Music at St Michael’s has been an important element in the worship since it began in 1852. It is one of the few fully functioning Parish choirs in the city of Christchurch. The principal choir is an SATB Choir of about 16 voices. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings 7:30pm – 9:30pm. With musical leadership at most 10:00am Sunday Masses and usually three 7:00pm Choral Evensongs a month, the very efficient and friendly choir covers a wide range of repertoire. The choir performs to a high standard.
Full time members sing at 10:00am Mass on Sundays, 7:00pm Festal Evensong 1st Sunday of the month and at major Festivals. They can choose to sing in the evenings as well.
Evensong Choir Usually sings 7:00pm 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month and is made up of full-time members rostered from the above and extras from the Deputy list.
Deputies A pool of singers who offer to sing on an occasional basis in their chosen voice part when a full-time member is absent. Entry to the St Michael’s Choir is usually through this channel. Some elect to sing only in the ‘Evensong Choir’.
St Michael’s Young Voices for all boys and girls of primary school age is held weekly on Wednesday afternoon from 3:10pm – 4:00pm, in school term time. Those interested should contact the Director of Music or pick up forms from St Michael’s School or Church. Initially, singers join the training group which meets at 3:10pm and finishes at 3:25pm. When they have achieved their ‘White Level’ they are promoted to the ‘Performance Group’ which rehearses from 3:30pm till 4:00pm. It is intended that they perform at least once per month. They also qualify for the ‘Voice for Life’ training programme which entitles them to badges and/or ribbons at five achievement levels. See below for more details and application form.
Chamber Choir Further applications are invited from experienced and competent singers wishing to join the Chamber Choir. This is a mixed group of experienced and able singers. It consists of Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses. Most are of under-graduate and post-graduate age. Some are past members of the National Youth and Secondary Schools Choirs. Entry is open to good readers of all ages. The group sings at an Evensong on the fifth Sunday of the month if there is one. Occasional concerts are envisaged to promote works not often performed in New Zealand or to promote first performances.
Organ tuition The Director of Music is happy to provide organ tuition and to encourage young people, especially those with piano experience, to take up the organ. There are many more potential opportunities for organ performance than for piano on a concert stage.
Contact Paul Ellis, Director of Music if you require information or wish to take part in our active music programme. Paul Ellis (03) 337 3370 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director of Music Paul Ellis began his musical career as a Chorister in the ChristChurch Cathedral Choir under Dr C Foster Browne. It was Foster Browne who offered to teach him to play the organ. As a pupil at Christ’s College he was Assistant Organist and Head of the Chapel Choir. He was awarded the Maling Memorial prize for outstanding service to the school. On leaving Christ’s he attended Christchurch Teachers’ College for Primary School training, embarked on studying Mus. B. and Dip. Mus. at Canterbury University and assisted with organ playing at several churches, including St Saviour’s Sydenham, where his father was Vicar.
He was appointed Organist and Choirmaster at St Mary’s, Merivale, where he served from 1967-1973. There was a vibrant music programme with four choral services each Sunday and four choirs. He was the winner of the first NZ Organists’ Association Competition for playing and improvisation in 1972. While in London he studied organ with Douglas Hawkridge and sang in the Bach Choir. On returning to New Zealand he acted as Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament 1978-1980, while Don Whelan was overseas. For thirteen years he was fully involved with the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival, conducting a massed choir of 600 children and the auditioned Senior Representative Choir of 90 voices. He directed the Music at St Barnabas, Fendalton 1981-1987. He was Director of Music at Christ’s College from 1988-2001. He was National President of the NZAO from 1987-1991.
He has directed many Choir Festivals and courses, including RSCM Summer and Winter Choir Schools, and served many locums as a Conductor and Organist, including three tenures at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin and two at ChristChurch Cathedral. Currently he is President of RSCM NZ, and was Assistant Director of Music at ChristChurch Cathedral 2002 – 2009. He has directed the Girls’ Chapel Choir at The Cathedral Grammar School since 2002. He was appointed Organist and Director of Music at St Michael and All Angels in July 2008. In April 2015, Paul was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music- their highest award.