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2011 annual reports presented at the AGM held in March 2012

Marie Brown M.Phil (Music), Music Director

It is my pleasure to present the Kapiti Chorale Music Director’s Report 2011.

As is our tradition three concerts were presented.

The first on May 8, entitled Homage to Haydn, featured the Little Organ Mass and excerpts from The Seasons and The Creation with soloists Janey Mackenzie, John Beaglehole and Roger Wilson.  With such an excellent line-up of soloists, our impeccable organist, Peter Averi, and choruses well-suited to the Chorale, it was a very enjoyable and successful concert.

As is also a tradition with the Kapiti Chorale, a large number attended the NZCF Workshop in Wellington April 29/30, this year under my direction.  The presentation of Haydn’s The Creation was a helpful lead-in to our concert the following week.

Several members successfully auditioned to join in the NZCF Rugby World Cup Choir in Wellington to sing the appropriate anthems prior to the Wellington games.

Session two saw a change in pattern with a collaboration with the Kapiti Concert Orchestra under Conductor Kenneth Young.  The programme included Mozart’s Paris Symphony, Kyrie K.341 and Ave verum corpus and in the second half the Requiem of Cherubini.  Working with another organisation had its challenges and performance in the unforgiving acoustic of the Waikanae Memorial Hall was difficult.  Kenneth Young conducted the entire performance for which I was very grateful as it allowed me to attend my nephew’s wedding in Scotland.  The Chorale gave of its best, of course, including battling snow storms to attend the final rehearsal!

Praise Be  It was an honour to be invited to record for TVNZ’S Praise Be in Levin on Wednesday, 2 November.  The Chorale responded positively to this invitation even though this was not on a rehearsal evening and required travel, by car or the commissioned bus.

Peter Averi reported back that ‘to have a choir so well-prepared and ready to perform did not go unnoticed’.  As I wrote afterwards I was very proud of the Chorale every step of the way, from your punctuality, your stoic coping with less than ideal warm-up conditions to your stirling performances and professional approach to recording demands.  Your handling of all these factors meant that recording was effortless and efficient and a pleasant experience for all.  To be given a slot, following this recording, on Christmas morning was a real thrill as is the up-coming slot on Good Friday.

A special thank-you to Peter Averi, our great supporter and Life Member, and in this case Music Director for Praise Be.

Our third and final concert of the year was entitled Gloria ,a concert of glorious music featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria with soloists from the NZ School of Music, Bridget Costello, Imogen Thirlwall and Emily Simcox.  We were joined by Trumpeter Andrew Weir who stunned the audience with his virtuosic performances of Handel’s Concerto No.3 in G minor and Gloria in excelsis Deo arranged by famous trumpeter Maurice André.  Excerpts from Charpentier’s delightful Messe de Minuit concluded a concert that was both delightful and thrilling.

During this concert I was able to announce the fourth recipient of the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance, tenor Thomas Atkins.  I would like to add how rewarding it was to welcome back our second recipient, Imogen Thirlwall and to hear the progress she had made.

Thomas wrote that awards such as ours ‘give the support that singers need in this tough career path.’  We must endeavour to retain and increase this valuable support to our young artists.

Ellen Barrett, our rehearsal pianist, vocal coach, Life Member and special friend deserves special thanks.  Her devotion to the Chorale is unwavering, her support, friendship and musicianship faultless.  I know I speak for the whole choir in expressing gratitude and thanks.

Recruitment  We are a large choir but must always attract new members.  There is always a need for more tenors and basses.

Committee  In such a large choir it is essential that members respect the rules and particularly the people who work so hard in their interests.

We are particularly blessed at this time with a dedicated and committed committee.  Their expertise, hard work and constant attention to detail is a great support to me and enables us all to get on with the business of making music without unnecessary distractions.  Each committee member deserves individual thanks but I would like to especially thank Janie Cook who has worked tirelessly, not only as Secretary but who has also assumed the unfilled position of President.  We simply could not function without these generous people.

I would like to conclude this report with thanks, firstly to our Patron Professor Godfrey for his continuing support and to you, the members of the Kapiti Chorale for your weekly enthusiasm and love of singing.

I greatly value my association with you.

President's Report

note: there wasn't an official president elected in 2011.  Janie Cook ended up effectively performing that role, as well as her official role of Secretary.  So Janie calls this her ‘non-president's’ report.

Deviating from the norm prevailed in 2011, starting with Haydn getting his homage on a Saturday instead of the usual Sunday.  During our break between the morning dress rehearsal and the afternoon concert, we weren’t allowed to talk!  We sang rousingly to an enthusiastic if somewhat undersized audience, possibly a consequence of being Saturday.  The second session with the orchestra was unusual in almost every respect.  The organisation was managed by a joint subcommittee, which was generally successful though the venue set-up was quite a challenge.  We sang with a full orchestra, in a different venue, under a different conductor, and on a Saturday; we held an afternoon tea open to the whole audience and we produced a CD.  We were without Marie for the last few rehearsals so she could be in Scotland.  And to dispel any remaining complacency, on the evening of an important rehearsal with the orchestra, nature hurled a once-in-a-lifetime snowstorm at us!  Then in the third session, we were pleased to have ‘Bonnie Marie Come Back Again’, and the session started normally enough.  It was soon interjected with an exciting invitation to film Praise Be. This proved to be an exhilarating experience for all (where we also revived our ladies’ scarves).  By concert day we had made up for lost time, and sang on our usual Sunday to our usual burgeoning audience, thus ending another interesting and rewarding year in the hands of our masterful inspired and inspiring Music Director.

The final concert highlighted the choir's biggest challenge which developed in the year.  After some negotiation with St Paul's about the church's audience capacity, our limit is set at 250 audience, and allowing for 90 on stage, a total of 340 in the church.  This is a constraint on our finances, on audience expectation, and on managing tickets.  To cope with this, the ticket process will need to be adapted.  Further, to address the reduced income and rising costs, the committee has reluctantly decided to raise the concert ticket price to $25.  This is the same price as similar performances and will allow more options artistically.  We hope this will meet the financial requirements without having to raise subscriptions; if it doesn't, we will first attempt alternate funding such as sponsorship or grants.

Meanwhile we are engaged with Council on their Arts Strategy in support of a new performance venue, and will consider suitable existing alternatives for concerts.

Other notes:

In 2011 a change was made to hosting of the chorale website, which made it cheaper and easier to administer.  It is a useful tool which we are committed to keeping up-to-date and relevant.

We are sad to record the death in 2011 of two long-time members, Linda Morgan in June and Elizabeth Giles in December.  Our choir was very important to them, and they are missed. Our next concert includes a piece many of us sang at Elizabeth's funeral.

I wish to acknowledge the contributions of all committee members.  Session after session these volunteers undertake many tasks that keep us running smoothly.  They also must spend time making considered, sometimes challenging decisions, always for the choir's best interests.

The choir is grateful to its patron Peter Godfrey.  We also appreciate Peter Averi's active support, participation and interest in the well-being of the choir.  The incomparable Ellen Barrett, otherwise known as Our Ellen, with us every unfailingly every Monday, is part of the heart and soul of this choir, and we are so thankful for it.  And finally, how is it we expand higher and wider, always advancing, and get such pleasure and satisfaction from being in this choir?  The answer is: We are blessed with a conductor who has talent, energy and perception, and who is willing to give us these things, along with a great deal of her time, for our benefit. Thank you, Marie.