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Workshops 2021

In May 2021, the NZCF Association of Choral Directors is running in-school choral workshops in Auckland, Hamilton and Invercargill. ACD mentors will work with the choirs in a 90-minute coaching session, helping them refine their chosen repertoire and sharing insights into what adjudicators look for in performance. In addition, following the choir session, the conductors will have a 30-minute one-on-one coaching/discussion session to answer any questions they may have.

Who can take part?
All schools in these regions entering The Big Sing 2021 can apply and acceptance is on a first-in-first-served basis. Up to four schools will be chosen from each region The only restrictions are:

  • only one choir per school may enter
  • conductors may only apply for one choir
  • choirs that took part in the 2018 or 2019 TBS Finales are not eligible for the 2021 programme.

When will the workshops take place?

Auckland workshops (Karen Grylls): Friday 21 and Friday 28 May 2021
Rotorua workshops (Rowan Johnston): Friday 28 May 2021
Invercargill workshops (Christine Argyle): Friday 7 May 2021

Who will run the workshops?

Karen Grylls
Auckland workshops 

Dr Karen Grylls ONZM is the Artistic Director of Choirs Aotearoa NZ, the managing body of the NZ Secondary Students’ Choir, NZ Youth Choir and Voices NZ. She is also Associate Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of Auckland and studied post-graduate Conducting and Music Theory at the University of Washington, Seattle. Karen is much in demand as an adjudicator for competitions worldwide and is regularly sought as a choral clinician internationally. Karen has conducted masterclasses and workshops in Wales, England, North America, Canada and Australia.


Rowan Johnston
Rotorua workshops

Rowan is currently the Musical Director/Conductor of Auckland Youth Choir. Rowan holds a masters degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Auckland. He is Director of Music at Holy Trinity Cathedral and Musical Director of Choralation the combined choir of Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls High Schools who have had an outstanding record of success at The Big Sing. He was the founder of the Taranaki Youth Choir. Rowan has also been a regular guest conductor at the Australian National Choral School and was a former vocal coach and accompanist for the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir. He has been an adjudicator at the Australian International Choral Festival and The Kids Sing. Rowan's choral singing experience includes Voices NZ and NZ National Youth Choir.


Christine Argyle
Invercargill workshops

Christine has been a member of numerous choirs and choruses, including the NZ National Youth Choir, London Symphony Chorus and the Auckland Opera Chorus, and has sung with the Voices NZ Chamber Choir since its formation in 1998. Christine has an LTCL diploma in singing and studied conducting at Auckland University with Karen Grylls. She has founded two choirs in Wellington - Nota Bene chamber choir and Wellington Young Voices children’s choir. In a past life, Christine was Head of Music at Tauranga Girls’ and Macleans Colleges. She is currently the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Choral Federation.

What to do next

Online registration will be open soon - watch this space!

The cost for the workshop is $150 for each choir and schools will be invoiced on acceptance.

This professional development opportunity is brought to you by the NZCF Association of Choral Directors and The Big Sing, with support from Tour Time and Creative New Zealand.

Please contact: Emma Billings (Events Manager) Email: emma.billings@nzcf.org.nz / Mobile 021 171 8501

“The timing of the workshop was perfect – with TBS a clear focus but still a few more weeks to make good sense of the help. It was also VERY helpful for it to be held onsite and in school time, which removes the need for extra paperwork and clashes with “out‐of‐school” activities.” (Fine Tuning participating choir director 2018)