Hi, I’m Alison Miller. I have been singing all my life, as both my parents had good voices, and we followed in their footsteps. I’ve sung in both church and community choirs, but when I was a pupil in the EGGS choir, we sang the third chorus part in St Matthew Passion in the Town Hall with Ray Wilson conducting and I was smitten. Years later when we returned to Auckland, and heard Auckland Choral singing Brubeck’s Light in the Wilderness in 1969, I knew I had to belong to this magnificent choir.. I joined in 1970 as a soprano 1, and have been a member since then, with the first concert being Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, with 6 weeks rehearsal time.
Various committee positions have kept me involved, and I was secretary (in those days - a very basic General Manager) for 7 years, before taking on the Librarian’s position. I was very proud to see our daughter Sandy join Choral while she was still at school, and when I joined the alto line I remember her moral support for me as a new alto. Auckland Choral is my life and the members are my music family, which I am very conscious of every time we perform on stage. Unfortunately I have had to take leave on several occasions because of ill health, but one positive to that is I’ve been in the audience to witness the choir’s great presentations from in front of the stage.
Away from choir and family, I take a team of handbell ringers who meet each week in East Auckland.
I learnt to sing on my mother's knee and have been singing ever since! In school in Wales I sang in small and large choirs in the eisteddfod. As soon as I left school I joined a choral society and have always been a member of one choir or another. I joined Auckland Choral in 2006 and have been on the management committee for the last 2 years. Choral singing has given me opportunities to make and keep wonderful friends, to travel, to see magnificent buildings, to hear all the major works and many new compositions, and to be part of a fabulous music making machine, always striving to improve. I have sung Handel's Messiah in 4 continents, in 2016 clocked up my 70th Messiah, and I still love it. I am also a semi retired speech language therapist and enjoy spending time with my 5 grandchildren.
Hi, I’m Anna, and I am originally from the UK but have called New Zealand home for over 20 years. I sang in choirs in the UK in a past life but had a long sabbatical owing to a transient career in the yachting industry, sailing far and wide. I joined Auckland Choral in 2011 when work brought me closer to home, and became a member of the Management and Marketing committees. I sing sop 1, and I am thrilled to be singing again, particularly as part of such an inspiring, fun and talented choir.
More recently I got a degree in Sport Management at Unitec, and I freelance between sport events, the marine industry and a Youth Leadership programme at Unitec. For kicks, I love to tramp, ski, swim, climb, sail, paddle – and generally go for really long walks in the beautiful New Zealand “outback”.
A singing member of Auckland Choral for 12 years, Beverley has enjoyed a lifetime of involvement in the performing arts and has sung with many choirs throughout New Zealand. She has the choir’s best interests at heart, and as Chair of the Management Committee is committed to its success to offer performances of excellence and to bringing choral music to the wider community of the Auckland region both now and in the future.
Beverley’s commitment to community service over the years has extended across a wide spectrum having served on and chaired a number of charitable organisations trusts.
Brian Millar (life member) joined the choir in 1978 in time for ‘Messiah’, after starting his choral singing in an all-male church choir, followed by what was the Te Atatu (now Waitakere) Men’s Choir. Brian was on the Auckland Choral committee for several years, and for a while shared the role of co-deputy conductor with David Hamilton. He left the choir about 33 years later, to concentrate on leading his church choir; but continues to actively promote Auckland Choral. He rejoined the choir as a “one-off” to sing in the Mendelssohn ‘Lobegesang’ in October 2016, after being denied the chance to sing it in 1985 (long story! Read about it in ‘Hallelujahs and History,’ the choir’s official history). Two things stand out for Brian through all those years – the diversity of music sung during that time; and the camaraderie that goes with choral singing. Especially on choir trips, having sung with the choir in such places as Kerikeri, Tauranga, Napier (the Cathedral, on Guy Fawkes night; with sky rockets soaring past the large round coloured window there being a distraction!), and Wellington; and on tour with the choir in 2005 when they sang in Christchurch (pre-quake in their Town Hall), Greymouth, Wanaka, and Dunedin.
