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Annual Reports

Annual Report for Kapiti Chamber Choir:

Year ended 31 January 2015



The Choir enjoyed a very successful 2014 under the Musical Direction of Eric Sidoti, with pleasing attendance at all of its concerts.  The Choir continued the practice of presenting a range of music, this year from the romantic to the contemporary, with a strong European flavour.  As an auditioned choir we look to maintain good standards of musical competence, and a commitment to regular attendance at the weekly rehearsals. Recruitment and retention are encouraging and the Choir is always pleased to welcome younger members.


The first concert featured an all Brahms programme of:  A German Requiem, Nanie and the Alto Rhapsody.  The choir of  38 was accompanied by an orchestra of 22 players.  The soloists were Ellen Barrett (contralto) Janey MacKenzie (soprano) and Roger Wilson (bass). The performance was attended by a capacity audience of over 230 on Sunday 6 April 2014 at St Paul’s Kapiti Road.


The second concert on Sunday 27 July was titled Nordic Music and Myths and featured works from Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.  The major work was Scenes From The Saga Of King Olaf by the English composer Edward Elgar.  The Choir numbered 35 and the soloists were Pepe Becker (soprano) John Beaglehole (tenor) and Roger Wilson (bass)  Sunny Amey  provided narration and Jenny Scarlet provided accompaniment and piano performance.  The audience numbered 150. This concert marked something of a milestone being the last concert the Choir was permitted to perform in St Paul’s on a Sunday afternoon, thus ending a tradition stretching back nearly 20 years.


Despite initial concerns that the final concert combined with the Kapiti Concert Orchestra and the Chorale might be a significant financial liability, it returned a profit of $5224 to the Choir and similar amounts to the Orchestra and Chorale. Nobody at the outset of the planning foresaw an audience of over 800 or as Michael Houstoun observed a traffic jam on a Sunday afternoon in Otaki.  The programme featured in the first half the Fingals Cave Overture (Mendelssohn) and Greg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor with Michael Houstoun as soloist.  The second half featured a variety of pieces with a Christmas theme, some combining choirs and orchestra. The Choir sang two pieces a cappella, Deck the Hall (Rutter) and Glory to God in the Highest (Randall Thompson)  The invitation to combine came from the Orchestra who celebrated 10 years performing in 2014.  Together close to 200 performers appeared on stage.  The concert was held in the Nga Purapura complex 23rd November 2014.


2014 brought a number of initiatives and some challenges. The decision of St Paul’s to discontinue Sunday afternoon concerts in the church meant that an another venue had to be found for Sunday concerts or alternatively change concerts to a Saturday when the church is available.  The committee resolved to retain Sunday afternoon and look for alternative venues.  A sub committee of Wes, Diane and Ruth  was formed and they developed a short list of possible venues.  The sub committee and Eric and Gordon then visited these.  Eric then developed a list of venues that could be suitable for different occasions. Suffice to say that the venue chosen for the July Bloch concert almost immediately became unavailable.  The search process confirmed the view that there is no suitable performance venue on the coast for concerts of our type. It is hoped that the theatre in the Kapiti College Performing Arts Complex due to start construction later this year may prove to be a suitable venue.


The web site developed in 2013 is very useful and thanks to Carolyn the choir now has an impressive new logo.  Also new is a standard repertoire folder, assembled by Carolyn Ruth and Eric. It has been used a number of times this year. Suggestions for additions can be made to Eric or Carolyn. Not to be confused with this group is another sub committee, the Repertoire sub committee who meet with Eric to consider future repertoire.  This committee comprises of Lyall, Carolyn and Paul.  We thank Denise who has served on this committee in the past.


Others who are acknowledged and thanked include those who turned out at the Civic Service on ANZAC day to help lead the singing of the national anthem, and the carol singers who helped raise nearly $900 singing carols at Coastlands.  Particular thanks are due to Anthony Dreaver who organized a pub quiz in August.   About 60 people joined in a fun evening in which $1004 was raised.  Also thanked are Carolyn, Bill and Gordon who represented the Choir on the joint committee for the combined concert in Otaki.


