A warm and full musical experience

RSA Vocal Scholars’ Concert 2024
St Patrick’s Basilica
South Dunedin
Tuesday, June 11

A most enjoyable concert was held in St Patrick’s Basilica, South Dunedin on Tuesday evening when the Dunedin RSA Choir joined with the three young University of Otago music students it is supporting this year.

It was such a great venue, which was warm and full of musical vibes as the choir’s performance, conducted by Karen Knudsen, showed enthusiasm, camaraderie and a love of singing together.

Sandra Crawshaw accompanied and Kevin Tansley was an excellent compere.

The choir opened with the Welsh hymn Colan Lan and after that the programme centred on its three vocal scholars.

Every year since 2000, the choir has given monetary support and performance opportunities to local emerging singers and the three current scholars were in fine voice, revelling in the acoustics of the venue.

Baritone Kieran Kelly’s contribution included Die Mainacht (Brahms), a passionate lied expressing lost love, Bachiques by Chaminade, Vaughan Williams’ British art song In The Spring and a short aria by Donizetti. He then joined with the choir for Think on Me (Johnson).

Soprano Rosie Auchinvole sang next — how wonderfully that voice has developed since last year, with a strong top register and confident delivery throughout for an Italian aria, a French song and especially an impressive delivery of Paper Wings, by Jake Heggie. She joined the choir for the all-time Victorian favourite The Holy City.

Tenor Jesse Hanan’s contributions were La Serenata by Tosti, Hey There and Stars from Les Miserables. His song with the choir, Gilbert and Sullivan favourite With Cat-like Tread, was very entertaining.

Dressed as a menacing cutlass-wielding pirate, he pranced about singing strongly, avoiding several costumed choir members, accompanied by many fearsome "arghs", a stuffed parrot and a skull and cross-bone flag.

The Abba hit Thank You For the Music ended the entertainment.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman