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Members of the Nelson Civic Choir with Sir Karl Jenkins, centre front, while in New York.

Standing ovation for combined choir in New York


Nelson Civic Choir members who sang in a mass choir at Carnegie Hall in New York on January 15, have returned home with accolades.

The 27 strong group were part of a combined international choir of over 200 who received a standing ovation for singing the premiere of Cantata Memoria: For the Children of Aberfan. The work, by Walsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the disaster in Wales in which a dislodged mountain of mine waste buried a school killing 116 children and 28 adults.

It took a year to fundraise and organise the trip along with two months of intense rehearsals before heading to New York. Once at Carnegie Hall, the choir sang to an audience of over 2,500 people. While away the choir regularly posted about their experience on their facebook page.

"It was a huge achievement for us to learn the piece and to hold our heads up (literally) with the other choirs," choir member Anne Briggs said. "The sounds and images of being in Carnegie Hall will stay with us for ever."

"Simply, a surreal experience and hard work," Charlotte Reith said. "We sang our hearts out to a packed many tiered house and culminating in a humbling and emotionally intense standing ovation. A sincere thank you to all those who supported our journey".

It was also a proud moment for Chris Lukes, Nelson Civic Choir musical director.

"I am unbelievably proud of the choir members' performances," Lukes said. "They have truly represented the Nelson Civic Choir at the highest standard".

The choir returns to Nelson with a new challenge ahead of them. In co-operation with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), and with choirs from elsewhere in the country, they will perform the premiere of Jenkin's work in Nelson in October. The concert will be directed by Jonathan Griffith, artistic director of DCINY, who conducted the New York premiere.

"We are thrilled to have Maestro Griffith come to Nelson to conduct this amazing work", president of the Nelson Civic Choir Wim Oosterhoff said.

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Phone:  021 061 2568

Noel Stephens (Acting Chairperson)

Lindsay Vaughan (Treasurer)

Karen Gibson (Acting Secretary)

Patti Martin (Committee member)

Akasha Doel (Youth Representative)