Chair’s Report for the past year
Presented to the Branch AGM 9 May 2021
& shared with the 24 July 2021 RSCMNZ Inc AGM
which was reviewing operations NZ-wide for
the year ending 30 Sep 2020 & beyond
The past year has seen the cancellation of many cultural and social activities worldwide, including here New Zealand due to Covid-19.
Our AGM last year had to be postponed until 26th July, due to problems with St Mark’s Church Te Aroha, and was eventually held in St Matthew’s Church Morrinsville, starting with a ‘Sing-along ‘of Shirley Murray’s worship songs. A keen group of people enjoyed singing songs and hymns with lyrics by Shirley, some set to tunes composed by New Zealand composers, and others to well know traditional hymn tunes. David Dyson and I provided accompaniment, and Rev Val Riches gave some interesting information about each song in her role as M.C.
During the following AGM it was announced that the Presentation of Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’ was planned to happen in March 2021.
A Workshop:’ Sing a new song ‘was held on Sunday 4th October at St Andrew’s Church Cambridge. Worship songs composed by NZ composers were sung and Directed by Keri Parr and Roz Robinson. A good attendance of choristers enjoyed singing a variety of new songs, led with great enthusiasm by Keri and Roz.
Our next activity in 2020 was Choral Evensong on Sunday 8th November in All Saints Church Matamata to commemorate All Souls Day. Thirty choristers from far and wide enjoyed singing music for this day, with a variety of conductors and organists. Our Branch Chaplain Rev Malcolm French was Precenter for the service, and Rev Andrew Evans preached the homily. During the service people were invited to light a candle in remembrance of passed loved ones, while appropriate organ music was played.
Jill Brookes became the new editor of ‘Notes’ after Ray Harlow retired from this role after 8 years. Ray had set an extremely high standard of presenting this newsletter 4 times each year, full of interesting news and information about church music activities in the Waikato. Jill has since produced two newsletters and has continued the high standard of presentation. We thank her for continuing this important promotion of Church Music.
Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion ‘was presented on Palm Sunday28th March in St Andrew’s Church Cambridge. A well-balanced choir of 80 choristers from all over the Waikato, Rotorua and Tauranga were Conducted by Koli Jayatunge. Soloists-Tenor: Taylor Willbank and Bass: Aiden Phillip gave excellent renditions of the solo and duet sections of the Oratorio. Regional rehearsals were held 3 weeks before, and a full rehearsal on a Sat morning. Special thanks to Merv Hunt for all the excellent work and time he put into organizing the Presentation of this work.
Our thanks to our Secretary/ Treasurer, Chaplain, and committee for all the planning, participation and support of Branch activities during the past year. Allan King moved to Northland in March and was personally thanked for his contribution to the Branch committee by me.
Activities this year: (Covid allowing!) Activities far and wide are planned for Putaruru, Rotorua, Tauranga and Cambridge. (Evensongs.) More details will be announced during this meeting.
Organ activities in the Branch include St Andrew’s Cambridge and St Peter’s Cathedral- Eon Malan; Morrinsville- Denis McCoombe- recently retired from Dunedin, now living in Ngatea-Waikato.
Anne Connolly- Munt, a staunch and enthusiastic church musician recently moved up north to live with relations. Anne was organist and choir leader at St Matthew’s Church Morrinsville for the past 7 years and arranged the purchase of the 3 manual Johannus digital organ in the church. This was purchased by monthly concerts held in the church. Anne was a keen participant in our Branch activities. We wish her well in her retirement up north.
Peter Maxwell, a keen chorister in St Matthew’s Church Morrisville and participant in our Branch activities will returning to the UK shortly. We wish him and his wife Mary well in their move back home to his family.
Congratulations to Dr Ray Harlow on receiving a RSCM Special Service Award- which will be presented to him in St Peter’s Cathedral Hamilton during a Sunday morning service.
Our thanks to Morrinsville Methodist Church, Glenis & Neville Westbury for organizing and leading our activity in the church today, and the people who set-up the hall for the AGM and served refreshments.
9th May 2021.
Since assuming the role as NZ”s Waikato Branch Chairman (2018) David Brookes has dramatically
energised RSCM outreach throughout the region. Examples include mounting Sing-along events
featuring Shirley Murray’s texts set by NZ composers and involving the clergy as MC’s for these.
He gathers regional choirs to perform oratorios (e.g.Stainer’s Crucifixion), and runs day Workshops
such as “Sing a New Song” which provide opportunities for locals
to exercise leadership and inspire choristers from all over the district. A special endeavor has
been to encourage increased numbers of sung Evensong Services by travelling together with
choristers from various centres throughout the region to host churches.
He continues teaching and encouraging choristers as well as taking steps to encourage musicians to study organ
playing which he has often done in the past as both teacher and inspirer.