June 16, 2015

Goodbye Auckland, Hello Waikato

Long-serving Auckland Branch Secretary and past Chairman, David Brookes, opens a new page in his and wife, Jill’s lives. As from July 2015 he and Jill move from their Swanson, Auckland, house to their new home in Matamata.
His talents as a musician are already being sought by leaders in his new environment – invitations Dave accepts willingly with his invincible enthusiasm to contribute.
Dave recalled at the Auckland Branch Mid-winter (observed 12 June) Dinner highlights of his service to and involvement with the Auckland Branch.
“The highlights of the years I was Chairman of the Branch are numerous, so I will just mention a few.

The Junior Choristers Training Weekend, held each year for 10yrs:

The success of those weekends was due to the teamwork of Stanley Jackson, Leonie Lawson, Stephen Rowley and myself. Those weekends reaped huge rewards in many ways, the climax being the year we had 174 students attending, and they sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah in Holy Trinity Cathedral. To see and hear students ranging in age from tiny 8yr olds, to young men and women 18yrs old was fantastic. With Stanley Jackson providing the organ accompaniment, with his usual clear notation and strict tempo, it was an amazing rendition.

Each year we would conclude with a Festival service, followed by supper, and I made a point of telling the choristers on the Saturday that they provide the supper, so ‘bring a plate’ if you want a good supper. One young boy came along on the Sunday with an empty plate, and when asked said- that’s what you told me to bring!

Recently, at a function in Holy Trinity Cathedral, I got talking to a man, whose 2 daughters attended Diocesan Girls School in Auckland, and attended every one of the Junior Choristers Training weekends. He said how much they looked forward to these each year, and got so much from them, both musically and socially. Regularly, they will meet with ex-choristers, and greet each other as friends. The eldest daughter got a job in the music industry, and owes that success and progress to her knowledge of music gained through those weekends.

RSCM NZ Summer Schools.

Two were held in Auckland-the first at Rocklands Hall, Gillies Ave, Epsom. It was co-directed by David Flood (Canterbury Cathedral UK.) and John Wells. They worked extremely well together and the week was a great success. However, the lack of people staying in residence caused a problem with the manager, who complained he was not making the income from such that he was promised. Paul Ellis did a wonderful job of calming him down. However, next day the manger announced he would not be around that day, as he was going for ‘a day at the races’. So much for being ‘hard-up’!

The second Summer School was held at the Bible College in Henderson, and Directed by Gordon Appleton. He introduced us to a lot of music for the parish church choir, which was very much appreciated. The highlight of the week was a workshop, led by Sir David Willcocks. We organised this for the Saturday morning, and it was open to anyone. This was a thrilling experience, and he [Sir David] was still as fit and active as ever. His request to me for the workshop was- an upright piano, and a tall stool to be able to play and conduct from the piano.

After lunch we organised many workshops for people to select from , which gave them 2 choices. This was such a success that we actually made a financial profit from the week, the first for a RSCM Summer School for many years.

And what about the future for me and Jill.

Well the bush telegraph or ‘goss- channel’ has been busy.

A week ago I received a phone call from one of the organists at All Saint’s Anglican church , Matamata. He informed me that his house was on the market, and he would shortly be moving to Blenheim. There would be an opportunity for me to play for church services at All Saint’s.

I had also enquired from RSCM Waikato as to any membership of the RSCM in Matamata, and there is nobody. I will therefore become the ‘Rep’ for the RSCM in the town. Also, 10 days after we move to Matamata I will be giving an organ recital in St Matthew’s Church Morrinsville, (‘just up the road’) where Anne Connolly-Munt is busy promoting the organ with regular monthly concerts, and has formed a church choir.

In all the highlights and activities I have mentioned, and a lot more, it has been wonderful working in the field of church music with many people. I could not have achieved these things without people working with me as a team, and I thank everyone for that.”