News and Concerts

Come Sing with us in 2023

  • Join us and expand your musical horizons
  • Rehearsals are on Monday nights at 7-9pm from February to early December, at Newlands Christian Assembly, 126 Newlands Road, Newlands, Wellington
  • You are welcome to attend any rehearsal
  • There is free parking at the church and car pools operate from several areas
  • Our Musical Director is Ingrid Schoenfeld, who is also a concert pianist. The choir has a bright future under her leadership
  • Our Accompanist, composer Jonathan Berkahn, is skilled on the piano, organ, harpsichord, and accordion
  • Joining is easy – no formal audition required. Come to 3 rehearsals without obligation
  • We’re affordable. Annual membership subscriptions are set at the start of each year. We offer a reduced subscription for singers in the same household. And we have a discounted subscription for full time students
  • To keep these rates low, we have one or two fundraisers a year which are easy to sell to our supporters
  • We hold one or two choral workshops each year which are always well supported
  • Each year we support a good cause by taking a donation / koha at our Christmas concert
  • We also collaborate with other choirs and musical groups
  • The choir sings a wide range of sacred and secular music, and per-forms 3 or 4 concerts each year
  • We know you will make new friends in our supportive greater Wellington community choir 

If you have any questions, please contact:  

Ingrid Schoenfeld  (Musical Director)  027 240 6669  or Philip Garside  (Secretary),   475 8855

Festival Singers 2023 programme

  1. First rehearsal for the year:
    7:00pm Monday 13 February at Newlands Christian Assembly.
  2. 2023 AGM: 8:30pm Monday 27 March 2023 at Newlands. We will break for tea & coffee at 8:15pm.
  3. Possible Movie Fundraiser – March/April
  4. “Birds” concert – 7.00pm Saturday 13 May 2023 at Island Bay Presbyterian Church: 88 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington.
  • Soloist Rowena Simpson.
  1. Combined concert with St Mary of the Angels choir at St Mary’s – August 2023
  2. Recording of new arrangements by Jonathan Berkahn of NZ Hymnbook Trust hymns/songs
  • Probably 14-15 October, at St James, Lower Hutt
  • Choir commitment is one day of recording.
  1. Christmas Concert – A French Christmas – December 2023
  • Saint-Saëns: Christmas Oratorio. Charpentier: Messe de minuit pour Noël (Both in Latin)
  • Possibly Johnsonville.
  • We may have a workshop/open rehearsal at the church and advertise it to/invite the local community.
  1. Seatoun community Carols mid-Dec. 2022 at St Christopher’s, Seatoun.

• • •

Our last workshop

Our Last Concert

Originals by: Dowland, Henry VIII, Morley, Edwards & Weelkes.
Premiere of six new settings by Jonathan Berkahn.
And other delights.

Musical Director: Ingrid Schoenfeld
Accompanist: Jonathan Berkahn

We performed classic madrigals, freshly reset by renowned choral composer Jonathan Berkahn, combined with a selection of other favourites, such as the beautiful chorale “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” in its second life as Paul Simon’s famous “American Tune.”



Documentary Video about making the recording of A Hopkins Gloria


Buy Our Digital Album
A Hopkins Gloria

Click here to order the album on our Payhip store $15


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


  • For more information, please contact:
  • Ingrid Schoenfeld (Musical Director), 027 240 6669  or 
  • Philip Garside (Secretary)  475 8855