News and Events

Movie Fundraiser

An American in Paris – A New Musical

4:30pm for 5.00pm start Sunday  27 May 2018
The Lighthouse, 52 Beach Street, Petone


Tickets from Choir members
or email Philip:

This film of the stunning, award-winning West End
stage show has just been released.
it is the story of a young American soldier who falls in love
with a French woman in post WW2 Paris.
Featuring George & Ira Gershwin’s music and lyrics,
along with dynamic dance sequences.

SingFest 2018

Festival Singers was one of 8 community choirs who gathered
on Saturday 7 April 2018 St Peter’s Church, Ruahine Street, Palmerston North, for SingFest 2018
***Special thanks to Kate Love Photographer for the photos***


Our Last Concert


Come Celebrate Christmas

Music included:
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.

 A koha for Downtown Community Ministry was collected

Click here to download a PDF of the programme booklet for the 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)

On 30 April 2017 we had a successful fundraiser film evening watching this wonder full documentary.

The Music of Strangers –Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble

About the film

 “The intersection of cultures is where new things emerge.”
 Yo-Yo Ma, cellist and founder of the Silk Road Ensemble

Watch the official trailer here:

Over the past 16 years, an extraordinary group of musicians has come together to celebrate the universal power of music. Named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe, The Silk Road Ensemble, an international collective created by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, exemplifies music’s ability to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope for both artists and audiences.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble follows an ever-changing line up of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution.

Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, director Morgan Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of Silk Road Ensemble mainstays from across the globe to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice. Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind.

“An irresistible kaleidoscope of music and good fellowship… Finds poetry in the ability of music to bring us home again, wherever we may travel.” Moira MacDonald, The Seattle Times

“A joyous revelation, a group portrait of superb musicians from all over the world offering music as an emblem of what people can do in these fractious times when they live in concert with one another.” The Wall Street Journal


A recent Concert


Festival Singers & The Tawa Orchestra


The Last Judgement
by Louis Spohr

With Max Reger’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart,
and works by Felix Mendelssohn, Gabriel Faure, and others.

2 pm Sunday
 31 July 2016
Tawa College Hall
38 Duncan Street, Tawa


2017 Programme

Festival Singers has an exciting 2017 planned.  Here is a quick summary:

    • First rehearsal:  7-9 p.m. on Monday, 13 February 2017, at Newlands Christian Assembly, 126 Newlands Road, Newlands. All welcome.


    • 5–6 May 2017. We take part in the NZ Choral Federation’s weekend workshop performing Donizetti’s Mass in G Minor


    • 18 June 2017. Our concert “Sunday at the Opera.”


    • 16 September 2017. Our concert of poems by William Blake set to music by our musical director Jonathan Berkahn.


    • 10 December 2017. An evening Lessons and Carols service.

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 new CD People of the Light now


$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.

CD Launch

Please come to our CD Launch

2.30pm Sun. 1 Nov 2015
Island Bay Presbyterian Church
 88 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington

We’ll be performing music from the CD.

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

Movie Fundraiser Night – 5 July 2015


Far_from_the_madding_crowd_still_1Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

We filled the 80 seat theatre with family, friends and choir members at a special screening of this film at the Light House Cinema, Beach Street, Petone.


In mid-February 2015, a select group of Festival Singers, with Jonathan on piano, accompanied the groom singing his vows to his bride, at The Pines in Island Bay.


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)


Enjoyable Fundraiser

60+ Magic_in_the_Moonlight_posterFestival Singers members and supporters enjoyed a fundraising screening of:

Magic in the Moonlight on Sunday 31 August


Light House Cinema, 52 Beach Street, Petone

Thank you for your support

The cinema staff were very helpful and accommodating and we can recommend this cinema to other groups wanting to host fundraisers.


SingFest 2014


Click the image to see a video clip of
Festival Singers of Wellington performing
“Pieta” from “The Third Day” by Jonathan Berkahn
at SingFest 2014, Palmerston North


SingFest 2014


SingFest 2014





Thanks to Rosemary Garside for taking the photos and video.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s