Easter simultaneously joyful and then a touch of sadness

Family talents and these of dear friends contributed in Christchurch, Auckland, UK and elsewhere to Easter 2018 events. Christchurch’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) Choir and Orchestra observed Easter 2018 with numerous events. On Good Friday 30 March 8.00pm they presented St John Passion by J S Bach (see picture alongside) and included in following days and nights, a Vigil, Liszt’s Via Crucis (14 Stations of the Cross). Joyfully on Easter Sunday they celebrated the resurrection on 1 April during a Mass led by Christchurch’s new Bishop, Paul Martin, and CBS presented Mozart’s Coronation Mass plus from Handel’s Messiah, Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen Chorus all conducted by Maestro Don Whelan. His son sang the role of Pilate in Christchurch, Don’s wife Beris, sang in the choir. Soloists included Sarah-Jane Rennie (soprano), Louisa Pilkington (Alto), Ben Madden was the Evangelist and his brother Sam took the role of Peter with Ken Joblin performing the part of Jesus. Natalia Lomeiko led the orchestra, with Continuo Cello, Ellen Doyle and Veronica van der Knaap, Harpsichord.

Almost simultaneously, son and international opera singer, Paul Whelan, was heard on RNZ Concert Programme singing the role of Jesus along with Siobhán Stagg (soprano), Christopher Lowrey (countertenor), Derek Welton (bass), and the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, Auckland Philharmonia conducted Stephen Layton performing the very same St John Passion.

At about the same time on Good Friday night in Auckland, St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Cathedral presented “At the Foot of the Cross” – a Choral Music offering for Good Friday by the Cathedral Vocal Ensemble directed by James Tibbles.

Around the Waikato, St Peter’s Cathedral, Hamilton, held events such as Maundy Thursday 8.00p.m. Memorial of the Last Supper, Good Friday 8.00p.m. Tenebrae, Easter Eve 8.00p.m. an Easter Vigil, Renewal of Baptismal Vows, the first Eucharist of Easter. and on Easter Day 9.45a.m. Choral Eucharist.

At the Taranaki Interim Cathedral, Thursday 29th March – 7.30p.m. Maundy Thursday – Mass of
the Lord’s Supper with Music by Mozart & Plainsong. Good Friday 30th March at 12.00p.m., “Last Three Hours” Liturgy: Music by J.S. Bach, Crüger, Goss, Hilton, Ouseley, Mozart & Plainsong. On Easter Sunday 1st April – 10.00a.m. Easter Day Choral Eucharist with Music by Harris & Guilmant.

The Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Napier started its Easter observance with Palm Sunday on 25 March 10.00a.m. Choral Eucharist with readings and symbols telling the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday through the events of Holy Week to Easter Sunday.
Maundy Thursday 29th March 7.00p.m. Liturgy of the Last Supper with Foot-washing.
Good Friday 30th March 12 noon – 3p.m.

The Great Three Hour Service, with the Cathedral Choir presenting Stainer’s “The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the
Holy Redeemer”. At 1.00p.m. Holy Saturday 31st March 7.00p.m. Easter Eve Eucharist and
Vigil was held. Easter Day 1st April 10.00a.m. Choral Eucharist with the music
of Haydn’s Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo performed by the Cathedral Choir, with organ and string ensemble.

Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, on Good Friday 30 March at 10.00am Clergy and Cathedral Choir presented a SERVICE OF SHADOWS with settings of the Kyrie by Dove, Byrd, Whitehead,
Vaughan Williams, Body, Langlais and Fauré. On Easter Sunday 1 April at 7.00am an EASTER VIGIL WITH EUCHARIST with the Cathedral Choir singing the Service, Darke in F, and the Palestrina Anthem Sicut cervus.

Nearby at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of St Mary’s, a full programme of Easter events was presented including Stations of the Cross, Easter Vigil & Masses of the Resurrection at various times from Saturday 7.30pm to Sunday 7.00pm.

With these endeavours and many more around NZ we joined with billions of fellow Christians world-wide to honour the life of Christ and celebrate the resurrection.

Gordon Appleton

It is with great sadness we learn of the death of a renowned music leader. Condolences from RSCMNZ to family, friends and the many thousands of choristers around the world who were inspired by Gordon Appleton. He passed away whilst playing the organ at a 2018 Easter Service in the 660 AD founded Ripon Cathedral in UK.

NZ remembers him fondly from his leadership along with the late Sir David Willcocks of the Auckland January 2006 NZ Choral Summer School. A feature of the school and music studied was the brilliant way Gordon and Sir David focused on a wide variety of music for many different styles of worship and the high quality of the presenters for the various workshops. RIP Dear Gordon.