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Sing New Zealand - The Story of Choral Music in Aotearoa

In the last major project before his death, NZCF’s former Chair Dr Guy Jansen set out to document the outstanding development of choral music in Aotearoa. That project has come to fruition in the posthumous publication of his book Sing New Zealand by Massey University Press.

Sing New Zealand is the first book to look at group singing in New Zealand, from the unison chants of early Māori settlers, to hymn-singing at the first service of missionary Samuel Marsden, through to the performances of today’s internationally-renowned choirs.

Guy recognised that New Zealanders love to sing together. Thousands of us sing in hundreds of choirs throughout the country, making it our most popular performing art. Most of us have sung in school choirs, or taken part in national competitions such as the Big Sing, and increasingly people are joining choirs as adults, recognising the benefits to wellbeing and the sheer pleasure of making music together.

But the story of choirs in New Zealand is not just one of enthusiastic participation, it is also about striving for excellence, and achieving it. National choirs such as Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, the New Zealand Youth Choir and New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir have won international awards, and many others tour overseas.

So what was needed for New Zealanders to succeed at this demanding and precise art form? The groundwork was laid with visits from international choirs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Recognition of the need for teaching singing in schools, overseas experience for New Zealand choirs and training for conductors all played a part. Guy Jansen was one of the key people involved in these developments, and in this well-illustrated and lively book he brings the story to life.



Sing New Zealand will be launched in two events on Monday 25 November in Wellington and Auckland, and you are invited!          To attend, simply RSVP to the email address below.


Wellington: Monday 25 November, 5.30pm. Queen Margaret College Atrium, 53 Hobson Street, Thorndon.

Sing New Zealand will be launched by Christine Argyle. Books will be available for sale and light refreshments will be served.

RSVP by 15 November to editorial@masseypress.ac.nz


Auckland: Monday 25 November, 6.30pm. Returned Services Club, 1 Francis Street, Grey Lynn

Sing New Zealand will be launched by Dr Karen Grylls ONZM. Books will be available for sale and the upstairs bar will be open. Please note that there is no wheelchair access to the upstairs venue.

RSVP by 15 November to editorial@masseypress.ac.nz