Kāpiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance

To encourage talent in young performers and future soloists, the Kāpiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance was created in 2008 to assist second-year students of the New Zealand School of Music in proceeding to their third year of study.

Julie Coulson, then-Chair of Scholarships Committee, said;

"The support of the musical community means a lot to us - quite literally you are our foundation, future and fellow companions."

The award is made in December of each year for the following year.

2023: Sarah Mileham

Previously from Tauranga, Sarah is a soprano with a beautiful lyric voice. Now based in Wellington, she has had a great deal of experience in choirs as part of the NZ Youth Choir, NZ Secondary Schools Choir and now Voices NZ. She was a soloist for NZ Choral Federation's May 2021 Fauré Requiem and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. She has also had significant success at the Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions.

Sarah wrote to us in early 2023:

As I go into my third year at the NZSM, I have a lot of goals, hopes and current achievements! My upcoming project is being a part of the Chorus in Lucia di Lammermoor with Wellington Opera. This will be performed in late March. I am very excited for the experience and knowledge I will gain through this! As for the future, I hope to participate in more competitions around NZ! I am currently planning on partaking in the upcoming Napier Performing Arts competition in April. The NZSM will also be putting on an opera this year, which should be a wonderful show with great promising young voices! I am looking forward to learning challenging rep this year and pushing myself in new and exciting ways!

I thought I should also let you know a little bit about me! I am 20 years old and grew up half in Cambridge and half in Tauranga. I have always loved to sing, dance and act since I was little. I spent most of high school with my foot in the door of every cultural group there was! I enjoyed conducting and singing in our multiple school choirs, playing percussion in the concert band, singing in the jazz band, doing musical theatre, and dancing in the schools stage challenge group! (I guess you can say I liked to stay busy). I also really enjoyed leadership and was one of the head students at my high school in my last year! Despite my general love for the arts, I only decided that I wanted to professionally pursue it in year 12. Being a part of the New Zealand Secondary School Choir really sealed the deal for me. I began getting my first proper lessons half way through 2019 with the fantastic Roger Stevenson and am now currently studying with the lovely Jenny Wollerman.

Once again, I’d just like to thank you for blessing me with this Scholarship. I am looking forward to performing with you in the future and wish you all the best for your 2023 season!

Sarah will be completing her third year in Classical Performance at NZSM (Victoria) this year under tutor Jenny Wollerman.

Sarah Mileham

Sarah with Jenny Wollerman

2022: Emily-Jane Stockman

Born in Lower Hutt and raised in Christchurch, I am a 21-year-old voice student going into my third year studying Classical Performance at the New Zealand School of Music under the tutelage of Jenny Wollerman and Margaret Medlyn. I've always enjoyed music from a very young age, and officially started singing lessons when I turned 9. At High School I was heavily involved in choir, barbershop and stage band, performing a wide range of genres. As a Year 13 student, a highlight was singing Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York, during our school’s music tour to USA. I was later awarded Cashmere High School’s ‘Arts Person of the Year’. During 2021, I took part in the Wellington Senior Vocal Competition and was awarded first place in both Oratorio and Musical Theatre categories. I enjoyed performing as part of the chorus for Orpheus in the Underworld produced by NZSM, and hope to pursue a career in Opera after graduation.

E-J Stockman

Emily-Jane Stockman

2021: Caitlin Roberts

Caitlin has recently completed her second year of a Bachelor of Music and Arts under the tutelage of Jenny Wollerman and Wade Kernot. Part of the chorus in multiple opera productions for Festival Opera between 2016-2020 including La Boheme, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, I Pagliacci & Cavalleria Rusticana, Caitlin was also a chorus member in 2019 for the New Zealand School of Music’s production of Suor Angelica

She has performed roles for the Hawkes Bay opera initiative Project Prima Volta (PPV); in 2016 as 'Belinda' in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, 'Damon' in the 2017 production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and in 2018 ‘Susanna’ from Le Nozze di Figaro in PPV’s opera scenes production, Scena. She has been awarded Second Place in the 18 & Under 21 Championship in the 2019 Wellington Senior Vocal Competitions and was the 2018 recipient of the Margaret Woodhouse Scholarship to aid her musical studies at Victoria University.  Caitlin recently returned to Hawkes Bay in September to reprise the role of ‘Belinda’ for Project Prima Volta and Napier Civic Choir’s production of Dido and Aeneas, and is incredibly excited to be selected as the Kāpiti Chorale Vocal Award winner for 2021.

