Festival Singers 2021 plans

Thanks for visiting our website.

We have resumed 7:00pm Monday night rehearsals at Newlands Christian Assembly 126 Newlands Road, Newlands, Wellington

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 the remainder of 2021:

Mid-Year REVIVAL Choral Workshop

10am to 4pm Saturday 29 May 2021, at St Hilda’s Anglican Church, Island Bay.

See below for details

Starlit Night concert: August

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

Ceremony of Carols Christmas Concert:
20 November 2021 more details to follow

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


Festival Singers’ Mid-Year REVIVAL Choral Workshop


For all singers!

Saturday 29 May 2021, 10am to 4pm
St Hilda’s Anglican Church,
311 The Parade, Island Bay

Only $30

You will learn about:

  • Singing technique
  • Vocal health
  • Learning music by ear
  • Listening to improve ensemble and intonation
  • Good posture

 Sessions professionally led by:

  • William McElwee (vocal coach)
  • Eleanor McGechie (alto soloist)
  • Emile van der Mespel (experienced, fully registered Alexander Technique teacher)
  • Ingrid Schoenfeld (musical director)

Bring your own lunch. Morning tea provided. Sheet music provided.


  • 9:30 to 10:00: Tea & coffee, and mingling
  • 10:00: Welcome — Ingrid
  • 10:00 to 12:00: Warmup, sectionals and choir magic — courtesy of Eleanor McGechie & William McElwee
  • 12:00 to 1:00: Lunch and swimming
  • 1:00 to 2:00: Alexander technique — Emile van der Mespel
  • 2:00 to 2:30: Afternoon tea
  • 2:30-3:30: Learning by ear and bringing it all together — Ingrid


Our last Concert

Come and be swept up in the drama and vigour of two vibrant, contrasting masses –  Dvorák’s epic Mass in D, sung with four excellent soloists, followed by Chilcott’s infectious Little Jazz Mass.


“Mass Appeal”
Chilcott: A Little Jazz Mass — Dvorák : Mass in D major

Festival Singers presented an afternoon of joyful music.

Director: Ingrid Schoenfeld

Accompanist: Jonathan Berkahn

Soprano – Rebecca Woodmore
Alto – Sinéad Keane
Tenor – Garth Norman
Baritone – William McElwee

3pm Sunday 23 May 2021

St James Anglican Church
71 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt

Click to download the programme PDF

Documentary Video about making the recording of A Hopkins Gloria


Buy Our Digital Album
A Hopkins Gloria

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


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


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


  • For more information, please contact:

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

  • Philip Garside (Secretary)
    books@pgpl.co.nz  475 8855

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

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