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2012 annual reports presented at the AGM held on 18 March 2013

Marie Brown, Music Director

It is my pleasure to present the Kapiti Chorale Music Director’s Report 2012.

Three very different and challenging concerts were presented in 2012 to sell-out audiences.

The first, entitled A Royal Variety Show, was a concert to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  Soloists were Amelia Ryman and Jonathan Abernethy with Andrew Weir on Bagpipes and Peter Averi, organ.  This was a hugely enjoyable and popular programme and one perfectly suited to the strengths of the Kapiti Chorale.  A lovely blessing by Elizabeth Salmon was sung during the concert to honour our Patron, Peter Godfrey, who had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

The Chorale had invited Peter, on the eve of his birthday, to come prior to rehearsal, where a supper and splendid cake were produced.  Peter conducted Oculi omnium which concluded with his trademark sniff!  Many tales were told and stories and memories shared.  We give thanks to Peter, our much-loved Patron, for his on-going support and interest and for the inspiration he has given to singers, conductors and students over the years.

Continuing on our theme of British music in this Jubilee year, our second concert began with a first half of British choral favourites with tenor Thomas Atkins.  The second half was the Stabat Mater of Karl Jenkins with orchestra and mezzo soprano Ellen Barrett.  I believe this was a Wellington première.  We had an orchestra who embraced this exciting and challenging new work and were fortunate to have engaged very dynamic, professional percussionists.  The rhythms and varied styles took the Chorale to a new level of expertise.  The performance was a triumph.

Our third and final concert of the year was yet another departure from our comfort zone.  Showtime, featured soprano Barbara Graham and baritone Fredi Jones.  Show music filled the first half and the second half, featuring 100 years of Broadway, was a non-stop medley of Broadway hits accompanied by a jazz combo comprising drum kit, double bass and two trumpets with Ellen Barrett on piano.  This fast-moving and constantly changing medley was a challenge to rehearse and for singers to learn.  It was a sell-out success and perhaps attracted some new audience members and was enthusiastically received.  Peter Averi wrote to me ‘Now I am convinced the Chorale can do anything.’

Praise Be  Following on from our recording in 2011 for TVNZ’s Praise Be, the Chorale has subsequently appeared three times.

The fifth Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Achievement was awarded to bass, Jamie Henare.  Jamie will be singing in our next concert and I am delighted that we have been able to give each recipient a performance opportunity with the Chorale.  I have watched with interest the subsequent progress of these singers and I congratulate the Kapiti Chorale, once again, for the initiative of this award and the invaluable support it gives to young artists at this critical stage in their studies.

Arts Venue  We are continuing in efforts to support plans for an arts venue in the region.  Norma McCallum was invited by Catharine Scollay, Arts representative, to attend a meeting concerning the Council’s long-term plan for a new arts venue.  Janie Cook, our Secretary, followed this up by sending in the feedback form on our behalf.

A submission was sent on behalf of the Kapiti Chorale on the consideration of Raumati Pool as a possible arts venue.

A visit to Southwards has also been taken to see if that venue can be adapted to our needs.

Recruitment  An advertisement for new members, particularly tenors and basses was placed in the Kapiti Observer with several interested responses.  There is a need to be continually recruiting.

Committee  I would like to thank our dedicated and committed committee.  Their collective expertise, hard work and constant attention to detail is a great support to me and an invaluable asset to the choir.  Their work enables us all to get on with the job of making music.  Each member deserves thanks but my special thanks go to our President, Andrew Thompson-Davies and our tireless Secretary, Janie Cook.

Whilst on the subject of thanks, I wish to acknowledge our rehearsal pianist, vocal coach, life-member and friend to the Chorale, Ellen Barrett.  Ellen’s devotion to the Chorale is unwavering, her support, friendship and musicianship faultless.  We are so lucky to have her and I know she is loved and appreciated by us all.

Lastly, I thank you, the members of the Kapiti Chorale.  I greatly value my association with you.  You never cease to amaze me.  Your enthusiasm and dedication is inspiring as is your love of singing.  You always give of your best and this is the quality I value the most.

