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Festival Singers’ Choral Workshop

For all singers!

Saturday 30 January 2021, 10am to 4pm
St Hilda’s Anglican Church,
311 The Parade, Island Bay

You will learn about:

  • vocal technique
  • how to approach a choral work (looking at the Benedictus from Dvorak’s Mass in D major)
  • good posture &
  • a new composition by Jonathan Berkahn.

Sessions professionally led by:

  • William McElwee (vocal coach)
  • Emile van der Mespel (Alexander Technique specialist)
  • Ingrid Schoenfeld (musical director) &
  • Chalene Scott (musical theatre warm ups)

Sheet music will be supplied. Benedictus from Dvorak’s Mass in D major, and a new piece by Jonathan Berkahn. Bring your own lunch. Morning tea provided.

Entry fee $30.

Click here to Book at Eventbrite

Or bring cash on the day.

Schedule: 

From 9:30 onwards – coffee and tea

Please arrive no later than 9:50

10-10:10 Welcome

10:10 – 10:40 Physical warmup with Chalene Scott

10:40 – 11:40 How to approach a choral work – looking at the Benedictus from Dvorak’s Mass in D major led by Ingrid Schoenfeld

11:40 – 12 Morning tea

12-1 Vocal technique workshop with William McElwee

1-2 Lunch (and swimming, if you want!)

2-3 Session with Emile van der Mespel, Alexander Technique specialist

3-4 Bringing it all together – workshopping a new piece written by Jonathan Berkahn – led by Ingrid Schoenfeld

About the presenters

First we have the wonderful Chalene Scott, who has a Bachelor’s in Performing Arts but more importantly, has been doing theatre for almost all her life. She has done musical direction for many musicals, as well as devised movement and theatre pieces, and is excited to bring a tiny bit of theatricality to your day. She’ll be leading a physical warm-up to start us off.

William McElwee is in demand as a choral conductor and vocal coach, praised for his ability to get outstanding vocalism from choirs and to stretch them musically.  He has recently returned to Wellington from the United Kingdom, where he was Musical Director of the Collegium Singers in Taunton and the Yeovil Chamber Choir, Assistant Musical Director of Budleigh Salterton Male Voice Choir, Organist at Holy Family Church Honiton, and Singing Teacher at The Gryphon School in Sherborne, while maintaining a private teaching studio and singing as a Deputy Lay Clerk at Exeter Cathedral and Buckfast Abbey.

William trained as an operatic soloist at the New Zealand School of Music and New Zealand Opera School.  Recent highlights of his performing repertoire are the bass solos in Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St Matthew Passion and the title role in The Marriage of Figaro.  Alongside his PGDip in Performance Voice, he holds a BSc in Mathematics and a BA in English and Latin with Honours in English Language.

Emile van der Mespel is a very experienced, fully registered Alexander Technique teacher.

Ingrid Schoenfeld is the musical director of Festival Singers.

What to bring

  • Your glorious self (and your singer friends – it’s open to everyone)
  • $30 cash, if you haven’t booked via Eventbrite
  • A packed lunch
  • A soft pencil and eraser
  • A swimsuit and towel if you’d like to swim at lunch

Email Philip Garside books@pgpl.co.nz for more information.

See you there.

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Festival Singers 2021 plans

Thanks for visiting our website.

We will resume Monday night rehearsals at Newlands Christian Assembly starting 7:00pm Monday 1 February 2021.

If you are looking for a choir to sing with in 2021 we’d love hear from you.

Here is a summary of our plans for 2021:

  • Festival Singers’ Choral Workshop: Saturday 30 January 2021, 10am to 4pm

    St Hilda’s Anglican Church, 311 The Parade, Island Bay.

    Sessions professionally led by:

    • William McElwee (vocal coach)
    • Emile van der Mespel (Alexander Technique specialist)
    • Ingrid Schoenfeld (musical director) &
    • Chalene Scott (musical theatre warm ups)

    Sheet music will be supplied. Benedictus from Dvorak’s Mass in D major, and a new piece by Jonathan Berkahn.

  • Starlit Night concert: Early July

    Matariki themed concert featuring: Seek Him That Maketh the Seven Stars by Jonathan Dove

    Ceremony of Carols Christmas Concert: Mid to late November

    Featuring Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, with Michelle Velvin harpist.

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Order Our Digital Album
A Hopkins Gloria

Click here to order the album directly from us, or from Bandcamp

Or

Click here to buy the album as a Gift for someone else on Bandcamp

Here is Alexander Garside’s video about making the album.

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Here is Alexander Garside’s trailer video about the album

Composer’s note:

A Hopkins Gloria was initially premiered at a concert that included two other Glorias, by Vivaldi and by John Rutter. In the back of my mind were Classical and Baroque “cantata-masses” like Vivaldi’s Gloria, where each fragment of the (Latin) text is spun out into a complete movement. I was tempted in this direction, but decided at length to set the text in English (mostly the version in A New Zealand Prayer Book) – partly because most of the rest of the concert was in Latin. And as soon as I had made that decision, I felt that I couldn’t repeat each clause indefinitely, treating them as tokens to fill out abstract musical designs, but had to regard the text (or at least larger sections of it) as meaningful wholes.

Then I had an idea. Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Pied Beauty (“Glory be to God for dappled things…”) came into my head, which I had attempted without success to set at various times over the last twenty-five years. I thought of ‘inhabiting’ this canonical text with other, related texts (“and the birds of the air shall make their homes in its branches…”). It occurred to me that one of Hopkins’ Terrible Sonnets, written out of his blackest depression, could make a useful counterpoint to the Agnus Dei sections; then I wondered if the second half of his “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection” might work as a way of bringing about a return to the joyful mood of the whole.

So there is a kind of spiritual drama, a dark night of the soul, at the heart of the piece. And it may be worth saying that the emotional dynamic of this section – the attempt to soothe and manage dark imaginings in the early hours of the morning by repetition of the Agnus Dei prayer – is, quite literally, something that has been a regular part of my spiritual life. I do believe, somehow, that joy will have the final word; but suffering and resurrection have to happen first.

Jonathan Berkahn, December 2020

Our last concert

A Hopkins Gloria by Jonathan Berkahn
Digital album launch celebration

7:00pm Friday 4 December 2020
St James Anglican Church
71 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt.

“New Zealand choral music at its best.”

We performed the whole Gloria accompanied by
Alto: Eleanor McGechie
Soprano saxophonist: Genevieve Davidson
and the Composer on piano.

We also view a video by Alexander Garside
about the making of the recording.

Click here to download the Programme for the launch concert

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  • For more information, please contact:

  • Ingrid Schoenfeld (Musical Director)
    ingrid.s@outlook.co.nz, 027 240 6669  or


  • Philip Garside (Secretary)
    bookspgpl@gmail.com, 475 8855

Site designed and maintained by Philip Garside: www.pgpl.co.nz

Copyright Festival Singers 2009-2020