About Us

Hamilton Civic Choir has delighted national and international audiences with concerts of great choral music performed at the highest musical standards since 1946.

Characterised by a heartfelt belief in the value of Hamilton Civic Choir’s mission and vision, and supported by devoted singers and audiences, talented artistic staff and dedicated Committee members, the group’s passion for sharing the thrill of live choral music has remained steadfast throughout its long, proud history. And indeed, this Choir enjoys a reputation as one of New Zealand’s finest.

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.”

We are committed to connecting singers, audiences, and the community through experiences with diverse choral music. And, under the artistic leadership of Timothy Carpenter, the organisation produces a series of concerts each year in the wider Waikato area with concert performances also in Auckland.

Being a fully auditioned choir with approximately 50 singers, 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.

Hamilton Civic Choir has been chosen several times to sing major choral works with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. We also sang in Carnegie Hall in 2018, as part of DCINY’s Dreamweaver concert. This year we look forward to a tour in Melbourne, which will finish with a collaborative concert with Melbourne’s CHIME Choir to commemorate ANZAC Day.

If you are interested in helping us along our journey, please see our sponsorship options.

Timothy Carpenter – Musical Director

Music Director

Timothy has studied conducting with Dr Karen Grylls, Prof Uwe Grodd, Rupert D’Cruze, Christopher Seaman, Tecwyn Evans and has recently gained his Masters of Music in conducting with first class honours from the University of Auckland. He holds a 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 has attended conducting master classes overseas and worked with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In the past he has conducted the Auckland Youth Orchestra, OPUS Chamber Orchestra, the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra and directed the orchestras at St Kentigern Collegiate. Currently, Timothy is Director of Music at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton, is Musical Director of Hamilton Civic Choir, the conductor of Youth Orchestra Waikato and works as Musical Director for Hamilton Operatic Society. He also works as a freelance accompanist, vocal coach, organist and is guest conductor with the Manukau Symphony Orchestra, St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, the Devonport Chamber Orchestra, Bach Musica NZ and Opera Otago.

Click here to visit Timothy’s website.

Francis Cowan: Assistant Musical Director

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 has 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 has grown to 38 students and has toured Hawaii and performed in public to high acclaim.

Francis continues to teach at St Paul’s Collegiate School part time as Director of Vocal Performance. This includes musical direction of the St Paul’s Collegiate Choir and the annual musical production. He also retains 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.


Hamilton Civic Choir is pleased to have Dean Williams as patron.