Wed, Dec 13, 2023 11:30 AM

Blenheim choir shares Christmas tradition


Paula Hulburt

A Christmas singing tradition dating back six decades is set to take to the stage once again.

Blenheim Choral has been sharing Christmas  joy every festive season

And this year talented songbirds have turned to Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria to entertain the audience alongside more traditional carols.

For Rien Wagenvoort, a choir member for 50 years, being part of the choir is a Christmas is a joy.

He says a real highlight was when Blenheim Choral joined forces with choirs from Nelson and Golden Bay to sing the full score of the Messiah with around 100 singers.

Fellow chorist Margaret Hastings has been a member for 45 years and says she always looks forward to the festive season.

“I just love singing and have kept coming back over the years as I got involved more.

“Basically, I just love singing and am looking forward to the concert, it will be special.”

Blenheim Choral singers Gemma Amsler, Margaret Hastings and Rien Wagenvoort outside Nativity Church where their Christmas concert takes place on Saturday. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Gemma, a relative newbie with three years under her belt says the team work well together.

“I joined as I love singing and singing with others is more fun.”

Both Margaret and Rien have sung under many conductors through the decades.

Under the current musical director and opera singer Robert Tucker, the choir has taken on increasingly ambitious works.

This year’s Christmas concert, Blenheim local, Rosie McAllister, who is studying at Otago University, will be the soloist for Gloria.

Music from the Messiah will include the Hallelujah chorus and For Unto us a Child is Born, and carols will include many favourites and an arrangement of The Lord is My Shepherd, instantly familiar as the theme music from the Vicar Of Dibley television series.

Gemma Amsler, Margaret Hastings and Rien Wagenvoort from Blenheim Choral at Nativity Church ahead of Saturday's concert. Photo: Paula Hulburt

Carols by Candlelight will be held at Nativity Church at 7.30 pm on Saturday 16 December.

Door sales are $20 and $5 for children.

The concert will be held at Nativity Church at 7.30 pm on Saturday 16 December.


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