Having become now something of a tradition, the Graduate Choir NZ presented its biennial recital for Mother's Day - A Mother as Lovely as You - on Sunday 14 May in the beautiful acoustics of St Benedict's Church, Newton.
The programme was deliberately chosen to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and with a notable nod in the direction of mothers and motherhood. The choir was in peak condition - delighting the audience with French Impressionism, German Romanticism and contemporary music from the likes of Whitacre, Patriquin and Artley - with piano accompaniments beautifully provided by choir member Chris Artley. The changes were rung as the choir moved seamlessly from thrilling polychoral music into SA only and TB only arrangements - providing the audience with a rich variety of choral combinations. As is our custom, a spot prize of a bouquet of flowers was presented to a mother - with the choir serenading appropriately with a Mother as Lovely as You.
The recital featured celebrated New Zealand soprano Jennifer Maybee, who not only presented three beautiful solo items, but who also performed with the women of the choir in David Hamilton's Ave Maria. We were particularly delighted that Jennifer was able to join us on this occasion; besides being a mother herself, her association with the choir is linked to the fact that she is married to the choir's Board of Trustee's Chairman - Laurie Kubiak! Conductor, Terence Maskell, provided a spoken commentary throughout - informative and anecdotal - ensuring concert patrons had useful background knowledge of the music. Tributes following the recital were generous - many saying that the choir had surpassed all expectations, providing a choral treat of the highest calibre. If you weren't there - you missed a splendid afternoon's entertainment, and we are certain that you will want to mark our next Mother's Day tribute in your diaries now (Sunday 12 May 2019)
On Saturday 22 April, The Graduate Choir NZ joined the choir of Holy Trinity Cathedral for a Great War Commemorative Concert in the Cathedral.
The first half of the recital showcased not only the two choirs in solo items that featured (from The Graduate Choir NZ) David Hamilton’s In Flanders Fields and choir member Chris Artley’s Dawn, but also combined items with music by Guest, Ireland and Fauré. The second half of the concert was devoted to a new work in seven movements by New Zealander Janet Jennings – ANZACS – A Generation lost in Legend, receiving its NZ première. Conductor Terence Maskell directed the combined choirs and a team of top instrumentalists – the Auckland Brass Quintet, violinist Joe Harrop, organist Michael Stoddart and percussionist Eric Renick, together with a wonderful line-up of young singers – Anna Mahon (soprano), Manase Latu (tenor) and Jonathan Eyers (baritone). This effective composition, based on fragments of poetry written at the time that Jennings herself sourced, left scarcely a dry eye in the Cathedral – such was the emotional impact the dramatic music had on its listeners.
You can read what NZ Herald reviewer William Dart had to say here: REVIEW ending his report with a wonderful encomium for the choir:
“The ultimate triumph was a choral one, as conductor Maskell led his singers through forceful unisons and trembling dissonance to sturdy and stirring hymns.”
The Graduate Choir NZ performed 2 concerts in December with the APO at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
This festive season collaboration of The Graduate Choir NZ joining the APO has become a treasured tradition, and is always a delightful and joyous celebration of Christmas music. The 2016 concert in December was once again enjoyed immensely by both the audiences and the performers with a particularly beautiful candlelit Silent Night closing the concert.
This special concert presented by The Graduate Choir NZ was held on 3rd September 2016 with guest artists; Operanesia, AOtotune (Aorere College Chorale), and the One Tree Hill College Chorale. The finale of the programme was the rich and beautiful sound of all voices with "We Are Samoa".
Mass Choir Finale - We are Samoa
The guest artists who were invited to take part in this concert have strong links with South Auckland and The Graduate Choir NZ. A wide range of choral music that was performed highlighted the young talent in South Auckland, and made for an unforgettable evening of magnificent choral music.
"Thanks for another wonderful concert last night at the Event Centre. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The Graduate Choir were absolutely stunning and what a magnificent repertoire. Looking forward to more of your concerts. Thank you," John
"A belated note of thanks for a wonderful concert out at Manukau Events Centre several weeks ago--- the singing was superb, your soloists were excellent, and we enjoyed the whole performance immensely." Jenny Hough
The Graduate Choir NZ was invited to take part in the Hailwood Fashion Show at NZ Fashion Week 2016 as a collaboration with Adrian Halewood, one of New Zealand's top fashion designers. This event was also the launch of the choir's new performance uniform designed by Hailwood, after 15 years wearing the original uniform. This high profile event was an opportunity for The Graduate Choir NZ to perform in a new venue to a new audience of around 1000.
Some reviews and comments..........
"Every so often we're fortunate enough to witness something truly spectacular on the runway and Hailwood's New Zealand Fashion Week 2016 show was exactly what our fashion dreams are made of. As the curtain rose to reveal The Graduate Choir NZ dressed in shimmery blue sequined Hailwood gowns and grey suiting, a live pianist began to play before the choir serenaded the audience in Te Reo with their dulcet tones and the runway show began... feeling very emotionally attached to this collection, aided by the crescendo of opera music that accompanied the finale. Bravo to consummate showman Adrian Hailwood who captured our hearts with his show-stopping presentation." FashioNZ - August 2016
"The Graduate Choir New Zealand conducted by Terence Maskell, surprised and wowed the audience at the recent Hailwood show at NZ Fashion Week. Pulling the curtains revealed the most unexpected sight at a catwalk show, of the choir resplendent in their Hailwood designed gowns and uniforms. Their music accompanying the fabulous Hailwood collection created one of the most emotional moments of any fashion week I have seen, visibly moving some of the audience to tears. It was pure magic." Dame Pieter Stewart DNZM - New Zealand Fashion Week Ltd
"...while The Graduate Choir NZ performed throughout Hailwood’s show — one of the most beautiful moments of Fashion Week that proved the traditional runway show is far from dead..." NZ Herald - August 2016