Colleen Elliott joined Auckland Choral in 1999. She comes from a musical background starting with piano at aged 7 which also included being a foundation member of the Whangarei Childrens Choir formed by her Mother in the mid 1950’s. Colleen passed LTCL performers in piano but never completed it as the desire to sing became more the focus and formal vocal training commenced.
After marrying and raising 3 children over the next 2 decades, singing lessons ceased and all music was put aside until she heard Auckland Choral perform in 1997 at the opening of the newly refurbished Auckland Town Hall. This inspiring performance ultimately led to the courage to audition and acceptance as a singing member. Colleen loves learning the vast range of wonderful new works, the regular vocal coaching given every week, sharing her love of music with others and benefits significantly from the health benefits that singing offers. She has been actively involved as Membership Secretary for NZ Choral Federation for the past 4 years. Vivante Recording, a supporter of Auckland Choral is managed by her husband Larry who records most performances for archive purposes and has engineered two CD’s for Auckland Choral in past years.
David Hamilton has been singing with the choir since 1982, and is currently President of Auckland Choral. He is a music educator, composition tutor, choral conductor and adjudicator. He has been Deputy Music Director of Auckland Choral (1996-2011) and Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (1999). In 2013 he was guest composer at the national choral event Sing Aotearoa, and in 2015 composer-in-residence at the NZ Singing School. He has won a number of international composer competitions (Italy, USA, UK, and Israel) and in 2014 “Wairua” for solo harp took 1st place in the NZ Harp Society’s competition. The choir has commissioned a number of works from him, most recently “Erebus” (2015). His choral music is widely performed, especially by school and community choirs, and is published in the UK, USA, and Finland. His website is: www.dbhmusic.co.nz
Garnet has a long involvement with Auckland Choral after his first introduction to singing in Lead Roles in Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas at Kings High School in Dunedin,followed by being a member of Capping Sextet at Otago University with Sir William Southgate in the 1960s.
First joined the Choir under Ray Wilson in 1968-71 as a Junior Doctor before travelling Overseas for Orthopaedic Training in Canada and the UK.Rejoined under Bill Power 1976-1986 then again in the mid 1990s up to the present time-so have been a member on and off over some 47 years.Was a committee member for 5 years and continue to be inspired by the opportunity to be a member of the Choir which I believe continues to improve and I believe is currently performing at its highest level over the past 40 years –no doubt due to the superb direction of Uwe and the support of Elizabeth and the wonderful Vocal Coaches.
Currently working full-time as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Middlemore Hospital.
Helen Gremillion is a researcher and teacher at Unitec Institute of Technology, and she also heads up research professional development activities for Unitec staff members. She lives in Mt. Albert with her partner Nigel and daughter Ellie. She’s been a member of Auckland Choral since 2009.
I joined late last year in the Soprano 1 section, and am currently Auckland Choral’s youngest member, at 14 years old. Born and raised in Auckland, I have worked with professional music companies such as New Zealand Opera, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Opera Factory, and others. Auckland Choral rehearsals are generally the highlight of my week. In 2015 I gained first place in Opera Factory’s Idol competition. This year in the Aria international vocal competition, I came 1st in two of the four categories available. Outside of music, I study in year 10 at Kristin School in Albany, and I play flute and piano.
I joined Auckland Choral in 2008. I enjoy the challenges of the big works which are inspired by Uwe's leadership. Singing with Auckland Choral is as important to me as breathing! And second only to my husband and family. My grandmother said that you should 'do The Messiah' at least once before you die! I have have had the privilege of singing it many times. I have made many friends and hope to sing with Choral for many years to come.
Jim Allardyce here from Whangarei. Commuting to Auckland for work, down on a Tuesday and back on a Friday, has opened up a new side to my social calendar. Rehearsals at the choir have become my weekly highlight forming a natural part of my week. Joining only this year, I remember going for my first visit to "check it all out" - I sat at the back amazed at the choir sight-reading Mendelssohn in German (as it was their first reading and performance of the piece). Very soon I was in the thick of it - rolling my r's in Mendelssohn's tongue with the other singers in my bass one section. My inaugural concert in the Auckland Town Hall was unforgettable as the choir was stupendous.
