 in the Warkworth Town Hall enjoyed a selection of songs from many genres including classically arranged folk songs from England, Scotland, Germany, America and China. It was a tribute to Sola's thorough rehearsal practice that when the women sang "To keep My Love Alive" (Rogers & Hart) the irony of the libretto came across  as all those cynical words could be heard clearly.

The programme was rounded out by two brackets of piano pieces played superbly by Amy Cottingham.
This concert, in November 2017, was a great success.

It was a gamble for us to take on a new conductor with whom we had had no prior experience, but this young woman from the University of Auckland School of Music proved she was well up to the challenge. By the end of the first rehearsal she was in full command of our group of 'seasoned' choristers, most of whom were at least three times her age. She lead us to present an attractive program of songs, chosen by herself, to a very appreciative audience of around 120 in the newly renovated Warkworth Town Hall.

We hope we will be able to work with Sola again soon.
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.

A number of choristers from Kowhai Singers travelled to Kerikeri recently on the invitation of the Bay of Island Singers to take part in a presentation of Haydn's oratorio 'The Creation'. They joined with singers from other invited choirs including Hibiscus Coast, Albany Singers, Pohutukawa Singers, Auckland Choral and St Marks Church. The resultant choir of over 70 were supported by a guest orchestra of 24 musicians.

David Lumley, in his review of the performance said:
'This overall force of a hundred or so musicians combined well, under the masterful conducting of John Jackets, to bring out the power, complexity, depth and different characteristics of the work – its monumental drama as chaos is replaced by order and life; its uplifting joy, exuberance and beauty; and its tender lyricism.
The three soloists in the performance – each representing an angel narrating and commenting on the successive days of creation, with the bass and soprano also singing Adam and Eve – were in great form. Jayne Tankersley again demonstrated her pure, crystal, soprano voice which has wowed local, national and overseas audiences. Lachlan Craig gave us a fine light, lyrical, tenor. Tavis Gravatt was a commanding, clear, and powerful bass. And the three together combined their voices beautifully in the work’s trios.
The staging was simple but highly effective, with several coloured panels behind the choir, and the obvious but powerful effect of dimmed lighting until it burst forth, in line with a big C-major chord, as the chorus sang ‘and there was light’.'
And the reports from our representitives – Bronwen Lane, Joy Boniface, Elizabeth Clark, Dru Rose, Mike Rose and Lesley Stone – were just as positive, describing it as a very good experience both musically and socially and well worth the effort of spending a weekend away.

In 2014 we celebrated 30 years of great singing

In keeping with this years' theme our Winter concert comprised a selection of some of the best songs presented by the choir over the 30 years since its inception in 1984.

What better way to spend a winter afternoon than listening to great songs, presented with style, in the warm comfort of the the Belfry at Matakana's Ascension Wine Estate.

A large audience went home well satisfied with their afternoons' entertainment.


For their first concert of the year, the choir joined forces with Pohutukawa Singers in early May 2014 to present
two grand performances, at Warkworth and Orewa,
of Mendelssohn's great oratorio Elijah.

Large audiences at both venues enjoyed following the dramatic story told with style and passion by the excellent cast of soloists -

Bernice Austin (soprano)
Beverley Hicks (alto)
Iain Tetley (tenor)
Crispin Caldicott (bass)
Susan Hayday (soprano)

The choir was supported on the organ by the brilliant playing of Michael Bell.

The choristers reponded to this special event by working very hard to pull off a performance that proved most satisfying to all who took part.


>>>>>   Car Treasure Hunt

Sun 9 Feb 2014

This was a great success thanks to superb planning by

Carol and Derrick Hay who had prepared a host of cryptic questions
 for us to answer as they lead us around the Mahurangi West/Wenderholm areas,
much of it seldom (if ever) visited by most of the participants.
Starting at the Riverside car park in Warkworth
at 3pm
finished a couple of hours later at Carole and Derrick's home in Puhoi
 to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and share in a pot-luck feast.

The winning team was the Leigh contingent of Jo and Neil and their partners Susan and Sheryl.

The recent presentation of Haydn's oratorio THE CREATION
was a great success. Kowhai Singers collaborated with
Pohutukawa Singers from Albany and Edgecumbe Choir
from Whakatane to put over 100 singers on stag
e for two perfomances in April 2013 - the first in Warkworth and then at Whakatane a week later.

With a trio of fine soloists
      Catherine Macdonald (soprano)
      John Murray (tenor)
      Jarvis Dams (bass)
and brilliantly accompanied by
      Michael Bell (organ)
as well as local musicians providing harpsichord, continuo, trumpet and percussion support the performances were very well received

The Whakatane performance was conducted by Edgecumbe Choir's conductor Tony Hogg.

Click on the links below to see reviews and slide shows of the performances.

Warkworth concert   -   Review      Slide show

Whakatane concert
   -   Review      Slide show   

On the Sunday morning after the Warkworth concert the Edgecumbe Choir choristers shared a very convivial breakfast with us at the Cider Shed Cafe before boarding their bus for home. They, in their turn, hosted us with a very well catered lunch at the Lyceum Club after the Saturday morning rehearsal in Whakatane.

Videos of the Whakatane concert can be viewed below:

Kowhai Singers News