Late in 2014 the Uniting Parish recognizing the problems with the existing rehearsal piano decided to replace it with the piano we are now using.  The committee gifted $300 for the purchase of the replacement piano.  Thanks are due to Stuart and Jenny who trialed the replacement and gave advice.


Early in 2014 Eric raised with the committee the possibility of the choir contributing to Sing Aotearoa in Rotorua over Labour Weekend in 2016.  A proposal will be presented tonight.


During 2014 all new applicants seeking to join the choir were auditioned and in December all other members were auditioned.  All who re auditioned from the choir were successful.  The plan is to re audition all members bi annually.


There are a number of members to thank for their service to the choir:  Rhys for managing advertising and promotion, Anthony for producing flyers posters and programmes, Shirley as minute secretary, Diane, Stuart, Natalie, Ruth and Rhys as members of the committee.  Both Natalie and Ruth have resigned from the committee.  Thanks also to Jenny Scarlet who has completed her first year as both rehearsal accompanist and concert soloist and Bruce Dring who reviewed the Financial Statements for this meeting.

Thank you to all who contributed to the running of the choir in 2014.


Particular thanks are owing to Lyall and Carolyn who have taken responsibility for a number of key activities in the choir. The choir is fortunate to have available people of their experience skill and capability.


Special thanks to Eric who continues to challenge the choir, and whose style manner and musicianship are admired and appreciated by all.


The Choir acknowledges and thanks the following organisations for their assistance:  Kapiti Coast District Council Creative Communities, The Lion Foundation, Christchurch City Choir, National Library, Kapiti Uniting  Parish, St Paul’s Anglican Church, Paraparaumu College, Kapiti Chorale, NZ Choral Federation.


Gordon Dickson


Kapiti Chamber Choir

6 May 2015


Year Ended 31 January 2014


The Choir has completed its first year under the direction of its fourth Music Director Eric Sidoti.  A new Music Director brings changes most notably in repertoire but also in style and musical philosophy. Eric and the choir have adapted very well to the new era.

 In recent Annual Reports I have commented on recruitment and retention of singers, and the need for us all to be on the alert for potential new members. The last six months has seen a steady stream of people successfully auditioning and joining the choir, an encouraging portent for the future.

 The committee and the Music Director are about to review the policy on auditions for existing members.  The aim will be to keep this a low key non threatening process, along the lines of “singing with Eric”. Late in 2013 the committee discussed a paper produced by Eric on the name and size of the choir. A number of options were considered. It was decided that the name Kapiti Chamber Choir be retained and that the optimum size be between about 35 and 40 singers, care being taken to retain balance between the parts.

 The choir has received written notification from St Paul’s Anglican Parish that in 2015 we will no longer be able to hold concerts on Sunday afternoon at the church. The parish cites increasing activity in parish life and the need for the church to be available to the parish on Sundays. The church will however be available to the choir on Saturdays for performances. The choir has a decision to make. Do we shift performance day to Saturday with the attendant problems including Saturday work commitments for some members, and finding an alternative dress rehearsal day? Or do we look for an alternative venue and retain Sunday as our performance day? Rosemary Collier in her review of the Brahms concert, has again highlighted the problem of the lack of a suitable performance venue on the Kapiti Coast for concerts of our type.

 The first concert in 2013 titled “The Romantics” featured works by Faure, Saint-Saens and Bruckner with the Faure Requiem as the central work.   Janet Gibbs accompanied the Choir and also provided an organ solo. Choir members Shirley Gullery and Stuart Grant were soloists. 165 attended this concert on Sunday 21st April.  The Choir numbered 32.

