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Wellbeing with the Wairarapa Singers

The Wairarapa Singers are long-standing members of the NZCF. They have always had a strong sense of community and that has become even more evident during the pandemic. The choir committee has come up with a range of inspiring ways for members to support each other, including a “weekly link”, lunch club, and pastoral care sub-committee. Their joint president Graeme Burnard, tells more…

The Wairarapa Singers, based in Masterton, is an un-auditioned choir with a membership that fluctuates between 60 and 85, depending on what we are singing. Formed 27 years ago, with a number of founding members still involved, the choir has grown from strength to strength over the years. We have performed with the NZ Male Choir and have travelled to the Hutt Valley and to Blenheim for concerts with local choirs in those areas. We are currently under the direction of Andrew Atkins. 

The choir has joint presidents (the Co-Pilots), Graeme Burnard and Jenny Balfour and paramount to them is the wellbeing and community spirit of the choir. 

When COVID-19 arrived last year and the country went into lockdown, we were determined that our choir members would not feel isolated or abandoned. A daily email message was set up and sent out every afternoon with some choir chat, news of members, and a musical or comedy video clip. This was called the “daily link,” and it was so well-received that once we were out of lockdown we continued sharing links, but on a weekly basis. The “weekly link” is sent out every weekend, often with clips from YouTube, Facebook, or other websites shared by choir members. We also send out a monthly newsletter following our committee meetings. 

One very important aspect of the committee was the formation of a Pastoral Care sub-committee who keep in touch with anyone who is unwell or has difficulties going on in their lives. Cards, emails, phone calls, food, and hospital visits are appreciated by our members when needed. 

And we recently started a lunch club. On the second Monday of each month we visit a local eatery for lunch. A different person chooses the venue each month, and it can be anywhere from Pahiatua to Lake Ferry. 

Because we have closed the choir down for 2021, these weekly emails, monthly newsletters, pastoral care duties, and monthly lunches have kept our choir connected with a sense of belonging and being appreciated and cared about.  Having an extraordinary committee helps!