‘Cloths of Heaven’ on new NZ Youth Choir CD

image001Deep River


A souvenir disc of the 2011 – 2013 New Zealand Youth Choir. order here

Featuring music from its final season and tour to the USA & Canada conducted by Music Director, David Squire.

Benjamin Britten A Hymn to the Virgin
Robert Schumann Talismane Op.141 No.4
arr. Michael Tippett Two Spirituals from A Child of Our Time
Steal Away & Deep River
arr. Terry Schlenker O Come, Emmanuel
Stephen Lange He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
George Shearin Lullabye of Birdland arr. Andrew Carter
Te Wehi Whanau Wairua Tapu Tau Mai Ra
Total duration: 25:41Programme info here

Eric Whitacre ‘Sleep’ Study Guide


If you are a busy music teacher looking for an inspiring and really interesting work to study with your class this year, here it is.

Sleep by London-based American composer, Eric Whitacre, is stunning and your students will love it!

Click here for more details

Here is a brief intro to the composer. Sleep is featured at 2:45

Click here for more details

Special Offer to ACD members during July 2012

The new Association of Choral Directors is having its Inaugural Convention, Choral Connect, from 11 to 15 July 2012 at Wellington College, Wellington.

Members can obtain a hard-copy of my choral music sample pack from Joe Christensen, who will be at the conference (thanks Joe!). The samples can also be downloaded using the links below.

The special offer: 15% discount on sheet music orders from ACD members during July 2012.

Flyer For Sample Pack

Red, Red Rose (2 Part) PREVIEW



Gloria Deo (SATB) PREVIEW 

The Cloths of Heaven (SATB) PREVIEW 

NZ Youth Choir perform ‘He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven’ at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House

NZYC Stage 10 Tony Speakman credit

Photo: NZ Youth Choir, David Squire conducting, Hawke’s Bay Opera House, April 2012 – photo: Tony Speakman


New Zealand Youth Choir hits new highs

Hawke’s Bay Today

Concert by the NZ Youth Choir
Directed by David Squire
HB Opera House, Hastings, Saturday, April 21
Reviewed by Peter Williams

There has been a changing of the guard in the choir with this, the first concert under its new music director, David Squire, who was appointed to follow former long-time director Karen Grylls.

Change of director certainly but no diminution of quality. Residents from Otago to Auckland, these 45 talented, auditioned young singers, aged from 18 to 25, meet for a just a couple of weeks a year, plus some regional rehearsals.

An astonishingly high standard of performance was always maintained; the dedication, discipline, concentration and pleasure gained from singing together was always in evidence.
The programme was uncompromising in its requirements to reach a satisfying performance. The ever-changing idiom of each item seemed to be assimilated with ease – from the opening complex contrapuntal motet Musica Musarum, sung from the opera house boxes and conducted from the gallery by assistant music director James Tibbles, to the very serious cycle Vier doppelchörige Gesänge by Schumann, and a highlight of the programme, the very moving rendition of the Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett.

There was a welcome emphasis on music by New Zealand composers in the second part of the programme – the spectacular setting of the Magnificat by former choir member Andrew Baldwin, Hawke’s Bay composer Stephen Lange’s very original sounding He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, Palmerston North composer Helen Caskie’s five light-hearted songs Ten Cent Mixture, the rollicking NZ folk song settings by Douglas Mews and David Hamilton’s exciting Didn’t it Rain – each with its own special character convincingly projected.
Diction throughout was almost always exemplary, maintenance of pitch in a whole programme sung a capella, embracing multiple parts, extended discords and obscure interval combinations, was hugely impressive – all a great credit to the singers and those who train them.

There was one inspiring guitar-accompanied item to end the concert – a Youth Choir signature tune, Wairua Tapu, beautifully sung, together with the elegant movement of sign language.

Items were enhanced by some fine solo passages from within the choir and by the excellent spoken introductions from James Tibbles and vocal consultant Morag Atchison. Acknowledgment was made of the sponsors who support the choir, which seems certain to maintain the brilliant success of previous Youth Choirs achieved over the past 30-plus years.

NZ Youth Choir rehearsing ‘Cloths of Heaven’

Here is some footage of the NZ Youth choir, Directed by David Squire, rehearsing He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday April 18th 2012. It was a pleasure to spend time working with the NZYC on this piece. I can’t think of a better way for this piece to begin life than in the capable hands of this amazing youth choir!

Wellington members of NZ Youth Choir give preview of “Cloths of Heaven”

The first public performance of “He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven” took place recently in Wellington (details here). The Wellington members (pictured) received an outstanding review by Rosemary Collier, entitled “Does a cappella singing get better than this?”.

Excerpt from review: “Stephen Lange’s ‘The cloths of heaven’, composed to words of John Keats, was a difficult piece, with many enchanting discords.”

Great to see some familiar faces in this group! (Hi Penny and Juliette!)