Wanganui Community Choir reaches milestone

By Anne-Marie McDonald -
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IN GOOD VOICE: Lynn Whiteside [left] and Anne Strong from the Wanganui Community Choir, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
IN GOOD VOICE: Lynn Whiteside [left] and Anne Strong from the Wanganui Community Choir, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Wanganui Community Choir is celebrating its 25th birthday with a special concert next month.

The concert will be held at Central Baptist Church on August 13 at 2pm, and will be followed by afternoon tea.

Patron and life-long member Anne Strong, who is a foundation member of the choir, said it was set up in July 1991 by Teiron Jones, a former Whanganui High School music teacher.

"He was from Wales and came to Whanganui from Zambia. He saw the need for a choir in Whanganui to which everyone could belong without having to audition.

"It was about singing for enjoyment, meeting others and learning about music - and it still is."

Mrs Strong said there were a number of founding members who were still active members of the choir. Mr Jones is a life-long choir member, but is no longer singing with the choir as he has moved away from Whanganui.

"He comes to as many concerts as he can; he's very supportive of us."

"Our numbers are usually quite good. We've been as low as 55 and up to around 90 - currently we have 80 members on our books."

The choir meets Monday at Riverside Church for rehearsals, and performs twice a year.

Musical director Lynn Whiteside has been with the choir for around seven years.

One of the highlights of being with the choir for her was staging a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.

"I have to admit I've influenced what we sing - we do sing a lot of musical theatre such songs from Chess, My Fair Lady and Les Miserables."

Ms Whiteside said despite that, the choir would be singing a wide range of music for its August concert including sacred music, popular music, musical theatre and gospel music.

Guests for the concert include the Youth Choir, Shannon Atkin, the Wanganui Ukelele Orchestra and Jeanli Boessenkool.

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