Bay of Islands Singers - Choir in the Bay of Islands, Northland

Kia Ora

Welcome to the Bay of Islands Singers’ website. We are a mixed-voice community choir of around 60 singers. Though based at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri, rehearsing on Mondays from 6.30 to 9.00pm, we attract members from as far afield as the Hokianga, Doubtless Bay and Opua. The choir embraces singers of all ages, stages and walks of life. What unites us is our love of singing and the desire to bring the best of the classical and contemporary choral repertoire to audiences in Kerikeri and throughout the Far North. New members are always welcome. If you are interested in joining the choir please Contact Us.

Most of our performances are accompanied by musical ensembles and often feature talented young and established soloists. Three concerts in the year are costly to put on, and we are grateful to our various financial Supporters to allow us these opportunities to perform. The choir has built up a library of music over the years and this is available for hire to other choral groups.

Our Concerts section includes full details of our next performance and information about our past concerts, which illustrates the broad range of music we perform. You will also find photos of past performances.

 

2020 Concert Schedule


Spring Concert 29 November, 2020

2:30pm at the Turner Centre - Auditorium

After nearly a year with no concerts, the Bay of Island Singers are finally able to get back on stage to present their end of year concert. The optimistic and tranquil setting of Fauré’s  Requiem is followed by works with both celebratory and Christmassy themes by Haydn, Handel, Holst, Adam and Finzi. The choir is joined by a line-up of top soloists with guest orchestra directed by John Jackets  


with

Soprano – Elizabeth Mandeno

Tenor – Michael Burch

Baritone – Jarvis Dams

 

Guest Orchestra led by Emily Allen

Organ – Michael Bell

Conductor – John Jackets

 

Programme includes:

 

Fauré

Requiem

Haydn

Te Deum

Finzi

In Terra Pax – Christmas Scene

Holst

Christmas Day

Adam

O Holy Night

Handel

Zadok the priest

 

The first half of the programme is a performance of the ever popular Fauré Requiem, noted for its underlying sense of hope, serenity and peace.

 

The second half opens with Haydn’s popular setting of the Te Deum followed by music with a Christmas theme: GerardFinzi’sevocative In Terra Pax – Christmas Scene written in 1956 followed by a setting of Christmas Carols by Gustav Holst, the all-time favourite O Holy Night and ending with that up-lifting Coronation Anthem by Handel – Zadok the Priest

 

Soloists:

Elizabeth Mandeno has an MA in Advanced Vocal Technique from the Wales International Academy of Voice where she studied with Dennis O’Neill and Nuccia Focile. Jarvis Dams was the 2017 Winner of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation first prize at the prestigious New Zealand Arias Competition and winner of the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship for 2018. Well-known Kerikeri tenor Michael Burch makes a welcome return to complete the trio

 

Running Time – 2 x 50 minute with a 20 minute interval


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Concert Reviews

 

December 2019 -  Choral Gems

Review by John Matthews

My wife is fond of watching “Britain’s (and Every Other Country’s) Got Talent”. A few days ago she showed me Paul Potts’ first appearance in front of Simon Cowell and company. He sang Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by Puccini. I watched this mobile phone salesman tenor from South Wales with jumbled teeth and a £40k debt lay his soul bare and put every fibre of his being into his song. His performance brought tears to my eyes. Another video 11 years later showed him back in front of Simon Cowell at age 48 with his teeth fixed and no longer in debt to thank the show, having performed 1100+ concerts and sold 27 million recordings.

Then an opera critic said that Potts was so awful that he had to turn him off only a quarter of the way into a recording. He’s a dreadful singer according to that critic, who said Potts wouldn’t get past round one of a Covent Garden audition!

Oh dear. I’d be among those who went to the concerts and bought recordings. Clearly I’m no opera critic! And here’s me writing a review of Choral Gems, performed by the Bay of Island Singers with guest soloists and orchestra at the Turner Centre on Sunday 1st December.

Sunday’s performance was without amplifiers and the singers’ voices and orchestra’s music all had to carry unassisted to the balcony where we were sitting, which I’m happy to say they accomplished easily, particularly the soloists. After many practices of the 56 singers and only a single rehearsal attended by the 22-strong orchestra, organist and four soloists, we had the joy of hearing the single performance that was the fruit of all their practice.

The show began with a contemporary arrangement of medieval poems by 20th Century English composer Benjamin Britten. These had an enjoyable Christmassy air and settled the audience in for the afternoon. They were followed by the Mass for the Midnight Service that was composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier in 1690. Seventeenth Century music often seems to me to have a jaunty rhythm and this mass was no exception. Charpentier was an instructor of music (although less well-known than some of his students) and if this rich composition is anything to go by, his students must’ve been well instructed. It can’t have been easy to perform and was beautiful to listen to.

After the interval we heard part of an organ concerto by Italian composer Antonio Salieri. I think John Jackets intended for this piece to give the singers a rest before the finale, the popular Nelson Mass by Joseph Haydn. The soprano soloist Elaine Wogan had the opportunity to give full power to her extraordinary voice with this work as did also the other three soloists Jessica Wells (mezzo-soprano) Andrew Grenon (tenor) and particularly James Harrison (bass). John Jackets explained beforehand that this mass was composed in 1798 when Napoleon was sweeping all before him in victory across Europe which is why it was originally called the “Mass for Troubled Times”. The music is punctuated by trumpet giving it a military feel. Nelson’s first naval victory off the coast of Egypt coincided with its first public performance. So although it was written at a time of woe and military defiance, it became a popular celebration of victory. Over 200 years later, I found the performance quite riveting. No wonder it’s so popular.

My only regret for the day’s performance is that I don’t understand Latin or Italian. Note to self: download an English translation to take along to the next one … or would that distract me from the performance?

 

May 2019 - Stage Lights

 

Our May 2019 concert was entitled "Stage Lights" and contained numbers from the stage shows  For details please see our 'Past Concerts' section.

 

John Matthews wrote a review of the concert that appeared in The Northern Age. and can be read by following this link