The Waitakere City Ladies Choir was formed in 1954 by a small group of Country Women’s Institute (CWI) Ladies who loved singing.
In 2000, the Te Atatu CWI Choir changed its name to the Waitakere City Ladies Choir. Although there are now no links with the Te Atatu Women’s Institute, the Choir has widened its horizons and become more community based. Over the years we have always striven for excellence and are happy to perform when asked.
In the Choir’s early days, they were fortunate to have an inspired conductor, Fay Good, who led the choir with great enthusiasm for over 30 years, and assisted by a very accomplished accompanist, Marilyn Cameron. Marilyn has also assisted with the planning of concerts and choosing music for the choir and often using her own arrangements.
When Fay retired, Kieth Stubley became conductor and filled this role admirably from 1998 until the end of 2009. Kieth’s background was with the Salvation Army, singing for many years with The National Songsters and playing the trombone in the band. He has played with the North Shore Brass Band and now plays with The Trusts Waitakere Brass. The Choir was very sorry to lose his services.
In February 2010, the Choir welcomed Vanessa Felix as its new Musical Director. Vanessa has a BA degree and a teaching diploma and is studying for a Masters at Auckland University. She has taught music in primary and secondary schools in her native South Africa as well as in New Zealand. She is currently the specialist music teacher and Head of Performing Arts at Hobsonville Primary School. She plays the organ and the violin as well as singing, teaching and conducting. In her own words,
‘I am passionate about music, whether it be singing or playing instruments… Music inspires me, energises me, and basically has something to do with every emotion that I experience…Music has great elements of reciprocity which leads to the success of any choir.’
Due to work pressures Vanessa felt it was time to hand the choir over and resigned at the end of 2015.
In February 2016, the Choir was thrilled to welcome a new Musical Director, Sharon Kearney (ATCL, BMusic, Dip Tchg, Grad Diploma Arts Mgmt), who brings a wealth of expertise and experience to this role. Sharon grew up in Auckland and has sung with the University Singers, and continued to perform on piano and voice, conduct choirs and orchestras, MD musicals and write and arrange music for school and community groups for 12 years in the USA. Sharon now celebrates music through a wide range of genres, conducting choirs and orchestras and performing in Jazz, Swing, and Rock n Roll bands. She enjoys Classical, Musical Theatre, Jazz and Pop styles and brings a sense of enthusiasm and fun to the Choir.
Some of the highlights for the Choir have been:
- Combining with the Te Atatu Men’s Choir (now known as Waitakere Men’s Choir) under the baton of their late conductor, Evan Cameron, to present the Messiah, Trial by Jury, Wartime Cavalcade and many other successful concerts. (The Ladies choir still has occasion to join with the Men’s choir. The Men’s choir is now led by ?)
- Cutting their first records at Stebbing Studios.
- Being part of the Massed Choirs performing at the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990.
- Performing at the Opening of the Aotea Centre.
- Competing successfully throughout New Zealand in the National C.W.I. competitions, for the Revue and Dominion Cup Choral Competition, which the choir won on several occasions.
- Being part of the Massed Choirs at SkyCity Symphony Under the Stars.
- Travelling to Norfolk Island with the Te Atatu Men’s Choir to present a concert.
- Appearing as guest artists at the concert held by The British & Irish Lions Male Voice Choir at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell.
- Also in 2005 the choir produced its first CD with the help of the Waitakere Trust. The recording represents the variety of music which the choir presents.
- Appearing on TV One’s religious music programme Praise Be in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
- Joining with Waitakere Voices Choir and Kumeu Blend Choir as a massed choir at Massey Performance Centre in July 2013
- The Choir also participated in several fund raising concerts for Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes.
- The choir has also given many concerts to a number of Retirement Villages around Auckland.