Concerts & News

Our Next Concert

Come Celebrate Christmas

Music includes:
Mozart’s charming Pastoral Mass in G major, K. 140, and works by J S Bach, William Billings, J Barnby, Edward Elgar, Jonathan Berkhan and Zoltan Kodaly.

Directed by Jonathan Berkahn

7-00pm Sunday 10 December 2017
St Barnabas Anglican Church
35 Box Hill, Khandallah

Thomas Nikora ~ accompanist
The Festival Players
& special guests
The Northern Chorale.

Door sales available

Adults $10
(Children 12 and under free)

A koha for Downtown Community Ministry will also be appreciated

Click here to download a PDF of the programme booklet for the concert.


Our Last Concert

The Blake Project

Settings of William Blake‘s poems by Berkahn & Vaughan Williams; and other music of his time.

Directed by Jonathan Berkahn

7-30pm Saturday 16 September 2017
Wesley Methodist Church
75 Taranaki Street, Wellington

Barbara Paterson ~ soprano
Thomas Nikora ~ accompanist

Click to Download Programme Booklet PDF

About this concert

This is the first time Jonathan Berkahn’s suite of eight settings of poems by William Blake have been performed together.

The issues of inequality, poverty and child deprivation that Blake wrote about in London 200 years ago are still relevant today in New Zealand, as we approach our next general election.

“I have for many years been fascinated by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, by their memorable images, and the lucid and uncompromising language of the poems. The two books are, in a sense, parodies of each other: a reminder that there is always more than one way of looking at a thing,” says composer Jonathan Berkahn

“Two years ago the Festival Singers performed a concert celebrating the animal world: The Peaceable Kingdom, and I took the opportunity to set three of the best-known poems: The Lamb, The Tyger, and Night. Now we have a collection of eight ready to sing for you. The texts and music vary greatly in mood, from the coarse fun of The Little Vagabond to the tenderness of On Another’s Sorrow, to the heartbreaking bitterness of London, and the still-topical cry of Holy Thursday:
‘Is this a holy thing to see / In a rich and fruitful land,— / Babes reduced to misery, / Fed with cold and usurous hand?’

“To journey through Blake’s poems is to journey through Blake’s London, a city of wealth and poverty, green fields and cold stone churches.”

“For this reason, in the concert – which we have called The Blake Project – you will also hear music of Blake’s time: respectable church music from the cathedrals, secular part-songs from the glee-clubs, instrumental music from the concert hall, and possibly a Methodist hymn or two. We will, of course, also sing the best-known Blake setting of all, Parry’s Jerusalem. And then, after an hour or two spent in William Blake’s London, you will be able to return safely to Wellington, 2017.”


NZ Choral Federation workshop

On 5 & 6 May 2017 several Festival Singers members took part in the NZ Choral Federation’s workshop learning and then performing Donizetti’s Mass in G Minor.

Wonderfully led by conductor David Squire and accompanied by our own Jonathan Berkahn. Thomas Nikora also helped out leading sectionals.

Below are quick snaps of the basses, tenors and sopranos (top) and altos (bottom)


Looking for a friendly choir for 2018?

Here’s a short interview with Megan about being part of Festival Singers. Our contact details are at the end of the video.

Here’s a short interview with Joe about being part of Festival Singers and one of his recent concert highlights. Our contact details are at the end of the video.


Diana, who has been a member of the choir since 1982, talks with Philip about why Festival Singers is special for her.


Here’s a short interview with our talented young accompanist Thomas Nikora.


2018 Programme

Festival Singers has an exciting 2018 planned.  Here is a quick summary:

  • Manawatu-Whanganui Regional SingFest in Palmerston North Saturday 7 April, 2018
  • Wellington Choral Federation Workshop Friday, Saturday 5/6 May 2018
  • Haydn’s Creation. June 2018
  • Friends of Pataka Winter Music Series for 2018. Porirua Museum. 5 August 2018.
  • Christmas / End of year concert: Late Nov/Early Dec 2018.

We will add more details as they are finalised.

For more information, please contact:

See you soon at a rehearsal or concert!

Philip Garside (Publicity)


Order our 2015 CD People of the Light


$25.00 each + p&p for 1 or 2 copies,

$20.00 each  + p&p for 3, 4 or 5 copies,

All prices include postage

Click the buttons below to order securely via PayPal.
You can use your credit card and don’t need to be a PayPal account holder.

New Zealand Orders

1 copy $29.00
 2 copies $54.00
  3 copies $65.50
4 copies $85.50
5 copies $105.50

Overseas Orders

Overseas orders exclude GST
and include airmail postage

1 copy NZ$33.00

If you prefer to pay by sending us a cheque, please click here to
download the PDF Order form

About the CD

People of the Light features music which is patterned after the church year.

The Advent Song, Introit, God is with us and This is why tell of waiting in hope, angels singing and the sure knowledge that God will never leave us.
A setting of James Mongomery’s Go to dark Gethsemane leads into The Third Day cantata.
The cantata tells the Easter story from the cross, through low Saturday, to finding the empty tomb, Jesus’ appearance in the locked room and giving the great commission. The work ends with a glorious finale that proclaims, “Christ is Risen, Alleluia!”
Next is Such Love, a choral setting of words from 1 John: 3. This is followed by three instrumental pieces that reflect Jonathan’s love of Celtic music.
Also included are Jonathan’s settings of the traditional Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. The Magnificat features a free-form melody sung by soprano soloist Sharon Yearsley, who soars over an exciting rhythmic, pulsing chant by the choir.
The CD closes with a Blessing based on Psalm 27.

Throughout, Jonathan’s music deftly weaves melodies around sacred words in ways that enhance and give new meaning to the text. Listeners will be drawn into the music and find their spirits uplifted.

Founded in 1976, Festival Singers of Wellington has a tradition of encouraging young performers, of bringing new music to our audiences and of always singing to the glory of God. People of the Light continues this tradition.

Order our other CDs


Spirited People (2007)

1 copy within NZ $24.00

1 copy Overseas $28.00


Tell My People (2000)

1 copy within NZ $24.00

1 copy Overseas $28.00

2016 Programme

Festival Singers has an exciting 2016 planned.  Here is a quick summary:

First rehearsal:  7-9 p.m. on Monday 1 February 2016, at Newlands Christian Assembly, 126 Newlands Road, Newlands. All welcome.

  • Sunday 20th March – 2pm concert at Futuna Chapel, Karori
  • Sunday 10th July (date to be confirmed) – Concert with Tawa Orchestra
  • 15/16 October – Festival Singers Choir – 40th Anniversary celebrations.

For more information, please contact:

See you soon at a rehearsal or concert!

Philip Garside (Publicity)





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