My day job is highly motivating, as a health and safety professional. Working throughout a range of industries spanning 25 years I continue to provide coaching to ensure people take ownership for managing risk. My daily priority is sustaining zero harm and I do this by ensuring safe work methods and promoting a great safety culture.
I have always enjoyed singing, one of my ealiest memories is rehearsing a small item “me and my teddy bear” as a preschooler. Music is fundemental to who I am and have been fortunate to recieve encouragment and opportunities to improve my ability and to perform. I have performed with: Auckland Boys Choir, NZ Opera (Turandot), Auckland University Singers, Rennaisance singers (Palmerston North) and Auckland Choral since 2012. I attained Grade 8 (highest level) singing with the Royal School of Music under the tutalage of Evelyn Hatfield. I’ve also been onstage in several gang shows with Scouts NZ and school shows at Avondale College.
John has a passion for choral singing and has been a singing member of Auckland Choral for 30 years. He has been fully involved in the society throughout that time serving for 20 years on the Auckland Choral Management Committee, much of that time as Deputy Chairman of the Committee,, and for several years as Chairman of the Finance sub-committee.
John is a current Trustee of both Auckland Choral and Auckland Choral Foundation, the later as a founding supporter.
With a long history in music and performance, Josephine was singing in choirs from the age of 5. She has had the privilege of singing under Dr Raymond White, Sir David Willcocks (Kings College, Cambridge) and was a member of the New Zealand National Youth Choir with Professor Peter Godfrey from 1985 – 1988.
Josephine’s eclectic tastes took her into a multitude of performance genres, including Opera, voiceover for TV and Radio jingles, singing in Rock and Punk bands (although some might have labelled that screaming) Street Theatre, and a Children’s Entertainer with ‘The Aunties.’ She has a degree in Education, and qualifications in Film and Multi-Media.
Josephine works as an Alternative Therapist and Empath. In January 2015, she returned to classical music, joining Auckland Choral as an Alto 2.
Hi, I am Katherine Hong - Alto 1, joined Auckland Choral in the early 2016. I am crazy about 18th and 19th century classical music and dreamt one day I could sing "Messiah" in a symphonic choir. And now not only I sing "Messiah" but also have lots of opportunities to sing other beautiful and heavenly music which I never dreamt that dream. No single rehearsal I want to miss.
I have one son and one furry kid. I spend most of my time with my furry kid and enjoy watching ballet and will never get bored.
Kimberley joined the choir as a Soprano in January 2015 for Handel's Israel in Egypt. It was a daunting, split choir piece with a short rehearsal period but this didn't scare her away! Kimberley has been singing since before she could talk, her first words were sung, being Old MacDonald's E-I-E-I-O. Kimberley joined the Auckland Girls Choir as a foundation member in 1998 under Leonie Lawson and found she enjoyed Choral Music but left in 2000 as a 13 year old and found enjoyment throughout her high-school years in musical stage performances and often performed singing solos at school assemblies and talent contests.
After high-school Kimberley got her first job as a Receptionist in a Print Brokers and has since grown in the industry and is now very happy in her latest role as a Customer Support specialising in Labels. Kimberley has a wonderful daughter Jayda and a very cool and cheeky son, Harris (don't worry! he has his Fathers surname!) who bring her much joy. She grew up in and still resides in the Howick/Pakuranga area. Kimberley also enjoys movies, crystals, philosophical conversations and Karaoke (of course!)
Lisa has been in the choir since 1974 with the exception of a couple of years when she was busy with small children.
Born in the UK Lisa emigrated with her parents to New Zealand at the age of 16. Already politically active Lisa has continued to have a passionate interest in peace, politics, ethics and philosophy, as well as a deep love of music.
A primary school teacher for 14 years, Lisa then created the business Lisa's Hummus, which she sold a few years ago. Now Lisa is immersed in creating political solutions via The Awareness Party, and will continue singing in the choir as long as she is able!
Originally from Leon Mexico, Luis joined Auckland choir in 2013. He is a system engineer with great passion for singing. When he went to listen to the choir practice in an open rehearsal for the first time, he was enchanted by it, and he’s been singing with the choir ever since. His favorite concert has been “Dream of Gerontius” composed by Sir Edward Elgar in 1900. He joined the choir as a Bass and two years later he made the transition to Tenor.
