May News

Tuesday practices are back! Well, kind of ...

See your emails for instructions on how to ZOOM with Robert.

If you want to keep practising by yourself you could use these Youtube videos: 

Five Mystical Songs: midi files at

Faurés Requiem:  Search for: youtube choir rehearsal aid faure requiem. This will bring up all the parts.

Please  check with other choir members you know to make sure they have received this message.

Look after yourselves and let us know if you need support in any way.

Feeling isolated? Here's something to cheer you up!

Check out this link:

'The Virtual Choir is a global phenomenon, creating a user-generated choir that brings together singers from around the world and their love of music in a new way through the use of technology. Singers record and upload their videos from locations all over the world. Each one of the videos is then synchronised and combined into one single performance to create the Virtual Choir.'

Renowned British choir conductor Gareth Malone is also setting up a virtual choir called The Great British Home Chorus. Google his name and you can read all about it. He's calling for members, but we are not sure if New Zealanders qualify!

And do check our new page!


A reasonably well-attended AGM was held on Tuesday 3 March.  The existing officers and committee members were all confirmed for another year and we welcomed a new committee member, Jenny Somerville. The various reports were all read and accepted, with discussion around the following points:

• The cost of the website was queried. This was later clarified as being payment for three years in advance, not an annual fee.

• An item in the accounts causing considerable bemusement was payment for 'lawn-mowing at the gaol'! Newer members were not aware that several years ago the choir was given an old building at Brayshaw Park in which to store all our records, music etc. This was originally the town gaol and came complete with barred windows, graffiti and, by all accounts, an unhealthy number of spiders and cobwebs. We are responsible for keeping the strip of lawn outside mowed.

• A suggestion was raised that more could be done to enhance the social side of choir membership with, perhaps, more time set aside for general mingling. While there was general agreement about this, a lively discussion was held as to how it could be best achieved. The point was made that  Robert's time was valuable and we didn't want to eat into it more than was necessary. It was suggested that we should all make an effort to wear name tags, and also that more people could submit their stories to the 'Meet Our Members' page on this website. Ros would be delighted to receive some more entries, with or without photos, and is happy to help write them up if you are at all uncertain. Send your story in to  

What has Robert been up to? See below!


New Zealand Festival Review: 'Eight Songs for a Mad King' well worth experiencing

Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King takes the words of George III in a mono drama for a solo voice and a small instrumental ensemble, and it premiered in London in 1969. But this production exchanges George III for a modern-day chief executive of a large corporation - clearly one in some trouble. It is a clever decision that removes the need for any expensive scenery and costumes and involves only a large boardroom table on which the deeply troubled executive wreaks havoc.

And the NZ baritone Robert Tucker offers a virtuoso display of disintegration in which his voice moves from the alto to upper bass in a manner that is nothing short of astonishing. Coupled with a physical, out-of-control movement, one wonders just how he will survive doing the role 12 times in six days. And that is because in this production by Thomas de Mallet Burgess, we hear the Eight Songs twice, with the audience divided in half. Firstly, one half is in the hall with the other half outside eavesdropping. Then those outside go inside and those outside go inside and we hear it again. ... The small Stroma ensemble under the vital direction of Hamish McKeich offers brilliant support to Tucker, and the RNZB Dance Centre - in what was the Fowler Centre car park - offers a richly vibrant acoustic for a production well worth experiencing.

Photo from 

From a review by Sophie on March 3, 2020 in Art, Festival, Music, Opera Review for The Wellingtonista

… Thomas de Mallet Burgess, General Director of NZ Opera, has acknowledged the challenge in staging exciting modern productions to attract a larger (and younger) audience, without losing the loyalty of long-time fans of the genre.  Choosing to direct this show is extremely brave in that context, as it’s a confronting piece in subject matter as well as delivery.  He split the audience in twain, one outside the windows, and one inside, with the outside half experiencing the performance through headphones.  After completion of the piece, a short interval, and then the two audiences switched places for a repeat. I started outside, and I think it was the best way around.  With the headphones on and a very limited view of the action, I could only really focus on the audio.  And dear God, what an experience that was.

Robert Tucker is wildly talented.  In a conventional part, his deliciously resonant baritone warms your cockles, and his charismatic and sensitive characterisation brings a part to life.  He is, truly, a brilliant operatic star. As King George, his freakishly large range becomes apparent.  Maxwell Davies intended the performer to illustrate King George’s mental state through an extended vocal technique, including howls, growls, whines and shrieks.  With all senses dulled except my hearing, I sat almost immobilised by Tucker’s voice …

You can read the full review at:

See also an extended article about Robert's  performance in the NZ Listener, which you can read here:


Marlborough's singing superstars!


We featured in a full-page article in the local paper on 5 December, with the above headline! It's not often we get such great publicity before one of our shows, so well done to those who organised it.  More was to come, with the review of our performance saying the '... ASB Theatre was lit up with a choir of angels, aka the Marlborough Singers ... worthy of the standing ovation they got at the end of the concert.'

Let's hope we can rise to even greater heights in 2020. Happy New Year everyone.

Carol singing


A group from the choir went carol singing before Christmas, visiting the Springlands Lifestyle Village (above) and Ashwood Park Retirement Village.

Some of the singers stopping off between gigs for a well-earned, festive glass of Pimms.

Some of the singers stopping off between gigs for a 

well-earned, festive glass of Pimms.

Gwenette provided the accompaniment and Rien, with Robert, one of the two lone male voices.

Gwenette provided the accompaniment and Rien, with Robert, 

one of the two lone male voices.

Well done Iona!

Our youngest choir member, Iona Panoho,  has distinguished herself again, this time with the award of an ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) in singing – what's more, with distinction! 

The award is a step beyond Grade 8, and involves putting on a 30-minute recital in up to four different languages, as described below.

Iona was given her certificate by Eileen Guard at a recent practice and received a standing ovation from her fellow choir members. We are all very proud of her.

“ARSM is unique in focusing solely on practical performing skills – nothing more, nothing less. It’s about the art and craft of musical communication through a half-hour programme which you put together according to your own individual musical strengths and enthusiasms. As well as focusing on the playing or singing of your repertoire, ARSM also involves assessment of the performance of your programme as a whole, giving you valuable feedback from two complementary perspectives.”

John Holmes
ABRSM Chief Examiner