Join us for our next concert...

Fit for a King

Saturday 5 December 2020, 7.30pm

St George's Presbyterian Church, 2 The Terrace, Takapuna

It’s almost Christmas, and who’s ready for celebration? Christmas is a time for kings, newborn and wise. But there are other kings and there is rich music to celebrate them too. This concert, Fit for a King, begins with Coronation Anthems by Handel and Parry, including the well-known Zadok the Priest. Then we move on to Christmas, continuing with the king theme (The Three Kings, In Dulci Jubilo, Hark the Herald Angels Sing) in traditional carols, and wishing you a Merry Christmas, with figgy pudding, in more secular style. Conducted by Matthew Howes, accompanied by Janet Gibbs, and joined by soloists Fiona Tibbles and Miles Timmis, we are thrilled to be presenting our third concert in this year of change in the world. We hope you will come and hear us (and even join in with us at times) as we sing music which is fit for a king and which promises positive times ahead. Then come and join us for supper in the hall afterwards so we can share some Christmas cheer.

When: 5 December 2020, 7.30 pm

Where: St George’s Presbyterian Church, 2 The Terrace, Takapuna

Tickets: $30; pre-sales $20; students $10; under 13 yrs, free

Tickets available at the door! Cash only (no eftpos).

Presale tickets can be purchased from choir members or by paying directly to the choir's bank account before 4 December. Email for payment details. Tickets can be collected at the door.

Bring a bit extra for raffle tickets - 3 for $5 - be in to win a basket of goodies.

Facebook - link to concert post



Steal Away

31 October 2020

Steal Away for a moment of respite in this oh so crazy covid world. Come and join us for a concert of reflective American music, drawn from a range of composers, home-grown, immigrant and visitors, modern and traditional. You will hear music by Morten Lauridsen (O Magnum Mysterium), Eric Whitacre (Seal Lullaby), Ola Gjeilo (Ubi Caritas), Sergei Rachmaninov (Bogoroditse Devo), James Erb (Shenandoah) and Michael Tippett (Steal Away). Matthew Howes, who kept our singing enterprise together via youtube throughout NZ’s lockdowns, conducts us on this walk through some of America’s most well-known and beautiful choral music. Janet Gibbs will be bringing her lightning fingers to accompany us, and we have some surprise soloists joining us. We would love to see you there. As ever, there will be supper in the hall afterwards so we can gather with you – what a treat to be back in Level 1!

(P)simply Psalmody

25 July 2020

We’re very excited to be back at last after Covid-19 lockdown, presenting a concert of two firsts: our first for 2020 and our first with our new Musical Director, Matthew Howes.

So it’s fitting that this concert spans from the beginnings of choral music as we know it until the present day. In our world ravaged by Covid-19, we are reminded of the many calamities which have beset the world over the centuries. The psalms, originating in the ancient Jewish world, offered comfort and hope. This led to the beginnings of Christian community church singing, influenced as well by the music of other Mediterranean and European cultures, which in time gave birth to the wonderful choral repertoire we have available today.

Our concert will include traditional plainchant, Anglican chant and more modern versions of psalms, including Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42, Parry’s I was glad, Rutter’s Psalm 23, Matthias’ Let the people praise thee O Lord (composed for Charles’ and Diana’s wedding), and Matthew Howes’ Mau hoki a whakau (composed for St-Matthew-in-the-City in 2019). We are delighted to be joined by Te Ohorere Williams as soprano soloist for the Mendelssohn. Conducted by Matthew and accompanied by Janet Gibbs, we bring you a concert with a focus on community and ensemble singing.


Celebrate Christmas - and our journey with Jenny

30 November 2019

A celebration indeed! Who doesn’t love the buzz and summer optimism of Christmas? And, while we are sad to be farewelling Jenny as our conductor, we want to celebrate the wonderful decade of music we have shared with her. So in this concert we will present some of Jenny’s and Camerata’s favourites. We’ll begin with some lighter pieces, very much part of our Christmas tradition, including works by Andrew Carter, Will Todd, NZ’s own Peter Godfrey, John Rutter, and the inspiring Morten Lauridsen, as well as some familiar carols (yes, you will get the chance to join in). Then we’ll sing a selection of choruses from Handel’s Messiah. We’ll lift up our heads, sing ‘hallelujah’ and a resounding ‘amen’, among other favourites. We are delighted that soprano Elizabeth Mandeno and tenor Lachlan Craig will add delicious solo arias in amongst the choruses. To our great pleasure, Janet Gibbs, master pianist and organist, will provide musical accompaniment and enhancement. This concert will demonstrate our joy in music and Jenny’s wonderful conducting, and our optimism for the future.