Luis first studied overseas in 2005 when he enrolled in an English course at the Australian College of English in Sydney. He’s currently involved in a program by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to upgrade the schools' wireless systems all across the country. Luis is very passionate about music, technology, science, spirituality and meditation.
Hi! I'm Maria Millar. I'm an Alto 1, and also convener of the Auckland Choral Music Committee. I first joined Auckland Choral in 2015, in time for the Missa Solemnis. I come from a musical home, with a Dad who played Organ at church and piano for the local pantomines and performances. Thanks to his influence, I've sung for most of my life. I studied singing with Margaret Medlyn when I lived in Wellington, as well as singing simultaneously with both the Bach Choir and the Orpheus Choir. I was also a performer in two International Festival of the Arts operas: Salome and Madam Butterfly. I lived in Sydney for three years, and stepped away from the predominantly classical choir style, and sang with the gay & lesbian choir, whose repertoire was more contemporary in nature. Then, in 2001 I moved to London, and while there returned to my classical roots and sang with the Wimbledon Choral Society for a number of years. I took a bit of a break from singing when my two children came along, finding it a struggle to juggle full time work and a young family. It was when we finally moved back to NZ in 2014 that I decided it was time to get back into singing. I returned to singing lessons under the tutelage of Claire Martin, and joined the Auckland Choral Society, which was exactly what I was looking for. By day, I work as a marketing researcher and strategist, a job which I've been doing for 20 years, and which has taken me all over the world. When I'm not working or singing, my happy place is in the kitchen. I love to bake - bread, cakes, anything!
Marion has been a member of Auckland Choral since 2008 and has recently become both a trustee and the Treasurer of the Foundation. She is responsible for all the financial transactions undertaken by the Foundation and prepares the year end accounts and reporting requirements required by the Charities Services. She also works closely with the Auckland Foundation with whom we have a partnership and together are working hard to fund choral singing in Auckland and New Zealand.
Professionally working as an accountant for a property management firm Marion also utilises her skills as Treasurer for the Auckland Dragon Boat Association, a role she has held for over nine years. Her background also includes volunteering for Amateur Theatre Companies in production and management roles which have furthered her knowledge of voluntary organisations.
Hi, I’m Neil Hawkes - I have been singing for a while: Tewkesbury Abbey choir from the ages of 5 to 30yrs, then a variety of English choirs before coming to NZ. When I arrived in Auckland I sang with the Choral Society, then with the Anglican Cathedral Choir and the Graduate Choir, before being stopped by a heart condition (since fixed 100%).
Other hobbies include gyrocopters - see photo of the flying armchair…
I am an engineer, currently studying for a PhD at Auckland Uni in mechanical engineering (carbon-neutral power generation).
My name is Nicola Burton – Alto 2. I joined the choir 4 years ago and absolutely love it! For me, it is the perfect blend of people, community, fabulous music, the opportunity to perform, feeling uplifted every single rehearsal and a good dose of challenge (it’s tough getting all the German pronunciations right, and actually learning the music!)
When not in choir I am a busy working mum with two teenage children and a great husband! We have a real love of the outdoors. I always have some sort of crazy goal involving a marathon or sea swim or adventure race and we love exploring NZ walking tracks – what a great country we live in. Ah yes – I love a decent Pinot Noir too!
Nigel grew up choral singing with the choirs of Kings School and Kings College in Auckland, but then took a break for the next 30 years while focusing on his career as a Consulting Engineer in Ottawa Canada where he moved with his wife in 1981. Later he joined a choir in Ottawa as a way of relieving the stresses of the daily grind, and found that he really enjoyed the challenge, stimulation, and therapy that choral singing provides. He sang with Coro Vivo Ottawa and the Ottawa Festival Chorus for many years, and part time with Auckland Choral since 2006 on his many visits back to New Zealand, before moving back to Auckland with his wife Ming, last year. He sings as a Tenor 2.
