Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Values and Objectives of the Choir
The Choir is a registered charitable organization that provides choral-training opportunities for girls aged 9 to 18, who come from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds throughout the Greater Auckland area. Its values are centered on providing an inclusive and nurturing environment that inspires, challenges and develops both musical and life skills.
The Choir was founded by Mrs. Leonie Lawson MNZM in 1996 and was registered as a charitable organization in 1998. The founding principle and mission of the Choir was to provide the best possible choral training opportunities for girls aged 9 to 18 from the greater Auckland area who otherwise would not have had the opportunity.
The objectives of the Choir shaped by its founding principle are to:
- provide the finest possible musicianship, and choral opportunities for girls in the Auckland area;
- provide an environment where, in addition to musical skills, self-discipline, teamwork, leadership skills and a strong commitment to excellence are developed;
- regularly perform and present a wide range of quality choral repertoire in a multicultural context; and
- engage in performance activities that benefit the community.
The Choir has earned a reputation for high standards in performance and musical discipline. Its comprehensive training program focuses on both musicianship and holistic personal growth including an emphasis on leadership skills development. In this regard, the Auckland Girls’ Choir is unique in the extra-curricular Auckland music education sector.
Why is it Important to Understand the Values and Objectives of the Choir
The objectives and the founding principle upon which the Choir was initially established continue to guide both the governance and management of the Choir, and that is reflected in the Choir’s training approach and programs.
How does the Choir Function
The Choir is a non-profit registered charity. A Board of Management controls the affairs and management of The Choir. All the elected members of the Board are unpaid volunteers.
In order to deliver the best possible music training for the girls the Choir engages professional musicians who are paid an honorarium for their services.
The success of the Choir and of the choristers (girls) is also very dependent on the volunteer efforts of all the parents in helping out during camp, workshops, performances and training and other Choir events and functions.
What are the Fees and Costs for each Chorister Joining the Choir
Upon acceptance of the offer of admission the following fees apply for 2021:
- A one time registration fee of $100, payable upon acceptance of the offer of admission;
A refundable uniform bond of $150;
Annual fee of $700 to partially cover some of the Choir’s operating expenses; and
Residential Camp workshop fee of $240, payable upon acceptance of the offer of admission.
How are the Operations of the Choir Funded
Whilst the Choir levies a fee for girls joining the Choir, the fees do not cover all the costs associated with running the Choir. The Choir applies for and receives additional funding support from community grants, and donations and sponsorship from individuals and organizations.
Are Scholarships Available
The Choir has a limited number of scholarships available that are both need and merit based. The scholarships are aimed at broadening the reach and opportunities to enable talented girls to join the Choir in line with the Choir’s founding principle, values and objectives.
What Commitments are Needed from Parent(s) and Choristers
One of the objectives of the Choir is to “to provide an environment where, in addition to musical skills, self-discipline, teamwork, leadership skills and a strong commitment to excellence are developed”. In order to achieve this objective, the Choir expects choristers to be fully committed to all aspects of their training and performance.
The Board expects parents to support their daughter’s commitment to the Choir, as much of what the Choir seeks to achieve in its training does depend on parents’ cooperation and encouragement of their girl’s efforts.
Each chorister is expected to remain in the Choir for a minimum of the first full calendar year and to continue their membership in the Choir for as long as possible (up to the age of 18). This is so that each individual girl, and therefore the Choir as a whole, can incrementally develop in order to meet their full potential and achieve a high standard of excellence.
How Important is Parent Involvement and Volunteering
Parent involvement in the Choir includes supporting their daughter’s commitment to the Choir by volunteering time and effort to help out during camp, workshops, performances and training and other Choir events and functions. Parents taking on a volunteering role in the Choir also helps to reinforce a very important facet of the Choir, that of giving back to the community.
The parent volunteers are grouped into teams to ensure that the time and effort required is shared, and that every parent has the opportunity to contribute to the success of the Choir, and to help support the efforts and growth of their girls. Some parents opt to volunteer help during the entire Choir year, whilst some parents volunteer for specific events and activities depending on their own situation and circumstance.
