Eric Sidoti, music director
Porirua resident Eric Sidoti leads the Kāpiti Chorale and is also the current music director for the Kāpiti Chamber Choir, Hutt Valley Gang Show, and choir conductor for St. John’s in the City. In addition to his music, he has a full-time career in IT. Having immigrated from the US, he has lived in New Zealand for over 17 years, and has two small children here and an older son in the US.
Before moving to New Zealand, Eric completed a Bachelor of Arts at Brown University in Rhode Island, specialising in music composition and theory, with a minor in conducting. He was originally an instrumentalist, playing the trombone and directing both orchestras and musicals, before discovering choral music in his early 30s. At that point he took over the musical directorship of a large church near Chicago, where he directed up to seven choirs simultaneously—including a handbell ensemble—putting on large works with orchestra each year, and often leading multi-church and community gathered choirs.
He has never looked back, but has brought his orchestral conducting skills with him to his choral career. He believes that choral music is best when hearing the blending of voices — the pure sound that can be produced without artificial assistance. Making music is a team effort, and all about having people work together and striving towards the same goal. His favourite composers are Bárdos, Beethoven, Dvořák, Sibelius and Thompson, and he enjoys nearly all styles of music. Good music is timeless, and bad music is generally not worth performing!
Ann-Marie Stapp, assistant music director
In secondary school, in the 1980s, Ann-Marie discovered the joys of singing in choirs and conducting. In the last decade she has been directing the Kāpiti Women’s Choir, Let’s Sing Ōtaki, Sing Out Levin and Ōtaki Ecumenical Singers choirs. Under the name Music Matters, her goal is connecting people through accessible and affordable music. She is a member of the NZ Choral Federation, Association of Choral Directors, and her training has come via their conventions. She expresses her gratitude in being able to assist Eric Sidoti in these beautiful concerts.
Phillip O'Malley, accompanist
Phillip began piano lessons at age seven, completing Royal Schools of Music Grade 8 with distinction by age 16. Moving to Australia shortly thereafter, Phillip gained much experience as a musician, accompanying his first choir while in Perth in 1995.
Phillip returned to New Zealand in 1998 to take up a full-time position with the New Zealand School of Dance. He began accompanying the Kāpiti Chorale in 2018 and also presently accompanies the Hutt City Chorale.
Uniforms & fundraising: Jean Corin
Grants: Irene McShane, Les Church, Chris Robertson
Concert manager: Allen Corin