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The Mid Canterbury Choir 

Mid Canterbury Choir Christmas Concerts

Friday 11th December at St Stephens Church Ashburton 12 noon and 5pm

Sunday 13th December at St Andrews Church, 10 Cox Street, Geraldine 2pm

Admission $5 at the door plus a gift of food for the foodbank

Musical Director Kath Woodley

Accompanist Deborah Sloper


The Mid Canterbury Choir (with it’s 12 newest members) is looking forward to presenting its annual Christmas Concerts (three in total this year) at St Stephens Church, Park Street, Ashburton on Friday 11th December at lunchtime and teatime , then in Geraldine on Sunday 13th December in St Andrews Church, 10 Cox Street, at 2pm.  You may recall last year’s scheduled concert in Geraldine was cancelled due to bridge washouts from flooding.

Our guest is well known violinist, Ruth Hall.

Entry is just $5 (tickets available on the day at the door) and a gift of food for the Foodbank.  While food with a Christmas theme would be great, I know anything at all would be appreciated.   




The Mid Canterbury Choir was formed to wow the people of Mid Canterbury with some wonderful music!  The choir met for the first time in November 2002 for a day workshop of choral music.  The choir meets for weekly rehearsals and has developed a considerable repertoire in a wide range of music.

Aims (taken from our Charitable Trust document)

1 To promote and foster the formation of an amateur choir in Ashburton
2 To promote and encourage choral singing for the benefit of the public in Mid Canterbury and elsewhere.
 see performance list to date below
3 To promote, organise and conduct public concerts of choral music in Ashburton and elsewhere.
 we also want to foster the return of successful local musicians to perform with us – we are planning this as part of our first Christmas concert
4 To promote and encourage education in all matters relating to choral singing and choral music generally.
 several choir members teach music both in local schools and privately.  They have commented how their choir training has enhanced their teaching techniques and they have notices improvement in their own students
  •  generally.


Choir Leadership

Choir Leadership
Anthony Ferner is leading the choir from June 2015.  Lois Johnston was our interim director for the first part of 2015.   Sylvia Watson was the inaugural Musical Director of the Mid Canterbury Choir - she retired from her position with the choir in December 2014.  The Accompanists are Deborah Sloper and Kathy McKimmie (relief).  Lynne Judkins is Choir Leader, assisting the Musical Director when required.  Carol Gunn is the choir manager, taking responsibility for the day-to-day running of the choir. In 2009, Sylvia Watson took a year of leave and we welcomed John Pattinson (February to May) and Carolie Andrew (May to December) as Acting Musical Directors.  Joan Wilkinson was the inaugural accompanist of the Mid Canterbury Choir.

Practice Venue

The Bradford Room at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre, Mondays 7.15-9.15pm.  Dress rehearsals at the various venues prior to a performance.    

Musical Style

The Choir’s repertoire is drawn from music of the 15th Century to present day, both a cappella and accompanied, sacred and secular, from classic to popular.


Current membership sits at 60 –a good cross section of Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses from the wider Mid Canterbury area  - Methven, Geraldine, Rakaia, Leeston and of course, Ashburton.  
From time to time, a small semi-chorus is drawn from the choir - those with more musical experience and expertise.  Choir members are also given the opportunity to perform solo parts.  Most performances are without music, with many pieces performed unaccompanied.

Incorporated Society/Charitable Trust

Our Solicitor, Alister Argyle, has undertaken the required documentation to make us an Incorporated Society, and a Charitable Trust.

Admission to the Choir

New members will be contacted at one of two times per year (early in the year and mid-year) and offered an audition to join the choir.

Funding Support

Choir members pay an annual subscription (currently $80).  Our main sponsor is Argyle Welsh Finnigan.

Performance Record

(77 performances)


Friday 14 December – Christmas Concerts Ashburton – St Stephens Church

Sunday 11th December – Messiah in St Stephens Church with Martin Setchell (Musical Director), Douglas Mews (Organist), Ingrid Fomison-Nurse (Soprano), Claire Barton (Mezzo Soprano), Ben Madden (Tenor), Malcolm Leitch (Bass)

Sunday 1 July – Tribute to War Heroes Sinclair Centre

Saturday 24th April – Relay for Life

Friday 6th April – “Ride That Train” with Paul Ubana Jones Ashburton Trust Event Centre


Friday 1 December Christmas Concerts in St Stephens Church

Sunday 3 December Christmas Concert in Geraldine St Mary’s Church

Saturday 12th August – Hosted by Ashburton Musical Club, a joint concert with Serendipity – a choir from Australia – Sinclair Centre

Sunday 14th May – The Heavens Declare! (including Coronation Mass) St Stephens Church Ashburton


Friday 16 December Christmas Concerts St Stephens Church

Sunday 6 November Messiah St Stephen’s Church with organist Martin Setchell, Soprano Lois Johnston, Mezzo Soprano Claire Barton, Tenor Ben Madden, Bass Robert Tucker.