 “In The Spirit” our second concert performed 28 July at St Paul’s was a programme of American Spirituals, close to home for Eric who was brought up in the USA.  This concert was notable for the Cantata “Changed My Name” by the composer Linda Twine.  The words and underlying theme left a deep impression on many. This performance may have been the first in New Zealand.  The two narrators Sunny Amey and Vivien Bell gave arresting performances.  John Beaglehole Linda van Milligan and Justin Pearce were invited soloists.  Choir members who sang solos were Deb Brewer, Carolyn Rait, Ruth Reid, Natalie Waitai and Jess Wilson.  Janet Gibbs provided accompaniment assisted by John Sargent String Bass and Lala Simpson Drum, for some pieces. The audience numbered 135, and the Choir 32

 The final concert for the year was titled A Hungarian Choral Rhapsody and was presented in St Paul’s on Sunday 10 November. It featured works by Liszt, Kodaly, Bartok and Bardos. A special feature of this concert was the discovery by Eric that relatives of the Bardos family were present at the concert. They were hearing the music “live” for the first time and had travelled some distance in order to be present.  Another special feature was the difficulty some  (most?) choir members had with the pronunciation of the language, and with the awkward rhythms in some of the more contemporary works. An audience of 125 attended this concert and the Choir featured 36 singers.

 Towards the end of 2013 a number of initiatives were begun.  In response to an approach from the Kapiti Orchestra the committee agreed that we join with the Orchestra and The Chorale in a joint concert to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the orchestra.  This concert will be held in Otaki on November 23rd 2014.

Eric has produced a programme outline for all concerts up to the end of 2016.  This has been circulated to members and many have expressed their appreciation at being given advance notice of future programmes.

 The committee agreed in 2013 that the choir should have a professionally prepared website made. This is now available at and supersedes the Creative Communities website.  Carolyn is thanked for organising and supervising the website, and Howard for the photo of the choir, in relaxed mode, on the Home page.

 In November Janet Gibbs our Rehearsal pianist announced that she was getting married and moving to Auckland. We were lucky to have had such an accomplished piano and organ soloist in 2013.  Very fortunately for us Jenny Scarlet has moved with her family  to the Coast, and has agreed to play for us, so that we continue to be accompanied by able talented pianists.

 We have a number of members to thank for their assistance in the running of the choir:  Julie Daniel for the production of practice CD’s.

Helen Gray for drinks on rehearsal nights and refreshments for visiting performers.  Natalie Waitai for management of tickets.  Rhys Barker for advertising and promotion.  Anthony Dreaver for the flyers and the programmes produced over many years.  Shirley Gullery our minute secretary,  and Diane Brady as a member of the committee.  Jenny Carolyn who resigned as Treasurer in November, and has produced the Financial Statements for this AGM.  Joan Whincup who resigned from the committee in November.  Ruth Reid who has joined the committee. The carol singers who came out in December and earned funds for the choir singing carols in Coastlands.  Thanks also to Bruce Dring who reviewed our Financial Statements for this meeting.

 I particularly want to thank Carolyn who as well as serving on the committee and being Librarian and the organizer of our new website, has taken on the Interim Treasurer position.  We need to find a permanent Treasurer in 2014.

 Thanks also to Lyall Perris whose skill experience and unfailing good humour contribute greatly to the smooth running of the choir.  We wish him a speedy recovery and return to the ranks of the second basses.

 I wish to thank Eric for his leadership as Music Director of the Choir. This first year has brought new directions, very successful and satisfying concert performances, and a clear musical pathway for the Choir over the next few years.

 The Choir acknowledges and thanks the following organisations for their assistance:  Raumati Uniting Parish, Kapiti Anglican Parish of St Paul’s,  Paraparaumu College, National Library of New Zealand, Knox Church Lower Hutt, St John’s in the City, Timaru District Choir, NZ Youth Choir, Auckland Library Music Dept., Christchurch City Choir.

 Gordon Dickson


Kapiti Chamber Choir

7 May 2014


Postscript:   The Chairman regrets overlooking in the 2013 Annual Report, the very successful introduction of the dress code, and also for neglecting to thank the members of the sub committee responsible for it.  He trusts that he is forgiven this sartorial lapse.