Caitlin Roberts

2020: LJ Crichton

New Zealand-born Samoan tenor Lila Junior (LJ) Crichton is heading towards his third year studying Classical Performance, majoring in voice at NZSM under tutor Margaret Medlyn. Prior to studying at Te Kōki he spent 4 years as a student in Festival Opera New Zealand’s youth initiative Project Prima Volta (PPV). Through PPV and Festival Opera NZ, LJ has performed roles such as the Sorcerer in Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Le Dancaïre in Georges Bizet's Carmen and Goro in Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

Currently, LJ is rehearsing the role of Beppe for Festival Opera New Zealand’s 2020 production of opera’s most famous and spectacular pairing, Cavalleria Rusticana & I Pagliacci Last year, LJ was awarded the Deane Endowment Trust Special Jonathan Lemalu Scholarship to help further his studies at The New Zealand School of Music which gave him endless opportunities, such as forming a relationship with the Porirua-based Virtuoso Strings Orchestra and to learn and perform alongside them. LJ has recently been announced as the Kāpiti Chorale Vocal Award Winner and is very excited for what is to come, heading into the new year with the Kāpiti Chorale. He is very grateful for their generosity in helping him and other students excel in their studies in classical music.

2019: Michaela Cadwgan

Our latest vocal award winner, soprano Michaela Cadwgan, has just completed her second year of study, majoring in Classical Performance Voice at New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington.  Alongside this, she is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts majoring in German and Italian.  Michaela started studying music at around age six, firstly with the piano and later the violin but it was not until she moved to New Zealand that she began singing lessons.  Since then her passion for music, singing and performance has only grown. During high school, Michaela regularly performed in the choir, and as a violist in the symphony and chamber orchestra.

In her last two years at NZSM, Michaela has taken part in many performances, the most notable include the 2017 Opera production The Cunning Little Vixen, where she was a chorus member and the 2018 Opera scenes production Eat Your Heart Out, where she performed the role of Gretel.

Michaela Cadwgan

2018: Alexandra Woodhouse Appleby 

2017 was a busy and most rewarding year for Alexandra.  In February she sang in the Day’s Bay opera Chorus for Theodora and Eugene Onegin.  She also performed with the NZ Freemason Opera Chorus in Carmen and The Damnation of Faust, and had her first solo role playing the part of Barbarina in Eternity Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro.

As part of her course work she performed in the NZSM production of The Cunning Little Vixen. And of course, she had other university commitments which further enriched her deepening knowledge of music, and more specifically, classical singing.  Throughout 2017 she sang in Orpheus Choir as one of their scholar members and had the benefit of singing solos in some of the concerts. Alexandra plans to put her scholarship towards the 2019 IFAC Handa NZ Singing School.

Alexandra Woodhouse Appleby

2017: Nicole Davey

At our Choral Christmas concert, we were privileged to have Professor Jennifer Windsor announce our Vocal Award winner for the 2016-17 year.

Nicole Davey, from Picton, is a lyric coloratura soprano.  She is studying towards a Bachelor of Music (classical voice performance) and a Bachelor of Commerce (international business and accounting).  Nicole has been tutored by soprano Jenny Wollerman, tenor Richard Graeger and soprano Morag Atchison.

Nicole has loved the performing arts since the age of four with classical, musical theatre and opera interests as she became involved with singing lessons, competitions, productions and choirs.  Not only did she take the lead in her high school performances of Copacablanca and The Mikado, in her last year she was also involved in four choirs, including the NZ Secondary Students' Choir which toured Malaysia and Singapore.

Nicole loves opera, German lieder, musical theatre and classical instrumental music. She intends to develop her performance skills in the three years left of her study.

We look forward to having Nicole perform with us in 2017.

Nicole Davey

2016: Joseph Haddow

The recipient for 2015-16 is Joseph Haddow, a bass-baritone, who joins a distinguished group of previous singers as award winners.

At the time of singing with the Chorale's third session of 2016, Joseph had recently completed his third year of a BMus in Classical Performance under the tutelage of Margaret Medlyn, head of Classical Performance Voice at the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM).