How is the Choir Training Program Organized
The choir has a structured program of musical education with levels cards, which the girls have to work through. They are also given resource materials including a vocal training book and a sight-reading book from which to work. The techniques they learn in the weekly rehearsals are also constantly assessed.
How Often does the Choir Train and Practice
The Choir rehearses once a week from 3:45 - 6:00 pm on a Monday during school terms at St Aidan’s Church hall, corner of Remuera Road and Ascot Ave.
The Choir also conducts a 3-hour weekend workshop in each of the school terms, which is booked and advised well in advance.
In addition, there is a compulsory Weekend Camp Workshop held at the beginning of the Choir year.
Weekend Camp Workshop and Parent Workshop
From Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th January 2021 (2 nights), there is a compulsory weekend camp workshop. Bus transportation is provided to transport the girls from the city to the selected venue for the weekend. The weekend camp workshop includes tutorials, music workshop sessions and some recreational activities to allow the girls to get to know each other and develop team spirit.
A special workshop session will also be held for parents on the Sunday morning during the Weekend Camp Workshop and will cover the training objectives of the Choir, the choice of the music repertoire, volunteering opportunities and the parent role in the Choir, and the strategy and vision of the Choir. The workshop session will also allow parents to get to know other parents and to find out more on how they could potentially help support and encourage their girl’s efforts in the Choir.
The weekend ends with a combined lunch for all the parents and girls.
What Music Repertoire is Taught
Repertoire choices will always reflect a focus on healthy vocal production, development of choral technique, artistry, and performance skills. Material of various genres and styles, both sacred and secular in nature, will be taught. This includes Maori, Pasifika and other folk songs reflective of the multicultural make-up of the Auckland region, Art Songs, Musical theatre songs etc. Singing in other languages is expected. Choreography is also included if it adds to performance impact.
In addition to learning musical material, choristers will also be expected to have an awareness of the historical background, stylistic idioms, musical intention, compositional processes, and musical structures that shape any given piece of music.
All music learnt is presented via standard music notation score. Solfege/Solfa melody syllables will also be used as a learning tool.
When and Where does the Choir Perform
Every year the Choir performs at various community and civic events that are determined to be age and event appropriate in keeping with the objectives of the Choir.
In previous years, the Choir has performed at the Auckland Town Hall, the War Memorial Museum, Community Centers, Schools and Churches.
These civic and community events not only provide the opportunity to perform, but also highlight the importance of giving back to the community, healthy respect for community leaders, and valuing the contribution and vision of those gone before that have created Auckland into the city it is today.
A schedule of performance events will be available once confirmed. The Choir expects to have approximately 10 performances per year.
Will the Choir Organize an International Tour
An international tour is a major undertaking for the Choir and requires substantial resources, time and effort to plan and organize. For year 2021 the Board is not in a position to commit to such an undertaking, but will be supportive of a parent or parents willing to initiate and help plan and organize an international tour.
The undertaking of an international tour in future years will depend on the standard of music making present at the time, the suitability of any given international Choral Competition or event that the Choir has been invited to compete/perform in, and the support and interest of the parents in undertaking and facilitating such a tour.
How do Girls Join the Choir
Membership in the Auckland Girls’ Choir is via an audition where the girl’s vocal fluency, musicianship, and overall potential will be assessed.
Auditions will be held on 7th & 14th November 2020 for the 2021 year intake.
Auditions are open to girls from 9 to 18 years of age from the greater Auckland area. To find out more about auditioning to join the Choir please visit our website www.akgirlschoir.co.nz
Friends of the Auckland Girls’ Choir
Friends of the Choir shall be any interested persons who support the activities and objects of the Choir and who completes the membership form and pays the required membership fee currently set at $100 per year. Friends of the Choir shall become members of the Choir, and have full voting rights.
Parents of girls wishing to join and/or choristers in the Choir are not required nor obligated to become Friends of the Choir. It is not a requirement for admission or for continuation as a chorister in the Choir.