Pepe Becker  Ellen Barrett  John Beaglehole  Roger Wilson Roy Tankersley

Regent on Broadway    Saturday 5th of December at 7.30 pm

For notes on the oratorio click on MESSIAH on the menu at the top of the page






Mendelssohn’s oratorio ELIJAH was last performed by the PNCS

in 1992, prepared by Helen Caskie, conducted by Peter Godfrey

The story of Elijah (Eliyahu) the prophet of Yahweh and his contest with the prophets of Ba`al on Mount Carmel (translated from Hebrew by Brian Colless) is available at







The Creation

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) wrote over 750 works including concertos, operas, masses, piano trios,

string quartets, and symphonies. He is often referred to as the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet".

Based on the Book of Genesis and Milton’s Paradise Lost, Creation is structured in three parts, the first two dealing with the biblical six days of creation, and the third devoted to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Haydn chose to “think big” for this crowning work of his composing career and his orchestra included trombones, clarinets, comparative new-comers to the orchestra, and apparently for the first time the magnificent contrabassoon. The work features three vocal soloists (soprano, tenor, and bass), and a four-part chorus.

Haydn worked on the Creation (Die Schöpfung) for nearly two years before completing it in April 1798. He devoted more time to this work than he had ever spent on a single composition, working to the point of exhaustion, and collapsed into a period of illness after conducting its premiere performance in Vienna in March 1799. The oratorio was performed nearly forty times in Vienna alone during Haydn’s last decade. Its first London premiere (translated in to English) was at Covent Garden in 1800. The last performance Haydn attended was on March 1808, just a year before he died at the age of 77.

Haydn’s crowning masterpiece is proudly presented to you in all its glory by the combined Renaissance

Singers, Palmerston North Choral Society and Manawatu Sinfonia. The performance is in English and will be conducted by Guy Donaldson.

Morag Atchison
, one of New Zealand’s leading young sopranos, studied at the University of Auckland

and the Royal Academy of Music, London. A Kathleen Ferrier finalist, Morag’s operatic roles include First Lady, Magic Flute (NBR NZ Opera); Blumenmädchen, Parsifal (NZ Festival); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni with Sir Colin Davis (RAM/RCM) and La Ciesca, Gianni Schicchi (Aspen Festival, USA). Concert engagements include Missa Pacifica, Hamilton (World Premier), Carmina Burana, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (Auckland Choral); Brahms Requiem, Matthew Passion & Easter Oratorio (Bach Musica); Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (London & Aspen); Vivaldi Gloria with Sir David Willcocks (Royal Albert Hall and Venice); Mater Gloriosa in Mahler’s 8th Symphony (RAH) and the world premier of Peter Scholes’s Requiem (Auckland Chamber Orchestra). This July Morag sang Beethoven’s concert aria Ah! perfido with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra as part of their Splendour of Beethoven series and in February will sing Sandrina in Mozart’s opera La Finta Giardiniera at the Hamilton Gardens Festival for Opera Unleashed.

Born in Cardiff, Richard Phillips began singing as a teenager as a tenor in his school choir, after learning the violin from the age of seven. At Cambridge University he was a member of the King’s College Chapel Choir, the Cambridge University Chamber Choir and many other student orchestras and choirs. He was placed second in the Mobil Song Quest in 1981 and since then has sung with almost every major choral society in New Zealand. Richard was the featured tenor soloist for the City of Oxford (UK) Orchestra’s Baroque Series (1993) and soloist for the Oxford University Press Choir (2003).

Hadleigh Adams was born and raised in Palmerston North. He gained a Bachelor of Music with first class Honours at Auckland University in 2006, and is a PWC Dame Malvina Major Emerging artist for the NBR New Zealand Opera. He has performed as soloist with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vector Wellington Orchestra, numerous choirs, and has participated in master classes with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major, Paul Farrington & Jonathan Papp (Royal College of Music), and Robin Bowman (Guildhall School of Music and Drama).

Guy Donaldson was born and educated in Wanganui, receiving his formative piano instruction from Maurice Collier, and at Canterbury University continued his piano studies with Maurice Till. He was founding Head of Music at Awatapu College and in 1986 studied accompanying in London with Paul Hamburger and Roger Vignoles. He is well known in the Manawatu area as a teacher, adjudicator, piano soloist, accompanist, chamber music player, music coach and conductor. He is the musical director of the Renaissance Singers.

