About Us

Since beginning in 1946, the Hamilton Civic Choir has enjoyed a reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest Choirs.

Being a fully auditioned choir, we are able to perform works outside the scope of many community-based choirs. In addition to the large choral works of the great composers, usually performed with organ or orchestral accompaniment and the best national and international soloists, the choir’s repertoire includes chamber music and other shorter and more modern works.

Currently we comprise about 40 singers, some of whom travel from other Waikato towns to sing with us. The choir has a wide and varied repertoire, presenting masterpieces of western musical culture under the direction of both local and international conductors.

Our high standing in the music scene in this country is shown by the fact that we have been chosen several times to sing major choral works with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Our mission is: “To continue to be Hamilton’s premiere classical choir, regularly presenting the world’s greatest choral music, at the highest possible standard, to the people of the Waikato and beyond for the mutual enjoyment and enrichment of choir and audience.”

PROFILES:

Timothy Carpenter – Musical Director

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Timothy has studied cello, organ and conducting. He has just recently gained his Master of Music with first class honours from the University of Auckland under Prof Uwe Grodd, Dr. Karen Grylls and Dr. Gregory Camp. Before this he gained the Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music in Cello with Distinction, a Bachelor of Music from the University of Waikato and an Honours degree in performance organ from the University of Auckland. He has been a member of the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra, the New Zealand Youth Choir and is currently a member of Voices New Zealand.

Timothy is emerging as one of New Zealand’s most active and promising young conductors. As well as his studies at University, he has attended conducting master classes in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. He has conducted the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Timothy is Director of Vocal and Choral Music at St Paul’s Collegiate Hamilton, Musical Director of Hamilton Civic Choir, Associate Conductor of OPUS Chamber Orchestra, and is a guest conductor with St Matthews Chamber Orchestra, the  Devonport Chamber Orchestra and Bach Musica NZ. In December he made his opera début as the Musical director for Opera Otago’s production A Christmas Caro by Philip Norman. This year he is the Musical Director for Mary Poppins in Hamilton.

 

Timothy hopes to further his studies overseas and pursue a career in conducting.

Francis Cowan – Accompanist

University of Waikato Portrait

Francis Cowan studied piano with Ruby Campbell and then Judith Clark at Victoria University. Following completion of his degree in Piano Performance he trained at Wellington Teachers College where he continued to focus on music including training a demonstration choir of pupils from Karori Normal School. He also studied singing with Rosemary Quinn and taught piano privately.

Francis was appointed Director of Music at St Mark’s Church School in 1989. At St Mark’s he focused on developing the music programme into a fun and positive outlet for creativity in the academic tradition of the school’s curriculum. The Festival Choir grew to over one hundred pupils while the Choral Scholars continued to provide music for the Sunday services at St Mark’s Parish Church. While in Wellington Francis gained experience as accompanist for the Russian Ballet School, and for singers and instrumentalists.

He accompanied local choirs in such works as Britten’s St Nicolas Cantata, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and the Berlioz Requiem. Francis was also on the committee of the Royal School of Church Music and tutored at the Annual May Residential Choir School. He founded the Capital Boy’s Choir. In 1993 they toured New South Wales gaining a standing ovation from an audience of over 1500 at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

In 1994 Francis moved to Hamilton inspired by the respected tradition of music at Southwell School. At Southwell he trained the Boys’ Choir to international standards and devoted himself to achieving the highest possible level in all aspects of the annual Opera. This included designing and painting the sets and overseeing the artistic direction. Francis was invited to become the accompanist for the Hamilton Civic Choir in 1994 and has accompanied for competitions, exams and recitals on a regular basis. Highlights have included accompanying Dame Malvina Major, Tenors Richard Greagor, David Hamilton and Ben Makisi, Opera Waikato’s Carmen (piano duo with Claire Caldwell) and coaching singers at the New Zealand Opera School in Wanganui.

In 2009 Francis was appointed Director of Music at St Paul’s Collegiate School expanding his teaching experience into senior Cambridge and NCEA classes. At St Paul’s Francis promoted the standard of the Annual Musical and conducted outstanding seasons of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Damn Yankees and Les Miserables. The choir grew to 38 students, toured Hawaii and performed in public to high acclaim.

In 2013-14 Francis continued to teach at St Paul’s Collegiate School part time as Director of Vocal Performance. This included musical direction of the St Paul’s Collegiate Choir and the annual musical production. He also retained the position of assistant Conductor of the Hamilton Civic Choir along with a busy schedule of piano accompaniment for the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music.

Recently Francis has been appointed full time Piano Accompanist for the University and will take up this role from Easter 2015.

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