Christchurch City Choir continues to flourish in the Choral landscape of Canterbury with over 30 years of performance and a rich choral history to draw from.
The Choir has a long and proud history of contributing to the musical fabric of the city stretching back over 125 years. Christchurch City Choir launched in 1991 with the amalgamation of two long-standing choirs, the Royal Christchurch Musical Society and the Christchurch Harmonic Society. As in the past, this newly formed choir drew on the rich musical traditions of the city which have been fostered by a diversity of instrumental and choral groups. The first Music Director, Brian Law, enhanced the professionalism of the Choir’s performances and developed a broader range in musical style and language.
Following Brian Laws 22 year long period as Music Director the baton was then taken up by Andrew Withington who, with energy and ideas aplenty, presented a rich and varied programme covering traditional, contemporary, New Zealand and Pasifika repertoire which appealed to a wide range of audiences. In 2016 the Choir had the privilege of working with several distinguished guest conductors and were thrilled to have Dr John Linker take up the Musical Director role to lead the choir on the next phase of the journey.
The choir has performed works from its established repertoire, including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No 9, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Fauré’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius. It has also explored less widely known works such as Benjamin Britten’s St Nicholas, choruses from Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and Song of the Night.
In 1996 the Choir travelled to Wellington and performed, to much critical acclaim, Mahler’s epic Symphony No 8 with the Orpheus Choir and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts and a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the NZSO for that organisation’s 50th anniversary concert.
The Choir’s concert programme of 3-4 concerts per year is set annually by the Artistic Director, and often involves the contracting of professional musicians and organisations such as the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Woolston Brass, along with local community groups and Christchurch schools and choirs. Previous performances have attracted soloists of international acclaim, including our very own Patron, Simon O'Neill, and a host of others.
Choir Members audition to became part of the Choir and we encourage those who are interested in joining to attend a couple of rehearsals before auditioning. Information for new members can be found on our home page.
Image above: Christchurch Town Hall Messiah with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.