Born in mid-Sussex, England, Joseph and his family came to NZ in 2006.  Musically, he started by learning saxophone during his time at Aotea College.  In years 12 and 13 he joined the barbershop chorus.  In year 13, he was further pressed to join a quartet, which led to his teachers prompting him to take up singing.  From there he auditioned for the NZSM and plans to continue his studies next year with an honours year, before doing further education in science. Joseph has participated in several concerts with fellow NZSM voice students and sang in the chorus of Dido and Aeneas, an NZSM production.

Joseph Haddow

2015: Olivia Sheat

Soprano Olivia Sheat is the recipient of the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance for 2014/2015.  Originally from Blenheim, Olivia is a second year student at the New Zealand School of Music under the tutelage of Jenny Wollerman.  She has loved to sing from an early age and in 2012 she received the QEII Music Fund to help further her aspirations to become an opera singer.  In the same year she successfully auditioned for the New Zealand Youth Choir and joined them on their tour of North America in 2013.

She made the finals in the 2014 Aria Final of the Hutt Valley Performing Arts Competitions Society and won the Robin Dumbell Cup for singer with the most potential.  Also in 2014, she performed in the New Zealand School of Music's production of A Night at the Opera.

Olivia Sheat

2014: Katherine McIndoe

Katherine McIndoe is the recipient of the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance for 2013/14.  The following recommendation accompanied her nomination:

Katherine is an outstanding musician with a warm soprano voice of lovely colour.  She is both a thinker and an extremely hard worker.  She has enjoyed great success in various avenues, musical and literary.

The Chorale was delighted that Katherine participated as soprano soloist in our August 2014 concert.

When Katherine sang with the Kapiti Chorale's August 2014 Knights and Dragons concert, she was a third-year student at the New Zealand School of Music, studying Classical Performance (Voice) under Jenny Wollerman. In January 2014 she was selected to attend the New Zealand Opera School. She won several under-21 categories in the 2013 Wellington Vocal Competitions, including the overall Under-21 Championship, and was also a finalist in the open aria category, winning the Robin Dumbell Memorial Cup for the young aria entrant with the most potential. Katherine gained Distinction in ABRSM Grade 8 Singing in 2011, as well as an NZQA Outstanding Scholarship in Music. She was co-leader of the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir in 2011-2012, and currently sings with the Orpheus Choir of Wellington as an Orpheus Choral Scholar.

Katherine McIndoe

2013: Jamie Henare

Jamie Henare, bass, is the recipient of the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance for 2012/13. The following recommendation accompanied his nomination:

Jamie has an excellent and impressive voice.  In addition to his successes at the New Zealand School of Music, he performed very well at the recent Wellington Competitions where he won several classes, including the award for 1st overall in the under-21 classes.

Jamie is now in his third year of studying voice at The New Zealand School of Music taught by Jenny Wollerman.  While still relatively new to classical singing, he has been involved in music from an early age, playing guitar in various bands and singing barbershop.  He has sung with the Orpheus choir appearing in their 2012 production of Candide (singing the role of King Stanislaus) and singing in the Messiah chorus with the NZSO.  Jamie is a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus and later this year will be singing in the NBR production of The Flying Dutchman followed by the role of Giovanni in NZSM's production of Verdi's Il Cosaro. Jamie also enjoys playing the classical guitar and is studying it as a second instrument at NZSM this year.

Jamie was bass soloist in the Chorale's 30 Anniversary Tribute Concert presented 12 May, 2013 featuring Mozart's Coronation Mass.

Jamie Henare

2012: Thomas Atkins

Thomas has been performing since he was young.  In 2003 he was chosen to sing as the treble soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Wellington, conducted by composer Howard Shore.  Two weeks later he performed again in Taiwan with the Taiwan National Orchestra and conductor John Mauceri.

After finishing college, Thomas was offered a full scholarship at the New Zealand School of Music to study a Bachelor of Music majoring in Classical Performance Voice.  In 2011 he took on the role of Lysander in the New Zealand School of Music's production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.  After attending the 2012 New Zealand Opera School, Thomas played the lead tenor role, Oronte, in the 2012 Opera in a Days Bay Garden's production of Handel's Alcina followed by NBR New Zealand Opera's Production of Rigoletto, where he understudied the role of Borsa, and sang as part of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus in the Wellington performances.

