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Frequently Asked Questions
November 2016

1]  Who can apply to join the choir?

Answer:  Students who a) have had their 8th birthday before the 1st January 2017 and b) are no older than 14 as at the 1st January 2017.

2]  What will the choir be aiming to achieve?

Answer:  The choir will be a representative choir, performing in and outside the Manawatu region, as well as preparing students to further their vocal opportunities to a higher level, including qualification for the National Children’s Choir.

3]  When will the choir rehearse? 

Answer:  On Saturday afternoons, during term time (excluding long weekends) from 2:30pm - 4:00pm.  Rehearsals will be held at Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School.

4]  What sort of music will the choir be performing?

Answer:  There are a huge range of styles of music that the choir will be preparing for performance.  Examples include Folk songs (including other languages), jazz songs, classical songs, negro spirituals and contemporary songs, to name but a few.

5]  What commitments will be required?

Answer:  Saturday rehearsals are the key times for choir training.  The choir is in the process of confirming a collaboration with a Wellington Children’s choir and a Sunday workshop with a specialist conductor from Auckland, both set to occur in Term 1 2017.  There is the possibility of specialist workshops being held during the July school holidays.

A Code of Conduct will be required to be signed to confirm the student’s understanding of the contribution and commitment required as a choir member.

Students will be required to purchase a T-shirt for use at performances.  This is not include in the subscriptions.  It is expected to be less than $30 but that is yet to be confirmed.

6]  How much are the subscriptions?

Answer:  The subscriptions are $250 per student for the year.  If the subscription is paid before 18th February, or a commitment to establish a AP schedule is made before the 18th February, a $50 discount will be applied.  The subscriptions are used to fund personnel, music purchases and other operational costs of the choir.

7]  How does a student apply to become a choir member?

Answer:  An online application form will be available on the Saturday Music website from the 14th November.  Paper copies will also be available from the Saturday Music admin desk, from School teachers in charge of music, and upon request by email from Saturday Music.  Student’s applications must be accompanied by a referral from their Saturday Music tutor, or their school teacher in charge of music, confirming the student’s aptitude for music making and collaboration within a focused group towards realising performance goals.

Applications received without any referrals will be required to undergo an audition with the conductor.

8]  What if a student cannot read music?

Answer:  It is not necessary for the student to read music to join the choir.  Music reading will be taught as part of the rehearsal with the aim of building sight-singing skills.  Much of the choir’s learning will be taught in rote fashion alongside note reading.

9]  What if a student decides it is not in their interest to continue with the choir?

Answer:  That is the choice of the student.  Though a choir is like a sports team - it’s success a culmination of all student’s contributions - there is little point in sustaining a child’s attendance when they are not interested.  The child’s subscription will be refunded on a pro rata basis less $50 administration.  They will still own the T-shirt!

10]  Can a student join the choir after the final enrollment date (18th February)?

Answer:  A student may apply to become a member after the final enrollment date, but they will still be charged the full subscription for the year, regardless of how many rehearsals they have missed.  This is to recognize the extra work that will be required to bring the new member up to date with the repertoire and routines of the choir.

11]  What if I have other questions?

Answer:  You are welcome to email the conductor, Nigel Tongs, at  Please start the subject title with ‘MVC’.   A HANDBOOK is complete, being published for distribution on the 7th November.

12]  Are there ways parents can contribute to support the success of the choir?

Answer:  Just like successful sport teams, parent involvement is essential to the ongoing operations of the choir.  Manager/administrator positions will potentially arise, a Choir Management committee will significantly release the conductor to focus on practical training activities and create greater opportunities for choir coordination and responsiveness to performance requests, as well as the most important role of supporting their child in building their vocal confidence and ability to know the repertoire.

Fundraising activities for the choir are also likely to be a necessity, again to enable the choir’s responsiveness to performance opportunities as they arise.

Many items for performance will likely require accompaniment too.  A student accompanist scholarship is being considered as an alternate source to a parent accompanist.

13]  Who is Nigel Tongs (Conductor)?

Answer:  Nigel is a musician and vocalist, performing in the Manawatu region for over 40 years.  He is a past member of the NZ National Youth Choir and founding member of Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir.  He is a primary teacher, experienced principal, and has also served as an itinerant music teacher.  He is a Music Team coordinator at St Alban’s Presbyterian Church, member of Renaissance Singers Choir (PN) and Director of Saturday Music in Palmerston North.  He has recently performed in the Hawkes Bay (Hastings Choral Society), Wanganui (Scholar Sacra) and Palmerston North (PN Choral Society) as a Tenor soloist.  He recently attended the inaugural NZ National Children’s Choir course (Auckland, 2016) as a trainee and observer.  He trains with Roger Wilson (Wellington) and has been accepted for the IFAC Handa New Zealand Singing School in January 2017.



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