How perfect it was to have hymns and excerpts from the glory of JS Bach ring throughout Whanganui Collegiate School's chapel.

To hear the voices of the 21 New Zealand Opera School students soaring in song from the choir stalls was a special gift of fine music for the packed chapel on Sunday.

Music director and conductor Travis Baker brought this marvellous service of music with aplomb and deep musical sensitivity.

Baker, a pianist and organist, is undoubtedly one of New Zealand's finest musicians and Whanganui is blessed to have him here at the Opera School.


When the full complement of the school sang from Magnificat "My Soul Proclaims the greatness of the Lord" their voices and the music soared with sureness and beauty.

Soprano Anna Simmons, with her bell-like expressive voice, sang "Quia respexit humilitatem" [Sp Cr] celebrating the glory of her surroundings… a beautiful chapel bathed in a diffused light streaming through the spectacular lead-light windows.

The hymn "Lord Divine, all loves excelling Blaewern" [Sp Cr] sung by all was stirring and heightened by an accompanying trumpet from the loft, played by Tahu Pikimaui of Brass Whanganui, marking the glory of this fine piece.

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Soft and serene was the duet "Et Miscericordia" sung by mezzo soprano Katie Trigg and tenor Harry Grigg. The blend of their voices was well matched and sensitive.

A gorgeous girl trio including sopranos Te Ohorere Williams, Felicity Tomkins and mezzo soprano Katie Trigg sang "Suscepit Israel" [right] with passion. The blend of their three voices was exactly right and very moving.

And "Gloria Patri' sung by the choir was majestic with all 21 voices carrying its musical glory.

Then the mighty flood of all voices was inspiring as the congregation joined to sing the majestic hymn "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" with passion ... a strong passion completing this service.


This was immediately followed by the New Zealand National Anthem, first in te reo then English which was a fitting and spectacular conclusion and absolutely in praise of music.