Morag Atchison                          Richard Phillips                                 Hadleigh Adams




SUNDAY 6 JULY 2.30 pm


Gaye Carrington-Smith (Soprano)   Pauline Rowe (Contralto)    Paul Lyons (Bass)

Alison Stewart (Musical Director)     Guy Donaldson (Piano Accompanist)

Adult $20  Concession $17  Student $10  Child under 10 free

For information about the programme go to PAST

Gaye Carrington-Smith - Soprano

From the Manawatu, Gaye is well known nationally as an opera singer and teacher of singing.

She has sung in leading and minor roles and understudied, and sung in many choruses.

Works include, The Pearl Fishers, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Boheme, Il Trovatore, Il Seraglio, Madam Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot, Eugene Onegin, The Masked Ball, Otello, Aida, Falstaff, Manon.

Gaye has also sung in many oratorio’s, recitals; and performs regularly for charities.

She is pictured singing as soloist with the choir on the CHOIR QUIRE page

Pauline Rowe - Contralto

Pauline has sung and been involved in all aspects of choral music since she was about eight years old,

as a chorister, soloist, conductor and teacher, with many different choirs and groups.

Along with her husband and three children, she has done a great deal of entertaining around the region.

She is a regular performing member of Musica Viva Manawatu.

and currently leads the Foxton-Rongotea Combined Churches Choir.

Paul Lyons - Bass

A bass singer of some age, if not experience or ability, Paul has participated in a wide range of musical and theatrical activities in Palmerston North and farby towns.     He has sung:

    - principal and chorus roles in several operas, including Aeneas in the Palmerston North Choral         Society’s performance of Dido and Aeneas

    - bass in Palmerston North’s late lamented jazz group, Not Just Jazz, in which Alison Stewart, that well-known Palmerston North musician, also participated, playing swinging jazz piano

    - bass solo for the Choral Society (quite recently, really: 1987),

    - principal rôles in a number of musicals (latterly Lord Cavendish in Turpin, the Musical, in Wanganui, and Rev. Shaw Moore in Footloose)

    - in the avant garde blues band, The Anteater’s Dream

Paul has also been involved in scores of plays in the city;

he paints vibrant watercolours (check out,

designs loudspeakers, designs and makes leadlights;  in his spare time he lectures and undertakes research in Computer Science at Massey University. He does not play rugby





    The Palmerston North Choral Society

        directed by Alison Stewart

           Weber - Jubilation Mass

                     Haydn - Mass In Time Of War

Soprano - Natalie Stent    Contralto - Rebecca Murphy Tenor - Richard Taylor     Bass - Craig Beardsworth Organ - Roy Tankersley

Adult $20, concession $17, student $10, child (under 10) free

Saturday 12 May 2007, 7:30 pm

All Saints Church, 348 Church Street, Palmerston North

For three appraisals of this performance see Reviews



Saturday 18 August, 4.00 pm, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

Antonin DVORÁK : Mass in D Major (1892)

Felix MENDELSSOHN : Hymn of Praise (1840)

Jennifer Little, Pauline Rowe, Laurence Walls, David Morriss

Director : Alison Stewart  Pianist : Guy Donaldson

For an appraisal of this concert see REVIEWS

                    Adult $20.  Concession $17.  Students $10.  Under 10yr free




Saturday 8 December 2007, 7.30 pm,

Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

Broadway Avenue

Johann Sebastian BACH

Christmas Oratorio 1-4 (1734)

Rebecca Murphy, Richard Taylor, Richard Harris

Guy Donaldson, Jonathan Berkahn

Alison Stewart

                        Adult $20.  Concession $17.  Students $10.  Under 10 years free


The Stained glass windows represent the Nativity of Christ and are from the Day Chapel of the Cathedral (right hand side as you face the marble McManus Memorial Altar). They were crafted in Ireland at the Dublin studio of Harry Clarke, and are reproduced by permission of the Cathedral.

The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, written in 1733 and 1734 when Bach was in Leipzig, was first performed in its entirety in the Christmas season of 1734-1735. The Christmas Oratorio is unusual for this genre. It is not a single large work, like Bach's other oratorios, but instead is really six cantatas which were performed at six different times between Christmas Day and the feast of Epiphany (traditionally, January 6). Each separate cantata uses different performing groups, emphasizing the idea that this is not one large work. Although parts of the libretto are poetic, much of it is taken from the German translation of the Bible. Bach used portions of the Nativity story from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew in retelling the story.

In this performance Rebecca Murphy will sing the soprano and contralto parts, superbly.

