History

The following excerpts are from All We Like Sheep, A 50 Year History of the Edgecumbe Choir by Pam Greenhalgh 

 

Late 1940's  St Davids Presbyterian Church in Edgecumbe had a small 8 member choir for its weekly services. This was lead by Mrs Kath Armstrong, a musician of international standing who, during the war years, entertained the troops. When she died in 1976 her family sent the choir a letter which said, "If she was still alive she would have been delighted that her old choir was still going so well."

With her position left vacant a church member, Mr Gordon Reeves, tried to find someone to keep the small choir going. A young share milker had just arrived in the district with a musical background and he was asked to take it on. This was Ken MacDonald. He accepted on the understanding that it would be temporary until someone else was found. And it was temporary for the next 30 years.

 

 

1957  the Edgecumbe Choir was officially formed. This new choir still sang religious music, but it was not affiliated to any religion or denomination. Ken MacDonald built the choir up attracting members from all over the Eastern Bay. In 1985 the choir was of sufficient stature to be invited to join other choirs in Papakura, Napier and in Auckland Town Hall. Ken retired in 1987, after conducting the choir for nearly thirty years, a record which his successors will find hard to equal.  

1987 - For some years after singing in the contralto section Valerie Milne became assistant conductor. When Ken retired in 1987 the baton was hers and for ten years she made and left her mark. With her strong Scots background she brought her own style to the position and became a much loved and respected conductor. One highlight was the choir's participation in the opening concert at Auckland's Aotea Centre in September 1990. Valerie worked hard to enhance the choir's reputation, and the choir still easily attracts excellent soloists and accompanists from around NZ and from abroad. Valerie died in 1997 - this was a sad blow to the choir.

 

From 1997 - 2002 the choir enjoyed the services of various guest conductors including Rita Paczian. These conductors presented a varied repertoire and the choir learned from their knowledge and conducting styles.

 

 

In 2002 the baton was given to Tony Hogg. 

Starting out as a boy soprano in the Dilworth School Chapel Choir he came through the ranks in both choral and musical theatre scenes in Hamilton and Masterton. The choir enjoyed varied musical challenges with Tony until he retired in 2019.  

There were further challenges in store as the baton passed to Chalium Poppy from Tauranga. 

2019 Chalium Poppy came with impressive international and national recognition

as a professional church musician, conductor, oratorio

soloist, occasional operatic singer, music commentator, clinician and teacher Chalium has brought a fresh look to the choir.

 

He has received national accolades and recognition of

his commitment to musical excellence and in particular

for his exploration of lesser-known choral works.

 

In 2010 he received a commendation from the French Consulate to New Zealand for his efforts in championing the music of the French Baroque which is his specilaised style.


This list of most choir concerts 

 

May 2024 - Gabriel Faure, Requiem & Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Le Reniement De Saint Pierre (The Denial of St Peter)

December 2023 - G.F. Handel's Messiah

September 2023J.S.Bach Magnificat and F.J. Haydn Mass in G Major, The St Nicholas Mass

June 2023 - Haydn's Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross & Mozart Mass in C Major K220

August 2021The Mikado

May 2021Music Of The German Romantic

December 2020 A European Christmas

September 2020 The Pirates Of Penzance

November 2019 Follow The Star

September 2019 From Darkness To Light

May 2019 - Gloria

December 2018 Crackers For Christmas

June 2018 - Haydn & Friends

December 2017 - Messiah

June 2017 - Diamonds

November 2016 White Nights

September 2016 - Pop To Pageantry

May 2016 - Magnificat & Te Deum

November 2015 - Bach To Bowie

April 2015 - The Armed Man

December 2014 - Glad Tidings

September 2014 - The Edge Factor

May 2014 - Mozart's 'Requiem Mass'

December 2013 - Christmas Joy

September 2013 - Pops From The Edge

June 2013 - Whakatane Baptist Church's Variety Show of 100 Stars. Choir members sang 3 songs (Ga Gona Ya Tswanang Le Jesu, Steal Away and Hallelujah).

April 2013  NZCF Bay of Plenty region weekend music school (in Rotorua). 

April 2013  Haydn's Creation - performed with Warkworth's Kowhai Singers and Orewa's Pohukutawa Singers. We sang this initially in Warkworth & subsequently in Whakatane. 

December 2012  Theatre Whakatane's Variety Concert. Some choir members sang 2 songs (Steal Away and Hallelujah) and joined with the chorus for some other pieces.

December 2012 – Christmas Parade. More carol singing for some!

December 2012 – Summer Carols

September 2012 – NZCF Bay of Plenty region choral workshop: Next Steps in Choral Learning (in Rotorua)

August 2012 – Around the World in 80 Minutes

April 2012 – Handel's Messiah

April 2012 – NZCF Bay of Plenty region weekend music school (in Rotorua)

April 2012 – Quota Club fashion parade - fundraising event

December 2011 – Christmas Wonder

September 2011 – Spring Gloria Spring

April 2011 – NZCF Bay of Plenty region weekend music school (in Tauranga) 

April 2011 – Jenkins’ The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace

December 2010 – Christmas Fantasia

June 2010 – Marvellous Mozart

December 2009 – Christmas Presence

November 2009 – Sing Aotearoa (in Rotorua)

September 2009 – Handel Pop

May 2009 – Stepping Out

December 2008 – Christmas in the Park

September 2008 – Handel’s Solomon – with Gisborne Choral Society

May 2008 – Proms

March 2008 – Three Mezzos

December 2007 – Peace & Praise: Andrew Baldwin’s Jubilate Deo & Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace

October 2007 – Handel’s Messiah sing-in

June 2007 – Memories

December 2006 – Christmas Fantasia

July 2006 – Opera Plus

April 2006 – Combined Whakatane & Kawerau Rotary Clubs in aid of Project Hope

February 2006 – NZCF Bay of Plenty region workshop for combined choirs

December 2005 – Christmas in the Park

December 2005 – Christmas Cheer

November 2005 – Visit of the Silver Ring Choir of Bath, England

May 2005 – Vivaldi & Haydn

August 2005 – A Night at the Proms

May 2005 – Vivaldi & Haydn

February 2005 – Singing Together workshop with James Tibbles of the University of Auckland

December 2004 – Christmas Parade

September 2004 – Animal Antics

September 2004 – Winner of the Arts Section of the Whakatane District AAA Awards

May 2004 – Handel’s Messiah

March 2004 – Recording for Praise Be (TVNZ programme)

December 2003 - A Night at the Proms

October 2003 - Workshop with English choral conductor, Janet Lincé.

August 2003 – Music reading course with Gillian Chapman.

June 2003 - Let’s Magnify

February 2003 - Singing workshop for men Beyond the Bathroom with John Rosser of

November / December 2002 - Christmas Crackers

July 2002 - Mendelssohn’s Elijah

February 2002 – Workshop with choral director Mike Brewer

February 2002 – Lions District 2021 Convention

November 2001 – Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors - the choir provided the chorus for this one act opera

September 2001 - With Spirit! – followed a training weekend with Rita Paczian

June/July 2001 - Classic Gems

January 2001 - Sian & Friends - benefit concert for local singer

December 2000 - Christmas Parade

September & October 2000 – Haydn’s The Creation - NZ Choral Federation Bay of Plenty Region Millennium Concerts (performed in Whakatane, Taupo, Rotorua & Tauranga)

June 2000 – Desire Now & Then

October 1999 – St Nicholas Plus

July 1999 – Gloria

April 1999 – Multiple District 202 Lions Convention

October 1998 – Summer is A-Coming In

June 1998 – Winter Concert

December 1997 – Valerie’s “Send Off” – funeral of Valerie Milne

October 1997 – Edgecumbe Choir 40 Years

December 1996 – Christmas Cheer

September 1996 – Spring Concert

May 1996 – A Feast of Opera

April 1996 – Schubert Serenade

December 1995 – Carols at St David’s

September 1995 – Sing Joyfully

May 1995 – The Magic of Mozart

October 1994 – Sounds Glorious

June 1994 – Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle

December 1993 – Round About Christmas

August 1993 – Haydn’s Nelson Mass

May 1993 – Mendelssohn’s Elijah

November 1992 – A Summer Concert

October 1992 – Thanksgiving Service

August 1992 – Handel’s Messiah – 250 years

May 1992 – English Church Music

November 1991 – The Magic of Mozart

April 1991 – John Rutter’s Requiem

December 1990 – Seven Lessons & Carols

December 1990 – Music for Festive Season

September 1990 – Aotea Centre opening (Auckland)

July 1990 – Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado

April 1990 – Easter Celebration

December 1989 – Programme of Christmas Music

December 1989 – Local Artists’ Concert

August 1989 – The Magnificent Mr Handel

November 1988 – Malvina Major

October 1988 – October Concert

June 1988 – Serenade to Music

October 1987 – Handel’s Messiah

May 1987 – 30th Anniversary Concert

December 1986 – A Benefit Christmas Concert to raise funds for the Manse

September 1986 – Spring Concert

June 1986 – Mozart

October 1985 – Handel’s Israel in Egypt – 300th anniversary (performed twice, in Napier & Auckland)

June 1985 – Mid Winter Concert (performed twice in Whakatane & twice in Papakura)

December 1984 – Seven Lessons & Carols

October 1984 – Festival of Flowers & Music

June 1984 – Brahms’ German Requiem

April 1984 – Presbyterian Church General Assembly

December 1983 – A Concert of Christmas Music

November 1983 – Local Artists’ Concert

August 1983 – A Concert of Hymns

April 1983 – Handel’s Messiah

February 1983 – Dedication of Titoki Healing Centre

December 1982 – Light Music & Christmas Carols

July 1982 – Mendelssohn’s Elijah (performed twice, in Whakatane & Tauranga)

June 1982 – The Central Band of the RNZAF

July 1981 – Cantata

July 1980 – Mozart’s Requiem

December 1979 – A Service of Christmas Carols

November 1979 – Festival of Flowers & Music

August 1978 – Cantata

April 1978 – Handel’s Messiah

December 1977 – Brahms’ German Requiem (performed twice, in Whakatane & Edgecumbe)

December 1976 – Cantata

September 1976 – Spring Festival (performed twice, in Edgecumbe & Kawerau)

May 1976 – Fauré’s Requiem (performed twice, in Edgecumbe & Tauranga)

December 1975 – Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols (performed twice, in Edgecumbe & Whakatane)

December 1975 – Festival of Christmas Music (performed in Whakatane)

April 1975 – Handel’s Messiah

October 1974 – Spring Festival

April 1974 – Stainer’s The Crucifixion (performed twice, in Edgecumbe & Opotiki)

December 1973 – Nine Lessons & Carols

December 1972 – Handel’s Messiah (performed 3 times, in Whakatane, Edgecumbe & Opotiki)

April 1971 – Stainer’s The Crucifixion

December 1970 – Thiman’s The Nativity

April 1970 – Handel’s Messiah

December 1969 – Christmas Music

April 1969 - Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary

December 1968 - Thiman’s The Nativity