While Personal membership of the New Zealand Choral Federation offers some tangible benefits in terms of discounts and priority entry to NZCF events, most of our Personal members see it as a way of supporting our many activities and helping NZCF promote the benefits of group singing to all New Zealanders. We asked some of them to tell us why they subscribe to Personal or ACD membership…
Heather & Richard Armishaw
We have been Personal members of NZCF since its inception in 1985. A large number of Personal members, not just choirs, gives the organisation a greater presence in the arts world and more clout in seeking funding. Belonging to NZCF gives a sense of community – being part of something bigger than just your own choir. Choral singing is central to our lives and that of our family – in fact we met in Auckland Choral. Our active involvement in the running of NZCF events (The Big Sing, May Workshop, Choral Connect and Wellington Region Committee) is a way of giving back to an organisation that supports and encourages choirs nationwide. We know our small subscription is put to great use.
As an active choral singer for nearly 50 years and a choral conductor for nearly as long, it has always felt essential to be connected to the wider choral community in NZ. Having been involved with The Big Sing as a conductor and adjudicator (both choirs and the composition section) I know first-hand the value that NZCF brings to our choral landscape. And as a composer of choral music, I value the support NZCF gives to NZ composers – especially in ensuring every school choir in The Big Sing experiences at least one piece of locally composed music each year. I was at the launch of NZCF and continue to see my membership as a “must have” in my life.
Attending the last four Choral Connect conferences and regional workshops led by international and New Zealand clinicians has enabled me to gain relevant professional development for my work as an itinerant voice teacher and choral conductor, and to challenge myself with improving my gesture, rehearsal and listening skills. But what I value most about being an ACD member is the supportive, problem-solving attitude of the other members and their willingness to share their knowledge and expertise. This generosity is highlighted in the ACD Facebook group and the Zoom sessions that were held during lockdown. These sessions lifted spirits, as directors from North Cape to the Bluff shared advice on helping choir members connect and continue to practice at home.
The New Zealand Choral Federation and the Association of Choral Directors have been a big part of my professional development, as a participant at NZCF events, a Big Sing adjudicator and an ACD advisor. The experience I gained through adjudicating and delivering workshops for NZCF has contributed to the skills I am able to offer in my current position as Assistant Professor of Music at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Being based in the US, it is important to me to continue my NZCF membership so that I can stay connected to the New Zealand Choral scene, my friends and colleagues.