Choir collaborates with soloists for winter show

Royal Dunedin Male Choir committee members (from left) John Dennison, Ian Gray, Chris Featonby,...
Royal Dunedin Male Choir committee members (from left) John Dennison, Ian Gray, Chris Featonby, and Josh Taylor reflect the shared joy in singing among choir members of all ages and backgrounds,who will come together in concert this Sunday afternoon. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Music-lovers of all ages will come together to share in the joy of singing during the Royal Dunedin Male Choir’s winter concert this Sunday afternoon.

Conducted by John Buchanan, the concert will be held from 2pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, and will feature items by the male choir, as well as Cantus Columba (Columba College Choir), pianist Cameron Monteath, as well as accompanist Linda Folland, and City Organist David Burchell.

The concert will also include a segment in honour of former deputy accompanist Francis Brodie, who died recently.

After starting out singing in church and school choirs, Ian Gray joined the Royal Dunedin Male Choir in 2008 and "never looked back". He has been the choir’s secretary for the past six years.

"I really enjoy everything about it, from the weekly rehearsals to helping to keep things running in the choir," Gray said.

"Singing in the choir has involved some travel outside Dunedin and some great experiences — such as the 400th concert and celebration last year.

"For me, the best part is the enjoyment of singing and the camaraderie of the people you are with."

A member of the Royal Dunedin Male Choir for the past 18 months, experienced chorister and performer Chris Featonby has recently taken over as choir chairman, and is deputy conductor.

His singing career began as a chorister at Nelson Cathedral at the age of 11 years, and went on to be involved in multiple male voice choirs, including the New Zealand Male Choir. He also sang in the chorus of several shows with Dunedin’s Really Authentic Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and has been a barbershop singer for many years.

"For me, the highlight of being involved in male choirs has been around the people I have met and sung with, and some of the opportunities they have given me," Featonby said.

"Choirs bring together people from so many backgrounds to make music together — that is one of the great joys of singing."

"In the case of the New Zealand Male Choir, I have had some wonderful experiences, including singing at York Minster in the United Kingdom."

As chairman of the Royal Dunedin Male Choir, Featonby is keen to give something back and to encourage younger singers to take part.

With that in mind, he will lead a six-week programme for all interested Dunedin male singers, to be held on Mondays from June 17 to July 22, from 7.15pm at Caversham Baptist Church hall.

The purpose of the sessions will be to improve basic music reading skills for singers, enjoy singing in parts, and increase confidence.

For more information, or registrations, phone 022 466-7955. Singers may wish to also consider joining the Royal Dunedin Male Choir, for information email