Concerts & News

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.


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 for more information.

See you there.


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.

  • ___________
  • * * * * *

    Our Musical Director


    We welcomed Ingrid Schoenfeld as our Musical Director from July 2019

    Ingrid Schoenfeld is a classical pianist and accomplished teacher. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance with first-class Honours at the New Zealand School of Music.

    She has learned primarily from Richard Mapp as well as Dr. Jian Liu, and has played in masterclasses for Diedre Irons, Janos Cegledy, Paul Rickard-Ford, Natalia Sheludiakova, and the New Zealand String Quartet, among others. In addition to piano, she also studied harpsichord for three years under prominent early music specialists Dr Erin Helyard and Douglas Mews.

    She made her orchestral debut in 2016 with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, playing Shostakovich’s 2nd piano concerto.

    Ingrid studied conducting at the New Zealand School of Music under Kenneth Young, and has conducted and accompanied multiple choirs around Wellington, including the Northern Chorale, St. James church choir, and the St. Mary of the Angels Youth Choir.

    She sang with the St. Mary of the Angels church choir for two years, was a reserve member in the New Zealand Youth Choir, and currently sings in the Wellington Cathedral Choir under Michael Stewart.

    In addition to performing regularly in solo, chamber, and choral concerts, she runs a successful teaching studio.

    Ingrid has many exciting, creative ideas and the choir has a bright future under her leadership.

    Ingrid was Festival Singer’s Accompanist from the start of 2018 to mid-2019.

    Singalong Messiah

    Festival Singers (director Jonathan Berkahn)
    Northern Chorale (director Monika Smith)

    Tawa Orchestra — conductor Thomas Nikora


    With soloists:

    Shayna Tweed

    Linden Loader

    Declan Cudd

    William King

    7 pm Sunday 2 December 2018

    Wesley Methodist Church,
    75 Taranaki Street, Wellington

    The audience sang these choruses with us

    4 — And the glory of the Lord

    19 — O thou that tellest

    12 — For unto us a child is born

    17 — Glory to God in the highest

    23 — Behold the Lamb of God

    24 — Surely he hath borne our griefs

    25 — And with his stripes

    26 — All we like sheep

    28 — He trusted in God

    33 — Lift up your heads – second part

    44 — Hallelujah!

    46 — Since by man came death

    53 — Worthy is the Lamb – Amen

    Click here to download the
    PDF copy of the Programme booklet for this concert

    SingFest 2018

    Festival Singers was one of 8 community choirs who gathered
    on Saturday 7 April 2018 St Peter’s Church, Ruahine Street, Palmerston North, for SingFest 2018
    ***Special thanks to Kate Love Photographer for the photos***

    Ingrid’s dynamic conducting set us off at a fast pace, singing Awake the Harp – from Haydn’s Creation

    Jonathan leading us.

    The Festival Singers pews

    Singing Shenandoah

    Singing Shenandoah


    2017 Christmas Concert


    Come Celebrate Christmas

    Music included:
    Mozart’s charming Pastoral Mass in G major, K. 140, and works by J S Bach, William Billings, J Barnby, Edward Elgar, Jonathan Berkhan and Zoltan Kodaly.

    Directed by Jonathan Berkahn

    7-00pm Sunday 10 December 2017
    St Barnabas Anglican Church
    35 Box Hill, Khandallah

    Thomas Nikora ~ accompanist
    The Festival Players
    & special guests
    The Northern Chorale.

     A koha for Downtown Community Ministry was collected

    Click here to download a PDF of the programme booklet for the concert.


    NZ Choral Federation workshop

    On 5 & 6 May 2017 several Festival Singers members took part in the NZ Choral Federation’s workshop learning and then performing Donizetti’s Mass in G Minor.

    Wonderfully led by conductor David Squire and accompanied by our own Jonathan Berkahn. Thomas Nikora also helped out leading sectionals.

    Below are quick snaps of the basses, tenors and sopranos (top) and altos (bottom)