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2013 annual reports presented at the AGM held on 10 March 2014

Marie Brown, Music Director (January to August 2013) 

It is my pleasure to prepare a part-report as retiring Music Director of the Kapiti Chorale 2013 to be presented by the Secretary, Janie Cook.

2013 was the year with a difference, notably for being the 30th anniversary of the Kapiti Chorale but including the retirement of our long-standing organist Peter Averi and my unexpected relocation to Auckland.  In keeping with tradition, three programmes were prepared.

Planning for our first concert was for a 30th Anniversary Tribute to our wonderful organist, Life Member and friend, Peter Averi who had advised that this was to be his last concert with us.  I consulted with him as to his personal favourites and a wonderful programme, so perfectly suited to the strengths of the Chorale was devised.  A couple of weeks before the concert, Peter’s long-time colleague and friend, Tony Vercoe, formerly of Kiwi Records, generously offered to record this concert.  It was a wonderful personal tribute which had a very positive outcome for us in that we had a first-class recording for our anniversary year.

You may recall that our young bass soloist turned up smartly dressed but minus his shoes!  You may also recall the frantic arrival at 2.29pm of a motor-bike helmeted man bearing size 12 black shoes.  This drama I am sure contributed to the generosity of the appeal we made that day to boost the scholarship fund for the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Achievement.  In fact our award was doubled that day.  It is so satisfying to realise that the Kapiti Chorale has now assisted six promising young singers.

The following Monday we reunited for the magnificent anniversary dinner.  This was a wonderful evening of fun and friendship.  What hidden talents were revealed that night, most notably those of Janie Cook who did such a convincing rendition of me, your manic Music Director, that I was awash with tears of mirth for some time, not to mention nearly choking on a mouthful of wine that I couldn’t swallow as I was laughing so hard.  It was a wonderfully happy night to remember!

Our second concert was entitled Hit and Myth with selections from opera and operatic choruses.  This was presented with two-piano accompaniment replacing our usual organ.  Ellen Barrett and Rafaella Garlick-Grice did a splendid job and worked so well together.  It was a joy for me that Peter Averi joined in to accompany three items as a tribute to my final appearance with the Chorale.

The farewell afternoon tea following the concert was so special.  The tributes, sung blessing, sumptuous food, incredible cake, touching messages on a very large card, magnificent flowers and the unique brooch in the form of an exquisite tui which I wear with love, nostalgia and gratitude contributed to a special and treasured memory for me.

Special thanks go to the wonderful committee.  My unexpected departure added pressures to an already demanding year.  I was truly grateful that Stuart Douglas made himself available to ‘hold the fort' for Messiah enabling me to leave knowing you were in good hands.  The committee then had to turn to finding a new Music Director and I am sure they have made the right choice for you in Eric Sidoti.

I especially wish to thank our rehearsal pianist, Ellen Barrett who has been such a support to me and such a joy for us all to work with.

Lastly, I thank you all, the members of the Kapiti Chorale. I have enjoyed a marvellous eight years as your Music Director.  I thank you sincerely for your friendship and loyalty and I congratulate you on your devotion to your choir.  You have had an impressive thirty years and I wish you every success as you enter the next decade.


Guest Music Director, Stuart Douglas (September to December 2013)

We recall Stuart's email to choir following two successful performances of Messiah.

Well, you really came up with the goods and brought off a fine performance that was WORTHY of this great work.  All your hard work paid off in the end.  There was real excitement, drama and intensity in all the right places.  Congratulations and well done!

I'd like to mention how impressed I've been with the lovely warm and co-operative spirit in the Chorale and how many people do so much to make things happen.  While some of us out front get to bask in the GLORY there is so much GOODWILL among those behind the scenes.  I could name names - obviously Janie and the WONDERFUL committee come to mind - but I keep becoming aware of other people busily ‘doing stuff’ and taking initiative when they spot things that need doing.  This is a MARVELLOUS aspect of the Chorale and one to treasure.  I'm sure Eric will really appreciate it when he takes over next year.

Stuart added that he is sure our first session with Eric will be going well, and looks forward to the concert.


Andrew Thompson-Davies, President

2013 was our 30th Anniversary Year – and what a big year it was for us!

We had great concerts, great social/celebratory events, and one huge change.