An Englishman in Germany

24 August 2019

Brexit might make you think Britons don’t like Europe. But that wasn’t always the case. In 1894, as many English people did, Sir Edward Elgar (of Nimrod and Pomp and Circumstance fame) went walking in the Bavarian Highlands with his wife and composed a series of songs as a memento of the trip. Of course when travelling in Germany it is a must to hear some of its glorious music, as Elgar must have done (and, surprisingly, he was more famous in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century than he was in England). So, under Jenny Firth’s baton, this concert takes us on a journey through German music of the Romantic period, from three of Elgar’s songs, to Brahms (A Thought Like Music), Rheinberger (Abendlied; excerpts from his Mass in Eflat), Bruckner (Locus Iste), and Mendelssohn (Above All Praise and All Majesty, Der ersten Frühlingstag). A highlight will be Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer featuring our charming soprano soloist, Elizabeth Mandeno. We are delighted that Janet Gibbs will again accompany us on piano and organ with her beautiful musicianship.

A Sound Came From Heaven

18 May 2019

How often do we hear the phrase ‘music made in heaven’? This concert presents a selection of contrasting but always beautiful music, taking its title from the New Zealand composer, Douglas Mews’ atmospheric A Sound Came From Heav’n. Conducted by Jenny Firth and accompanied by Janet Gibbs on piano and organ, we will travel from the 16th century until today and from Europe, Britain and the US to New Zealand, in a variety of original compositions and modern arrangements of well-loved music. The concert will centre on Spain’s Tomas Luis de Victoria (e.g. Vere Languores and O magnum mysterium), but we will also canvas a variety of other pieces including the Scottish Skye Boat Song, the Welsh Ayr Hyd y nos (All Through the Night), English folk songs such as Tom he was a piper’s son, the Swedish Vem Kan Segla, All my Trials from the USA and finishing with Andrew Carter’s Deep Peace. We are also delighted that the concert will include the extra dimension of Spanish music from Barkin Sertkaya on guitar and Kevin Kim on recorder.


Summer Christmas

24 November 2018

You asked for it! Camerata’s Christmas concert features music selected from requests by the choir and our audience. We are privileged to have as guest conductor the delightful Dr Penny Watson, who will preside over an eclectic collection of Christmas music, some well-known and some less so, accompanied by the wonderful Janet Gibbs. Ranging from New Zealand to the UK to France and the Ukraine, the concert features a range of styles as well as some traditional carols, providing a programme of variety and fun. It includes the sparkly Bob Chilcott arrangement of the Twelve Days of Christmas, the beautiful Hymne à la Vierge by Pierre Villette, Carol of the Bells, Text Me Merry Christmas, No well (a humorous take on We Three Kings) and Calypso Lullaby. In support of our local context, we will sing Po Marie as well as Summer Christmas, the premier performance of a work composed by our own Wayne Senior (no snow, but the glow of a golden sun). There will be a second guest conductor in amongst it all – the eminent scholar and talented choral director Professor Frank Worrell from UC Berkeley, California. This will be an entertaining experience both for the choir and for the audience, introducing the Christmas season with verve, interest and choral beauty.

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem

12 and 19 August 2018

Brahms Requiem (1865-69), sometimes called the ‘human requiem’ because Brahms intended it to comfort and focus on hope, is one of the most famous choral masterpieces. Camerata has invited Hamilton’s St Peter’s Cathedral Choir to join with us in singing this magnificent and substantial work, to be sung in both Hamilton and Auckland. While it was originally scored for orchestra, we will be singing it to the accompaniment of a piano duet – two pianists playing on one grand piano. Brahms created this duet accompaniment because he felt that it would provide more intimacy as well as precision and clarity, allowing for both the accompaniment and the choral aspects to be well-heard and appreciated. The piano duet version was performed last year (2017) in New York’s Carnegie Hall and the work was described as ‘an anthem for our time’ (James Oestreich, New York Times, May 12 2017). The complex piano duet demands the skills of excellent pianists, and we are delighted that Janet Gibbs and Peter Watts have agreed to perform this role. The music begins quietly, then moves from sombre mourning to light, affirmation, contemplation, consolation, exhilaration and ends in peace, giving a great range of mood for the choir and the audience. It is full of colour, with attractive melodies and harmonies. The very beautiful soprano solo will be sung by the North Shore’s Elizabeth Mandeno. The choral work is interwoven with powerful baritone solos to be sung by James Harrison, a New Zealander who has returned after several years overseas and was recently acclaimed as Maximilian in Opera New Zealand’s performances of Bernstein’ Candide.

All in all, these will be splendid concerts, so do come along and enjoy the glory that is Brahms’ German Requiem.

Wild Daisies

19 May 2018

May is New Zealand music month. What better time to go wild and attend Camerata’s concert, ‘Wild Daisies.’

