12th World Symposium on Choral Music

Testimonials

Two very strong claims can be made about New Zealand singing at the highest level: The first is that our top choirs and soloists are among the best on the planet. The second is that those two things are hugely interconnected! WSCM2020 will lift our choral scene to even greater levels, while helping still more of our young solo singers to achieve their dreams.

We’re calling out for support of our event via donations big or small - here - and a few of our friends are behind us. These testimonials come from some of New Zealand's most highly regarded choral exports who all vouch for the fact their careers have been shaped and boosted by our vibrant choral scene. We thank them for their support - and you, in advance, for yours! 

MARTIN SNELL bass

"The growth of the NZ Youth Choir, the Secondary Students’ Choir and The Big Sing have reaped a rich harvest for the artistic life of our small country, as well as for every singer that passed through their ranks, whether they have become teachers, composers, arts administrators, enthusiastic amateurs or professional performers. Our choral music scene has flourished, and choirs are now an intrinsic part of the cultural fabric of New Zealand. My own NZYC membership and the extraordinary performance opportunities it presented were a huge influence on my decision to pursue a career in music as a professional singer. I am immensely grateful and would not have missed it for the world." 

WENDY DAWN THOMPSON mezzo-soprano

"I count myself incredibly fortunate to have grown up in New Zealand with its wealth and quality of choirs and choral expertise. Choirs meant learning and performing incredible music, pushing yourself beyond what you thought possible and being part of something much bigger than yourself. I remember so many spine tingling moments of music-making, feelings I still seek to capture in my career as an opera singer."

SIMON O’NEILL tenor

"My operatic singing career began in the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir, where I gained my love of singing and the desire to develop my instrument to the highest level. I am now patron of several choirs and it is a huge honour to represent them. I know the international choirs will love performing at New Zealand’s World Symposium and our home choirs will welcome them with open arms and voices!"

AMELIA BERRY soprano

"Many of my essential skills were developed through choirs – singing in foreign languages, how to listen and be part of an ensemble, attention to detail, stamina during long rehearsals and the discipline one needs to have a career in music. Everything I learned has been valuable, and I see choral singing as a real stepping-stone to the career path I’ve chosen."

PAUL WHELAN bass-baritone

?I cannot overstate the importance of choirs in my life. My school had chamber and massed choirs, I sang in my father's cathedral choir, and best of all I made it to the NZ National Youth Choir under Peter Godfrey. Blending and bonding with other people at that high level gave me the skills and the passion to pursue a career in voice, where I have been lucky enough to make a good living ever since."

PENE PATI tenor

"Choral singing taught me to be a musician. I sang in choirs for close to 12 years – school, community and national – and through them I learnt harmony, musical sensitivity and how to work in an ensemble. I would not be the singer I am now, had it not been for that experience. It gives me great pleasure and pride that the WSCM2020 is to be held in Aotearoa. It’s testimony to our contribution on the world stage and our continued striving for the betterment of this incredible art form."

ANNA LEESE soprano

"Being a member of the NZYC was my first taste of real musical perfection and satisfaction – quite an addictive and driving force once you’ve tasted it. The close friendships I made with those kindred spirits have shaped my life ever since."

MOSES MACKAY baritone

"I come from Samoan heritage, and singing in choirs – sharing the stage with your friends and family – is integrated into our culture. WSCM will provide a platform for upcoming vocalists to come listen to music from all over the world and be inspired!"

ANTHONY RITCHIE composer

"My years in NZYC were extraordinarily important in my career as a musician, both in composing for choirs and for the network of friends and musical colleagues I made. They also gave me confidence as a person and helped me understand the voice. I believe WSCM2020 is an incredibly important event for New Zealand and will drive a new generation of vocal musicians."

TECWYN EVANS conductor

"As a keen singer and young conductor, I was hugely inspired hearing choirs at the 1993 Vancouver World Symposium and I’m sure singers in New Zealand and visitors from abroad will be blown away by the incredible display of talent at WCSM2020."

NATASHA WILSON soprano

"In 2008 I was fortunate enough to perform at the Copenhagen WSCM as a member of Westlake Girls’ Key Cygnetures, and it left a lasting impression on me. That vast range of cultures, represented through choral music, inspired me to continue on to a career in music, where I now have the privilege of representing Aotearoa on the US operatic stage."

TEDDY TAHU RHODES baritone

"Choral singing has been the backbone of my musical journey. The skills learned and the inspiration gained from the music and great friendships have stayed with me in my career some 30 years later. Without those formative choral years, I would never have taken the journey I still enjoy. I congratulate NZ on winning WCSM2020 and hope it will inspire everyone as much as I was fortunate enough to be."

DAVID HAMILTON composer

"Choral music has given me an opening to an international career as a composer and adjudicator. It has allowed me to take music from New Zealand to the world, and to show that we have a fine tradition of choirs and singing here. WSCM2020 will undoubtedly cement our reputation as a country of choral excellence."

MADELEINE PIERARD soprano

"Singing in our top choirs was the foundation of my musical life and education. I found my tribe and lifelong friends there. I honed my musicianship, my ear, vocal discipline and my love for music. Making music together provides a joy and sense of belonging that is, in my opinion, unmatched by any other experience. New Zealand possesses a rich choral tradition and it is essential to nurture and inspire the next generations of teachers and singers alike. Hosting the WSCM2020 gives our aspiring choral leaders and practitioners access to world leaders in this art form, thus providing a massive source of inspiration and information, whilst consolidating New Zealand’s standing as a world leader on the choral stage."

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