That change was of course our Music Director Marie Brown, resigning and moving to Auckland, and our appointment of her replacement Eric.  It sounds so easy when you say it like that – in one brief sentence.  It was of course anything but easy!

I think it was because Marie was so loved by us all, and because we were so pleased with the progress we had made under her direction over the last eight years, that we were shocked at the thought of somehow having to replace her.  It really was daunting, and we were of course worried that we might not be able to find someone good to take on the role.

Once we heard the news, we had to quickly find an interim MD for our 3rd session, and we were pleased to be able to secure Stuart Douglas to take us for Messiah in Session 3 - and he did a fantastic job.

Next followed a huge amount of work to design and run the process of appointing a new MD. We set up an Appointment Sub Committee to do the more detailed preparation work, and to interview the candidates.  The members were: me, Janie Cook, Ruth Barrett, and as our expert - Life Member Peter Averi.  I think the best thing we did was to invite Peter to participate.  His experience and professionalism was a huge help, and we all owe him our thanks for his generosity and loyalty to the Chorale.

It was an immense relief to us all, when having got to the end of that process, that we were able to appoint Eric Sidoti to the role of Music Director of The Kapiti Chorale.  A relief not just because we had managed to appoint an MD, but because we had actually managed to attract and appoint what we regarded as a very good MD.  Thank you for taking us on Eric, and I hope you stay with The Kapiti Chorale for many, many years!

St Paul’s

Another area of challenge for the committee in 2013 was our continuing negotiations with St Paul’s.  They had come to the conclusion that they felt we had outgrown the church for our concerts, and wanted us to find an alternate venue.  This was at least in part due to almost all of our concerts in the last year or so being virtually sold out.  It was also due to the fact that they were having increasing internal diocesan bookings of the church.

After much searching and assessing of potential venues, we confirmed that unfortunately there is no better performance venue for us in Paraparaumu or Waikanae right now.  We went back to St Paul’s and asked them to reconsider their position.  We also committed to ensuring that if they did let us stay on, that we would make the concerts go as smoothly as possible from their perspective, and comply with all the new health and safety requirements they were having to implement.  This also meant we had to accept fewer people in the audience – and thus reduced ticket sales.

After much negotiation and several meetings, I am pleased to be able to report that we have reached agreement in principle for our session I & II concerts this year (2014) to be held at St Paul’s.  (Our session III concert is a joint concert with The Kapiti Concert Orchestra and the Kapiti Chamber Choir, and will be help in the new Nga Purapura venue in Otaki.)

Possibly the most important job for this year’s incoming committee will be to secure performing venues for us in 2015.

The Book

Another very important task will be completing the 30th Anniversary book (lead by Carol Dyer, and now assisted by Denise and Vivien).  Carol has put a huge amount of work into getting our archives collected and into shape, and in writing the book.  It’s going to be great when it comes out.

A couple of other noteworthy things happened in 2013

We put out a professionally recorded CD, which sold well – we ended up distributing 130 copies.

We increased the amount we pay out in our annual scholarship to the NZ School of Music – to $500.

Our finances

I am very pleased (and to be honest, pleasantly surprised) that we actually managed to make a small surplus in 2013.  With our big concerts, and the extra social events, and extra expenses this year, there was a real risk we could have made a loss.

Putting on big concerts with orchestras and two performances is more financially risky for us, but it does make our concerts that much better, and I hope we do many more of them.  Our financial reserves allow us to take on that risk.

As you know, I am stepping down from the committee and the role of President today

I have enjoyed my three years on the committee, with the last two as President.  As it turns out, we had a lot of work to do over that time and I am proud of what we have achieved.  I am very thankful for all the great work that the committee members did (and continue to do). They ‘keep the show on the road’.  Thanks of course must go to our great Music Directors – Marie & Stuart in 2013, and now in 2014, Eric.  They give us ‘the Music’.

Janie too is stepping down from the committee today, and I know her good humour, diligence, excellent judgement, and willingness to go the extra mile will be greatly missed.  You all know how fantastic she is - she is quite simply amazing.  I’d especially like to thank Janie for all the help she has given me.  Janie has been an absolute delight to work with, and her wise counsel enabled me to do my job better.  Thank you Janie.

I wish the incoming committee, which will have many returning members with a great deal of experience amongst them (as well some keen new members), all the best as they take us forward.

Thank you all.