We begin with a Maori chant of welcome composed in the early 20th Century, after which all our music is by very much alive New Zealand composers, from the long-established and esteemed John Wells to internationally acclaimed David Childs, Felicia Edgecombe from Wellington, and Aucklanders Chris Artley, Cecily Sheehy, Ken Leech and William Green.

Our home being the city of sails, we sing a Maori canoe paddling song set by Cecily Sheehy, then go to sea with John Wells’ Call of the Running Tide, and again with William Green’s delightful Sea to Shore –where Devonport takes a starring role. We touch on Solitude with Chris Artley, become lyrical with Wells’ setting of poetry by New Zealanders in Wild Daisies, get quirky while checking out camping with Felicia Edgecombe and sing a lot of nonsense with Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky set for choir by Ken Leech.


Joy to the World!

25 November 2017

We love Christmas at Camerata. So we will be singing a selection of gorgeous and joyous Christmas music at our concert on 25 November.

Christus Natus Est, composed by Cecilia McDowall in 2002, offers a collection of carols combined into a seamless work with an exciting organ accompaniment. Once again we are thrilled that Janet Gibbs will be our organist. Mezzo-soprano Jessica Wells will join us as soloist. The work also includes a children’s choir, and we are delighted to welcome the Marybelles from Marist College, with their conductor, Charlotte Nicklin.

Along with some traditional favourites, joys in this concert include works by Benjamin Britten (A Hymn to the Virgin, There is no Rose), the Basque carol Gabriel’s Message, and the very traditional and haunting Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. What would a Christmas concert be without John Rutter? This time we will sing his sprightly Jesus Child and serene Mary’s Lullaby. To round the Christmas picture out, we will sing the Irving Berlin classic, White Christmas, along with Martin and Blane’s Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Beauty in Music

19 August 2017

Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know (Keats)

Come and join us for this concert of truly beautiful music – music which choristers love to sing and which may transport you to another plane!

We feature Fauré’s Requiem with soloists Kelly Harris (soprano) and Arthur Adams-Close (baritone). We are delighted to welcome back the splendid Janet Gibbs to play the lovely organ accompaniment. Who would not be moved by the Agnus Dei, Libera Me or Pie Jesu?

The concert also gives us time to luxuriate in the beautiful sounds of music by Mozart, Parry, Stanford, and Harris, including Beati quorum via, Faire is the heaven and My Soul, there is a country. Beautiful music comes from all times. So we will also sing works by the more modern composers Morten Lauridsen, John Taverner and Ola Gjeilo, as well as earlier masters like Victoria and Byrd.

Amidst the beautiful harmonies, you will hear the ethereal bluebird, feel the sting in the tail of the dying swan, surrender to the serenity of Ave Verum (Mozart) and Ubi Caritas (Gjeilo), and hear two versions of The Lamb, just to mention a few of the delights that await.

On the Lighter Side

20 May 2017

Camerata Chamber Choir’s first offering for 2017 features work by two jazz masters, with arrangements of jazz classics by New Zealand’s own Wayne Senior, and A Little Jazz Mass by England’s Bob Chilcott. In a move exciting for us, we will be accompanied by a jazz trio ( Crystal Choi on piano, David Hodkinson on bass and Jason Orme on drums). We are also delighted that singer Renée Brennan (ex-Tadpole), again a jazz afficionado, joins us as soloist.

Wayne’s long and illustrious career has many highlights in terms of composing, arranging and conducting, with his work being played all over the world. We will sing his arrangements of a number of classics, the mood moving from I’m beginning to See the Light to No Moon at All , from drifting leaves (The Autumn Leaves) to Broadway (Crazy Rhythm), from the first invitation to the fullness of love and saying goodbye.

Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass combines the traditional Latin of the Mass (Missa brevis) with twenty-first century jazz, and is described as highly effective and original by publisher Oxford University Press.

The choir has been loving the great treat of being tutored in jazz by Wayne (also singing) alongside our conductor, Jenny Firth. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we are.


Good King Wenceslas

3 December 2016

In 2014 Bob Chilcott was asked to compose a twenty minute choral work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the well-known British chain store 'John Lewis'. The result is an engaging work for choir and piano, titled simply Wenceslas , evoking the original story with its message of winter cold, poverty and charity.

The acclaimed Sheryl Clarke will delight us on the piano. Wenceslas will be sung by Hamilton bass, Jonathan Eyers , and The Page by young Auckland singer, Dilys Fong. Jonathan is currently studying towards an Honours degree at Waikato University with Dame Malvina Major. Dilys is an ex-Westlake Girls High School student, a singer from Key Cygnetures who has gone on to achieve BMus/ BSc majoring in Performance Voice and Physics.

We will also sing some other carols for you, plus three chorales from J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio, interspersed with arias sung by Dilys and Jonathan.

