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History Page 3

~  Boys Choir 1985-2015  ~


1985 (September) Arts Centre Director Chris Doig approaches Clifton Cook to set up “Arts Centre Boys’ Choir”. First concert Great Hall 20 December features Doig & boys singing “He is Born”& Jared Holt performing “The Christ Child”.

1986 Great Hall Concerts Sept & Nov. 44 choristers. Glowing review notes “rare capacity audience”. 

1987 Perform St Matthew Passion (Bach) Christchurch Town Hall. Close association with Canterbury Opera commences. Children’s Chorus Bizet Carmen.

1988-89 Choir grows under Clifton Cook, assisted by administrator Margaret Davidson. Performs its own concert schedule and performs for Canterbury Opera.

1990-91 Charles Levings becomes conductor and the choir is renamed The Christchurch Boys’ Choir.  Alf Jones accompanies and a formal committee is formed.  La Boheme, Don Giovanni and Madama Butterfly with Canterbury Opera & CSO Christmas Charity Concerts.

1992 Queenstown Tour: Winter Festival performance.  Alf Jones steps down as accompanist – stays on as adminstrator. CSO “Christmas Crackers”.

1993 Joins the CSM stable of choirs on a two-year trial at invitation of Philip Norman. Arts Centre tribute concert for Clifton Cook (awarded Life Medal) Richard Oswin accompanist.  Sings at Charles’ wedding. Music Camp Waddington. Medals initiated. Additional group for changed voices set-up.

1994 Dunedin Tour Mini-vans head south to “boy-proof” John McGlashan College. Weekly rehearsals Medbury. Peter Douglas organises selling half a container-load of soap to raise $9000 for first international trip. Concert ties donated by Sir Richard Hadlee.

1995 CBC convinced to remain with CSM for time being. Huge fundraising concert “Voices of Canterbury” - among the supporters Brian Law, Ted Rhodes, & Barbara Walton. 32 boys on July Melbourne Tour staying at Xavier College with tour manager Robyn Ogle and soprano Barbara Walton. Margot Hogwood accompanies.  Appearances Jason Gunn and George Balani shows. Boys sing anthem for Rams game. Some join City Choir for Carmina Burana, others perform St Matthews Passion with Jubilate Singers. Great Hall Lunchtime concert.  Harry Abbenhuis takes over as conductor.

1996 Malvern concert. Hanmer camp. Concerts Great Hall and Catheral Square.  Second “Voices of Canterbury” at James Hay Theatre honours Clifton Cook.  Andrew Withington takes over conducting.  Hamish Robb new accompanist.

1997 Waipara Camp. Festival of Romance. Park Royal and other engagements to raise funds for Japan ’98 as well as “On Wings of Song” concert, Press sponshorship & Chocolate project.

1998 Kurashiki, Japan Tour. Each boy pays $1000 for week-long trip led by tour manager Lawson Scott. Rugby-style shirts new casual uniform. Copyright wrangles see produced-CD pulled from sales.

1999 Living Springs camp. Rousing welcome home for Andrew after European NYC trip. Boys peform 10th anniversary concert for choir stalwart Alf Jones days before he dies. Distinction for Trinity College Bronze Choral Assessment “a credit to all concerned”. UC Chamber Choir Concert among eight concerts. 

2000 Liedertafel scholarship commences paying choir fees for two boys.  Seven concerts. Chorale in place.

2001 Living Springs camp. Felicity Williams’ Whiskers and Wings TV recording.  Liedertafel concert Town Hall.  35 audition after Recruitment Roadshow.

2002 Queenstown Tour. Two camps Living Springs. Boys sing with Vienna Boys choir, perform Carmina Burana with City Choir, and join Liedertafel for December concert. Becomes an incorporated society  19 December 2002.  52 choristers: one boy one vote system.  Teal formal shirts introduced.

2003 Association with CSM ends returning choir to its original status.

Concerts Kantorei Choir (USA),  Missa Gaia with Brian Law.  Record songs for Christmas Day  “Praise Be”. Membership again widened to include changed voices. Record 6 songs for CD. Camp Living Springs.

2004 Produce Les Petits Troubadours CD. Farewell to Andrew Withington and Margot Hogwood (again). Chris Bruerton & Evans Chuang music team. Hohepa/St Stephens concerts.

2005 Monday rehearsals begin. Christchurch and Auckland Tour performances of Missa Gaia. Age range up to Year 12.

2006 Living Springs camp with senior section disbanded and the end of the coke can reward system! Oxford Tce Baptist Church and Lierdertaftl Holy Trinity concerts.

2007 Northwest Roadshow to recruit members. Rehearsals at Burnside High. You Tube debut. Michael Dawson accompanist. Workshops and four term 4 concerts including Liedertafel and carols at Christ Church Cathedral.  New conductor former chorister Thomas Woodfield.

2008 Andrew Withington mentoring, Thomas conducting. Rehearsals return to Oxford Tce with 20 boys. Margot Hogwood mentoring, Daniel Millward accompanying. Harmony Singers, Liedertafel and Holy Trinity Concerts.

2009 Garden Tour to raise funds for 25th Jubilee (Boys sing riverside on Mona Vale property) Charles Levings and Margot Hogwood back in interim roles.  Copyright issues see produced CDs written off .

2010 Choir aims to celebrate 25th anniversary but postpones due to September quake, which also renders Oxford Tce Baptist Church unsafe.  Rehearse in the tough acoustics of St Michaels Church.

Dunedin Tour. Will Frost (former chorister and voice tutor) and Josh McGirr (former chorister) sign on as prospective future co-Musical Directors.  Boys perform Christmas in the Park.

2011 Planned Wellington trip cancelled due to quakes. Queenstown Tour instead, staying in Arrowtown funded by grants, Westpac bank sponsorhip, Auckland Choir donations. Charles hands over to Will and Josh. Margot hands over to accompanist Charlotte Ensor after 17-year association. Rehearsal venues disrupted due to quakes. Addington Brass concert.

2012 Nelson Tour. Choir back to trebles (17 members). Accompanist Nick Dow replaced by Matthew Everingham. Queenspark School overnight workshop. Community Trust and Papanui Community Concerts.

2013 Auckland Tour. Parklands Community Day and Erin Simpson Show appearances. Pledge me, quiz, and Press sponsorship fundraisers. Will takes the reigns mid-year. September workshop, combined CBC and CYC concert at Transitional Cathedral.

2014 Dunedin Tour includes performances at Knox Church, Larnach Castle. Pre-Tour Showcase concert St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. Transitional Cathedral  Liedertafel concert and Christmas collaboration with Pro Arte singers. Grants fund “Voices of Tomorrow” CD.

2015 Angus Simmons and Kimberley Wood music team. CBC provides singers  for childrens’ choir at Cricket World Cup opener at Hagley Park. Westburn weekend workshop and another at Omaka Scout Camp.  Boys perform with CSO and combined choirs Britten’s War Requiem at Airforce Museum.  Performed with Philipino Choir. 30th anniversary celebrations.


Disclaimer: Information obtained through clippings minutes and ancedotes.