Alison Stewart   Musical Director


Rebecca Murphy   Mezzo Soprano

Rebecca Murphy hails from Dunedin, where she began her musical career by joining her first choir at the age of eight.  On completion of her Bachelor of Music at Otago University, she moved to Wellington to begin studies with Flora Edwards at the Wellington Conservatorium of Music.  Rebecca has undertaken solo work with the City of Dunedin Choir, with St Paul’s Cathedral Choirs in both Dunedin and Wellington, and with the Tudor Consort (of which she is a member).  Most recently, she has sung the alto part in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, performed the roles of Phoebe in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard and Polly in Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood, and as soprano soloist in Purcell’s Funeral Sentences.  See also PEOPLE

Richard Taylor   Tenor

Richard began singing at the age of five as a member of Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir. Since that time, he has sung with a number of choirs around the city. In 1999 he began singing lessons with Geoffrey Coker, and auditioned successfully for TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir, of which he was a member for 3 ½ years. He also sang with TOWER Voices New Zealand in their recording of the music of Hummel with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He has an ATCL in Recital Voice, and has had a number of solo roles, including the tenor arias and duets in the Bach Magnificat with Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir, and Bach’s cantata Ein Feste Burg with Victoria Voices. An active and passionate choral musician, Richard is still a member of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir, and was Acting Director of Music for nine months in 2005. In addition he currently sings with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir and highly acclaimed vocal ensemble Tudor Consort

Richard Harris   Bass

Richard was born in Napier and began his musical training as a boy in St. John’s Cathedral Choir, under the guiding influence of Vincent James. He is still a member and soloist in that choir. After exploring a variety of theatre styles Gary Bowler was the catalyst that set him onto a path of study with Phillipa Reade and then his present mentor, Judith Howlett. A familiar face to Hawke’s Bay audiences he has performed for a number of musical societies in the North Island. Performances in recent years include Carmina Burana, Faure’s Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Vaughan Williams’ “Five Mystical Songs”, Stainer’s Crucifixion, Finzi’s Shakespeare Songs, Gilbert & Sullivan highlights, Somervell’s “Shropshire Lad”, the role of Colline in Opera Hawke’s Bay production of La Boheme and “Years of Love” during Deco Decanted in Napier. He is active in the community, having recently retired as a trustee of the NZ National Singing School and is a Justice of the Peace. Richard is delighted to be performing with the Palmerston North Choral Society for the first time.

Jonathan Berkahn   Organist

It was while Jonathan Berkahn was a student at Freyberg High School that he conceived the desire to become a musician. Alison Stewart was his first organ teacher; he was assistant organist under her at All Saints during his sixth and seventh form years. His plan was to become a composer, but he picked up the knack of accompanying, more or less by accident, while exploring music at the keyboard. Jonathan studied at Victoria University in Wellington where he acquired a B Mus in composition, a B Mus (Hons) in performance (organ, harpsichord, and fortepiano), and an M Mus in music history. His teacher at Victoria was Douglas Mews. He is now working on a PhD in music history. He is currently a full-time student, part-time parent, part-time freelance musician, and director of music at St Barnabas' Anglican Church, Khandallah. On Monday nights he sings and plays accordion at the Molly Malone's Irish session. He has accompanied the Manawatu Choral Society in several concerts, most recently with Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.



Musical Director: Alison Stewart

Orchestra: Manawatu Sinfonia.  Guest Choristers: Huntley School Choir

Soloists: Pepe Becker (soprano), Ellen Barrett (contralto),

John Beaglehole (tenor), Roger Wilson (bass).      

Continuo: Roy Tankersley (harpsichord)  Sasha Routh (cello). 

Regent on Broadway.    Saturday 9 December 2006

It is with much pleasure that the Palmerston North Choral Society presents a musical work of unparalleled genius. By the age of eleven Handel (1685 – 1759) had composed six sonatas, and also by that time could play the harpsichord, oboe, organ and violin. During his early years Handel composed many operas until, at the age of 53, he began composing oratorios. Handel’s most famous oratorio and probably the most famous oratorio ever composed was Messiah, which was written in less that a month.

For three appraisals of this performance see Reviews.



Jan Jakub RYBA (1765-1815) Bohemian Christmas Mass
                                        "Humbly kneeling let us vow, God's own child to honour now"
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Historia von der Geburt Jesu Christi
                "Hear the birth of the Son of God, as for us the Evangelists in the holy Gospels  have told it"
John RUTTER (1945 -) Brother Heinrich’s Christmas
A fable with music (for narrator, choir, and donkey)

Roberton, MacMillan, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Folk Songs