I wish you well in your thirtieth year.


Andrew Thompson-Davies, President

The Music

Each of us joined the Kapiti Chorale for the Music.  When we think about it, I’m sure there are other aspects that we value about our membership, such as the camaraderie, our personal growth, and the general community good that the Kapiti Chorale represents.  But it is the Music that keeps us, and our audiences, here.

And it is first and foremost our Music Director, Marie Brown that enables us to have, and be, and give the Music. She really is amazing, and we are so very lucky to have her directing us with her talent, dedication, enthusiasm and humour.  Marie puts a huge amount of time and effort into directing us, and our concerts are getting better every time because of her - so much so that all our concerts in 2012 were virtually sold out.

The other first and foremost person we are so lucky to have helping us is of course our Rehearsal Pianist (and regular soloist) Ellen Barrett.  She is a true friend of the Chorale, and I am personally ever thankful to Ellen for her frequent unsolicited but ever-so-needed-by-me emphasis of the tenor notes when I am struggling to latch on to them.  Ellen supports us like no other pianist could.

A huge thank you to both Marie and Ellen.

The Committee’s Work

As I see it, the President’s role is to lead the committee in handling all the administrative aspects of Chorale’s activities, so that the Music Director is free to primarily focus on the Music.

There is a surprisingly large amount of work that the committee gets through to ensure the Chorale has a successful year, and I very much appreciate all the work done by each and every one of our committee members this year.  This has enabled us to have a very successful year.  I am especially thankful to our Secretary Janie Cook.  Most of you will be aware that Janie does a huge amount of work for us, but truth be told, she does even more work for us behind the scenes.  She has been an immense help to me throughout the year.

Prue and Julie stand down after many years of service on the committee

This year two long-serving committee members are stepping down – Prue Hyman and Julie Jensen.  Prue has worked tirelessly to ensure that we sold as many concert tickets as we possibly could, and was actively and conscientiously engaged in committee issues, especially those with a financial impact.  Our current finances are very healthy and that is in no small part due to the careful financial management of our treasurer Julie, assisted by her husband Mike – a retired accountant.  Thank you Prue and Julie.

The Great Piano Challenge

A major challenge in 2012 was our purchase of a replacement rehearsal piano from The PianoShop Ltd, who went bust while in possession of the piano we paid for.  Although it cost us extra, in the end we thankfully acquired our piano, and are much luckier than the hundreds of other fraud victims of The PianoShop.  This was a very difficult time for the Chorale, and we are especially thankful to Tony Fuell in finding the piano for us and dealing with the early stages of this crisis.  We are also immensely grateful to Denise Evans who calmly and professionally guided us through the resolution – all pro bono.  Later the NZ Choral Federation Wellington Region generously granted us $300 to help cover the loss on the piano.

The Concert Venue Challenge

This issue grows more pressing as St Paul’s is now strictly enforcing its audience number limits, with significant curtailment of ticket sales.  Scheduling the church is also becoming increasingly difficult.  We are committed in our efforts to find a bigger and better venue, and are currently actively investigating one prospect.

Priorities

In 2012, I tried to focus on a few things:-

  • Being an effective chairperson for the committee so that we could through our business effectively and collegially
  • Continuing our fiscal prudence, but also paying fairly for services provided to us
  • Doing the ground work so that we can start to apply for and receive grants
  • Started the work on registering us as a charity, so that we can avoid paying income tax
  • Preserving good relations with St Paul’s Anglican Church – our host.

In 2013 we have already started work on two key priorities:

  • securing more grants, so that we can spend more on our performances – making them better, and
  • securing a bigger performance venue, so that even more people can benefit from our concerts.

The Music

Once again, I say thank you to Marie and Ellen, and to all my fellow committee members for the hard work they put in to keep the show on the road, and to all members for your continuing dedication to the Music.

Thank you all.  You make membership of the Kapiti Chorale a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

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