He thoroughly enjoys the music and camaraderie of Auckland Choral, and the high standards demanded by the professional team headed up by Uwe Grod. While not singing, he spends as much time as possible sailing on the waters of the Hauraki gulf, and since retiring is a keen traveler and cruiser.
I have sung ever since I can remember, joining choirs through school and university, and in the course of teaching, took up conducting choirs. Around this time I re-discovered the personal joy of singing in a choir and have sung with Auckland Choral for over ten years now. As Chair of the Auckland Committee of the New Zealand Choral Federation, I am doing all I can to strengthen the choral community in our city, supporting many choirs in primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as our adult choirs. I have many other areas of interest, enjoy travelling with my husband and connecting with our three children. Music is an integral part of my life that I believe benefits in a multitude of ways those who participate in it. Everyone needs to find places of personal well-being and coming to Auckland Choral’s practices each week, is one of mine.
Pedro discovered and fell in love with choral music while in highschool in Lisbon. Later on he joined Lisboa Cantat, a Lisbon-based symphonic choir. After coming to New Zealand, Pedro joined Auckland Choral, and has since been a member of the Bass section.
Alongside with choral music, Pedro loves motorbike riding, travelling and tramping the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Professionally, he is the Director of Faculty Operations for the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland.
I am originally from the UK where I studied music. After a few years in London working in Orchestral Management the call of the sea became strong and I spent the next few years yachting. During my time in the Pacific I ended up sailing to New Zealand where I decided to step ashore and have called New Zealand home for just over 9 years.
During my time at sea I missed my music, but my clarinet playing days were long gone. I decided I would give singing a try, even though I was a little nervous of my abilities, so I approached Auckland Choral. As soon as I attended my first rehearsal I realised this is what I had been missing and have been a member of Auckland Choral ever since. Auckland Choral became a family to me, and I passionately supported it by being on the Management Committee for several years until May 2016, including Convener of the Music Committee. I love my Wednesday night rehearsals and being able to perform magical works in fabulous venues with friends!
Richard has been a singing member of Auckland Choral for over 14 years, as a member of the Bass section, and is currently Deputy Chairperson and a member of the Finance and Management Subcommittee. He strongly supports the vision of the current Music Director, to develop Auckland Choral as a major symphonic choir, working with international and local artists and professional orchestras.
As a healthcare scientist, Richard believes that music, laughter and friendship are the best medicines; and he finds that Auckland Choral provides all of these. Richard has an adult son and daughter and two grandchildren who love music.
Like so many contraltos, I first got put in the alto section as a school girl because I could read music and manage to sing a line of harmony. I joined Auckland Choral when I was in high school and now I’ve been a member for 40 years! I started singing with my mum as a toddler, sitting on her knee while she played the piano and sang soprano and tenor Messiah arias. I used to come to Auckland Choral’s Saturday dress rehearsals in the Town Hall and follow the score in my early teenage years, and it was a natural step to join Mum in the choir when I was 15. I remember Choral Hall in Airedale Street where we used to meet (before Mayoral Drive was built). It was a dusty old building and freezing in winter, but the ladies in the alto section were very kind to me and welcomed me into the back row. Nothing really changes in that respect; the Auckland Choral altos today are a great bunch of people as well!
Traude has been a choral singer since 1998 and she is the immediate past Chair of Auckland Choral. In this role she has been instrumental in updating the way the organisation operates and she has learnt valuable lessons about running a voluntary, community based organisation - something she feels very passionate about. As a health professional running her own business, she is aware of the many positive effects that choral singing has on one's well-being - physically, mentally and socially.
In 2015 she was invited to become a trustee of the Auckland Choral Foundation, a role in which she can continue to actively contribute to develop and nurture choral singing in New Zealand, and Auckland Choral in particular.
Warwick brings over thirty years involvement in choral singing and over twenty years in management of choral organisations including Royal Christchurch Musical Society, Christchurch City Choir and over the last 23 years with Auckland Choral. He is a current singing member and past Chairman of nine years for the group.
Warwick's business background includes twenty five years as a senior executive specializing in sales and marketing for the Post Haste Limited group. Warwick joined the board in 2014 with the intent of sharing his extensive experience in choral administration, marketing and fund raising.