Our Next 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.”

Book at EventBrite

Tickets also available from Choir members.

Door sales available
(Cash only: no EFTPOS or credit cards)


Your ticket package includes your personal copy
of the digital album of the A Hopkins Gloria.

We will give you a download link at the concert.

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

You will also see a video by Alexander Garside
about the making of the recording.

And we will serve supper!!

Here is a small taste of the delights that await you!

Composer’s note:

In the back of my mind were Classical and Baroque “cantata-masses” where each fragment of the 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 the New Zealand Prayer Book). 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 25 years. I thought of inhabiting this canonical text with other, related texts (“and the birds of the air 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 realised that the second half of his “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection” could bring about a return to the joyful mood of the whole.

So there is a kind of spiritual drama, a dark night of the soul, in the middle section of the piece. And it may be worth saying that the 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 enacting this remains a difficult musical and emotional problem.

Jonathan Berkahn, Sept 2019


Our last concert

Under the Greenwood Tree

Old music for a new season

Choral music by:
Duruflé, Ford, Palestrina, Tallis,Morley & David Hamilton.

We also featured:
Ingrid Schoenfeld – Piano:
Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies by Respighi

2:30 pm Sat. 10 October 2020
St Andrew’s on the Terrace

Click here to download the Programme for our concert


Festival Singers 2020 plans

Thanks for visiting our website.

We have resumed Monday night rehearsals at Newlands Christian Assembly.

If you are looking for a choir to sing with in 2020 we’d love hear from you.

Here is a summary of our plans for the remainder of 2020:

  • Video and Audio Recordings: 8 August 2020

  • We will record audio at St James Anglican Church Lower Hutt, of the entire A Hopkin’s Gloria for commercial release. We will also be filming a promotional video of the choir performing a movement of Jonathan Berkahn’s A Hopkin’s Gloria, and a documentary video about the composition and the process of recording it.
  • Early music concert – 2:30pm Saturday 1o October 2020 at St Andrews on the Terrace
  • 7:00pm Friday 4 December 2020: Launch Concert for our Digital Album: A Hopkins’ Gloria by Jonathan Berkahn.
    St James Anglican Church, 71 Woburn Road, Lower Hutt.

    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

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