Friday 2 September Lunchtime concert St Andrews Church

Sunday 29 May “In the Mood” Concert at Sinclair Centre



Sunday 13th December - Christmas Concerts Ashburton – St Andrews Church
5th September – World of Music – St Andrews Church with guest Chamber Group
10 May – The Big Band Theory – Music from the war years Soloist Courtney Carter, Big Band (MSA and Silver Bands combined) – Sinclair Centre
29 March – Relay for Life Closing Ceremony 


  • 19 December – Christmas Concerts lunchtime and teatime at St Andrews Church
  • 8 November – Messiah – St Andrews
  • 16 August – Gypsy Baron with guest soloists – Ashburton Trust Event Centre
  • 11 April – Our Song Our World with guest string quartet


  • Friday 20th December - Christmas Concerts Ashburton – St Andrews Church
  • Sunday 15th December – Christmas Concert Geraldine Pavilion
  • Saturday 21st September –Opera Favourites - Ashburton Trust Event Centre
  • Saturday 22nd June –10 years of Song – Ashburton Trust Event Centre



• 14th December 2012 - Christmas Concerts at Lunchtime and teatime – St Andrews Church
• 17th November 2012 - “Messiah” St Andrews Church
• 1st September 2012 - “Stage and Screen” Ashburton Trust Event Centre
• 5th May - “From Madrigal to Morepork” St Andrews Church


• 16 December– Christmas Concerts at Lunchtime and teatime – St Andrews Church
• 13 August– Concert with NZ Male Choir – Ashburton Trust Event Centre
• 14th May 2011 – Charity Concert for Earthquake Appeal (St Vincent de Paul) In Remembrance:  Hope and with Fr Chris Skinner – St Stephen’s Church

• 17 December - Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• 17 October– Glory and Praise concert with Hagley Singers at St Stephen’s Church
• 15-22 May– Salute to Broadway – Variety Theatre 50th Jubilee Production

• 20 December– Christmas Concert at St Mary’s in Geraldine
• 18 December - Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• 29 August– Charity Concert for Cancer Society Daffodil Week with Guests Dame Malvina Major and Anna Argyle
• 25 April– St Stephens on Saturday Organ Concert – guests Graham Hollobon, David Sadler, Elizabeth Emeleus, Howard Harvey, and members of the Jubilate Singers

• 19 December - Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• 23 November – Tribute Concert to Joan Wilkinson – Sinclair Centre
• 18 October– Showtime! – Ashburton Trust Event Centre
• 30 May– Grand Piano Concert with Guest Artist Richard Mapp – Ashburton Trust Event Centre

• 16 December– Christmas Concert at Geraldine – St Mary’s Church
• 14 December– Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• 15 September– Gilbert and Sullivan with excerpts from The Gondoliers, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore
• 20 May– St Stephens on Sunday Concert Series – with guests Timaru District Choir

• 15 December– Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• 2 September– our first CD of music was recorded in the Ashburton College Auditorium
• 8 April– Easter Programme, including excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah”

• 18 December– Late afternoon Christmas Concert at St Mary’s Church Geraldine
• 16 December– Lunchtime and teatime Christmas Concerts at Baring Square Church
• 26 November– Santa Parade Float
• 25 November– Bracket of songs for Christmas Lights on Chessboard in Ashburton
• 13 October - Die Fledermaus at the Regent Theatre
• 18 June - Winter Concert held in Sinclair Centre – guest artists were Ashburton College Phoenix Chorus and Lungs Choir
• 21 May - Two brackets of numbers with the National Male Choir of NZ touring in Ashburton before leaving for their tour to Wales

• 10 December - Christmas Concerts at lunchtime and teatime – Baring Square Church
• November– Christmas parade Float
• 19 and 20 November - Amahl and the Night Visitors featuring Judi Bellingham as Mother and Tainui Koru as the young boy – St Andrews Church, Havelock Street, Ashburton at 8.30pm
• 4 September - Public Concert featuring Schubert’s Mass in G Major, other mixed repertoire and a guest artist – at the Sinclair Centre, Park Street Ashburton at 8pm.

• December - Christmas Lunchtime concert in–a concert of Christmas music for the community to celebrate this important festival,   Guest Artists (all ex Ashburtonians) are Kyle Proffit on Violin, Nicola West on flute and Sarah Cresswell Vocal Soloist.
• September - Ashburton Musical Club hosted our first full public concert - a wide repertoire of music, using soloists and two semi-chorus groups.
• August - Civic Music Council Concert
• May - St Andrews Extravaganza in St Andrews Church
• March - Praise Be Television Programme was recorded in Ashburton– eight of the ten hymns were sung by a large congregation – the Mid Canterbury Choir sang two hymns – quite a “coup” for our first appearance!
Now registered with the Choral Federation, we believe touring choirs will include Ashburton in their itinerary, as they often require a district choir to support their programme.


Purchase of Kawai Grand Piano for Ashburton Performing Arts Centre

In August 2006 a fundraising committee took on the task of raising $27,800 to purchase the grand piano for the new Ashburton Trust Event Centre.  This took the form of selling and tendering keys, these being recorded on a “giant” keyboard.  We reached our target and now enjoy using the Grand Piano in the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.




Choir Manager, Carol Gunn

Phone 03 3087225 : Cell 027 287 2468
Plains Power
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