December 2, 2014

RSCMNZ 80th Anniversary

Eighty years ago in November 1934, these churches were amongst the first to affiliate to the fledgling School of English Church Music (SCEM) now known as the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). (Click the titles of the pictures to view them).
StThomas Auckland 1934 (NB: one of the choirboys in this picture, David Dunningham, later became Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral Hamilton.)
Chch Cath Choir 1934

In 1934, Dr Sydney H Nicholson undertook a world tour of churches and particularly connected with choirs. The tour at the invitation of the Church of the Commonwealth, included visits especially to Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He was the founder in 1929 of the School of English Church Music [SECM] which later gained a royal charter as the Royal School of Church Music – RSCM). In The Herald of 13 November 1934, he commented that a suburban church had a choir larger than that of Westminster Abbey [London] and consisted of numerous women who “sang so loud that the men and the boys could hardly be heard at all.”

November this year sees RSCMNZ Branches celebrating in various ways. Auckland held a dinner 28 November with entertainment from V8. Auckland RSCMNZ Secretary, Dave Brookes enlightened those attending with quotations from Sir Sydney’s diary (from research undertaken by John Henderson and associates to whom thanks are expressed for the extracts and photographs).
In the South Island, Canterbury Branch of the RSCMNZ marked the anniversary with its participation 22 November at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Manchester Street, Christchurch, in a Choral Fest (organised by Don Whelan Cathedral D of M, and Paul Ellis, President RSCMNZ) where church, school, barbershop, concert and community choirs presented items at a level of excellence which would have surely delighted Sir Sydney as it did the enthusiastic audience as well as participants. The choirs all combined for a fitting conclusion to the event by singing Handel’s, “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite” under the direction of Brian Law (Nicholas Sutcliffe organ).