Sing for Joy

20 August 2016

Singing for joy is something Camerata really takes pleasure in. We are having fun preparing these uplifting works to warm your hearts on a winter’s evening.

Vivaldi’s Gloria is one of his best-known compositions and one of the most frequently performed examples of sacred music from the Baroque era. The work ranges through the boisterous and jolly, with strongly articulated rhythms, to the reflective and lyrical, with music for soloists and choir.

Both Parry and Handel’s works – I Was Glad and Zadok the Priest – were composed to be sung in the presence of royalty or indeed at the crowning of kings. These are songs of majesty and joy.

Also on the programme are two short a capella works: Mendelssohn’s Above All Praise and All Majesty and Victoria’s O Quam Gloriosum – O how glorious is the Kingdom...

Our new gem for you, Te Deum, is by a composer not well-known in New Zealand, Otto Olsson. This Swedish composer was one of the greatest virtuoso organists of his time and composed organ, instrumental and choral music with a late Romantic feeling. His Te Deum is his best-known work.

We are fortunate to be accompanied by one of Auckland’s finest organists, Janet Gibbs.

Poetry in Music

30 April 2016

Our first concert for this year contains two works, both dealing with horizons. Poetry is central in both.

We start at home, with New Zealand composer Christopher Marshall's To The Horizon: Images of New Zealand. This expressive song cycle includes the well-known poems Horizon by Ian Wedde, Walking On My Feet by A.R.D. Fairburn, The Magpies by Denis Glover and On the Swag by R.A.K. Mason. John Parker will read each poem before we sing it.

Then we move to Great Britain, with Horizons by English composer Andrew Carter. This at once lively and reflective music perfectly underscores poetry by Anne Brontë, Arthur Hugh Clough, John Masefield, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Rudyard Kipling and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The work is scored for solo soprano, chorus and piano. Gina Sanders will be our soprano soloist and Jennifer Gorbey our pianist.


We Sing the Birth

12 December 2015

'We Sing the Birth' is a joyous exploration of the carols and works surrounding the Christmas story.

The music featured includes Part 1 of the Bach Christmas Oratorio and To Us a Child is Born. This year the other carols are largely those of English and New Zealand composers. We tell the story of Christ’s birth, from the reflective to the celebratory drinking song Wassail.

We feature two young soloists, tenor Kalauni Pouvalu and bass Jonathan Dunlop, and experienced singer Margo Knightbridge .

Make the most of this opportunity to hear our guest organist, Timothy Noon, in one of his last concerts in New Zealand, before he returns to England to take up the organist’s position at Exeter Cathedral.

Glorious Romantics

6 September 2015

Camerata Singers present Glorious Romantics with a bit of a twist.

We halloo from the Bavarian highlands where Spring is underway.... "Now we hear Spring's sweet voice.... bidding all the earth rejoice".

There is some delightful Mendelssohn, including the old favourite Hear My Prayer .

Then Camerata goes somewhat operatic with Puccini's Messa di Gloria - an exuberant work presaging his later fine operas. Puccini composed it for his graduation thesis at the age of eighteen.

As it is an afternoon concert, bring along family and friends who prefer that time of the day and celebrate with us the start of Spring!

Conductor: Jenny Firth

With special guests Janet Gibbs, Iain Tetley, Jan-Maree Baughan and Alexander Garvey


9 May 2015

The music for this concert has been chosen to reflect the different "atmospheres" one encounters in religion, nature, humanity and the celestial. Some atmospheres are serene and reflective, while others are dark, passionate and fiery.

The concert will also feature performances by guest choir The Fundamentals from Rangitoto College, conducted by Jonathan Palmer.

Works include those by Scandinavian composers Ola Gjeilo and Einojuhani Rautavaara, American composers Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, and NZ composer David Hamilton.


Duruflé Requiem and European Christmas Music

29 November 2014

The Camerata Singers, conducted by Jenny Firth, perform Duruflé's Requiem and European Christmas Music on Saturday 29 November.

The North Shore Camerata (or The Camerata Singers as we are now more commonly known) began its life as a community choir on Auckland’s North Shore, then known as the Rothesay Singers, some 25 years ago in 1989.

As well as celebrating our 25th anniversary as a choir this year, we are also celebrating our 10th anniversary as "The Camerata"!

To end this special double anniversary year, The Camerata Singers, conducted by Jenny Firth, are performing Duruflé’s Requiem and a beautiful selection of European Christmas music.

Joining The Camerata Singers for this magical programme is one of New Zealand's most respected musicians, organist Dr John Wells. John's daughters, Jessica and Rachel, will also be joining the choir as Mezzo Soprano and 'Cellist and the Wells family will be performing Johannes Brahms "Zwei Gesange".