Weekly update 30th June 2020

The process to fill the role of music director is almost completed, with the second of the two candidates taking rehearsal on Thursday. The interview panel has given its report to Fr Mowbray, who expects to have a decision in the coming days. It’s very heartening to know that there are such talented people out there continuing the tradition of this music and, given that both candidates are in their thirties, that there is a new generation of talented choir masters developing. Fr Mowbray also mentioned the recruitment process with a letter in the parish newsletter on Sunday.

As well as saying some very nice things about the choir, Fr Mowbray gave some very well-deserved praise of Robert as his departure approaches. He noted that Robert, in addition to leading the choir, has worked with the many other music groups in the parish and the archdiocese, helping us to “perfect the music which lifts us out of the ordinary rhythm of our lives and allows us to touch something of the eternal”.  As he said, Robert has given far more of himself than the job description demanded, and he will be greatly missed.

We don’t know exactly when Robert will be leaving, as it depends on when the new director can start, but, although Robert’s last months with the choir have been very different than anyone imagined, he should be very pleased with his efforts over this time, and the state of the choir he is handing over. Apart from the tireless work to strengthen the bonds between the choir and the parish, his efforts to lead working bees to make the choir room a better workspace for his successor, his efforts over lockdown have kept the choir’s momentum going, when it could so easily have faltered.

The choir had 25 at Sunday Mass, and we sang well enough to put a smile on Robert’s face, which is the highest praise we can receive. In particular, the Alleluia and Sicut Cervus were well-received. Among the many challenges of the choirmaster’s job is the constant turnover of members, and we will farewell one member next Sunday.

Rina joined the choir some months ago, while studying public policy in Wellington. Having completed her study, she will be returning with her family to their native Indonesia. She has a strong singing background, but with music very different to ours. Despite this, she managed to pick up the repertoire very quickly, becoming a dependable member of the Alto section. Robert was very impressed with her musicality and her ability to adapt to the choir, once remarking of her that she is “a real bobby dazzler”. We will have a farewell morning tea for her after Mass this coming Sunday (5th July).

Published by Allan Mansell

I've been a member of St Mary of the Angels choir since August 2019. When I joined, I literally could not sing a note. Thanks to the persistence of our music director, Robert Oliver, I can now sing several notes in a row. On a good day.

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