Thomas was selected as a semi-finalist in the IFAC Australian Singing Competitions and competed in this event in October.

Shortly before leaving for Australia, Thomas was solo tenor for the Chorale's August 2012 concert (pictured).

Thomas Atkins in the August 2012 concert

2011: Amelia Ryman

At the Chorale's concert on 28 November 2010, Amelia Ryman was announced as the third recipient of the Kapiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance.

Amelia was born and bred in Wanganui, and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Music at the New Zealand School of Music, majoring in Performance Voice, under Jenny Wollerman.

Although originally a cellist, Amelia changed her musical direction to singing upon joining the New Zealand Secondary Schools Choir in 2007.  She also currently sings with the Wellington Cathedral Choir.

In 2010 Amelia was placed first in the Italian 17th Century Aria section at the Wellington Performing Arts Competitions.

Amelia was soprano soloist in the Kapiti Chorale May 2012 concert, which was a celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

Amelia Ryman

2010: Imogen Thirlwall

Imogen Thirlwall, President Norma McCallum, Music Director Marie Brown and Amelia Berry 

At the Chorale's concert on 6 December 2009, Imogen Thirlwall was announced as the second recipient of the Kāpiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance.

Imogen is originally from Tauranga and is studying a Bachelor of Music majoring in both Performance Voice and Music Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Studies.  She was in the 2005-2006 NZ Secondary Students' Choir (with Amelia Berry, the inaugural winner of the award) and is a current member of the 2008-2010 NZ Youth Choir.

Imogen has studied second instrument performance in both Trumpet and Orchestral Conducting, and plays in the NZSM Big Band under Rodger Fox.  She received a Victoria University School Leavers Scholarship for Academic Excellence in 2007 and was nominated to perform in the 2008 Young Performer of the Year Competition.

2009: Amelia Berry

Kāpiti Chorale Music Director Marie Brown presents Amelia Berry with her award

At the 25th Anniversary Gala Concert the inaugural Kāpiti Chorale Award in Vocal Performance was announced.

The first recipient of the award is 20 year old Amelia Berry of Titahi Bay.

This will be an annual award of $250 going to the most deserving voice student progressing from second to third year of study in classical performance.  Consideration will be given to academic merit and sustained effort.

Julie Coulson, the Chair of the Scholarships Committee, New Zealand School of Music, stated:

The New Zealand School of Music is delighted to accept the Kāpiti Chorale's generous offer of an annual award in vocal performance for one of our students.  The support of the musical community means a lot to us - quite literally you are our foundation, future and fellow companions.  The decision to place the award at singers advancing from second to third year is an excellent one.  In many ways the second year is the most challenging and least rewarded: gone is the excitement of the first year and the crowning achievement of the third year recital a distant promise.  This award will fill that gap and give our second year singers that something extra to work towards.

The Kāpiti Chorale is celebrating its 25th year this year and while looking back over its long and illustrious history considered the celebration of young singers.  "We have always encouraged young singers by having them accompany us as soloists, so it is fitting that we look to the future", says President Norma McCallum.

Amelia Berry started singing lessons when she was fourteen and became a member of the 2005-2006 Secondary Schools Students Choir.  In 2008 she was placed first in the Lieder and 20th Century English Art Song Sections in the Wellington Performing Arts Competitions, and won the Otago Daily Times Aria Competition as the youngest competitor.  Amelia said:

I will be entering competitions around New Zealand in 2009 to gain more experience.  I want to take my Honours degree at the NZ School of Music before studying overseas and ultimately making singing my career.  I am grateful to the Kāpiti Chorale for helping me to attain my ambition.  I would like to let you know that I put your generous scholarship towards my fees for the 2009 National Singing School in Napier.  I have just returned and it was such a valuable experience for me. I was given many opportunities at the school that I would not otherwise have had, including the chance to work with renowned vocal tutors, voice coaches, language coaches and accompanists from both New Zealand and overseas. I was chosen as a soloist for the oratorio service at the Napier Cathedral where I sang I know that my Redeemer liveth from Messiah.  I also had the opportunity to sing another Handel piece, Piangero from the opera Guilio Cesare at the Cascade of Classics concert. The school was a fantastic experience for me and it has given me a real head start for the final year of my degree.  I would like to extend my thanks to the choir for helping me to attend the school; your generosity is very much appreciated and I wish you all the best for 2009.