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Who we are: Get to know some of our choir members

  • Olive Leddy

    Picture of Olive LeddyI have sung ever since I can remember, joining choirs through school and university, and in the course of teaching, took up conducting choirs. Around this time I re-discovered the personal joy of singing in a choir and have sung with Auckland Choral for over ten years now. As Chair of the Auckland Committee of the New Zealand Choral Federation, I am doing all I can to strengthen the choral community in our city, supporting  many choirs in primary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as our adult choirs. I have many other areas of interest, enjoy travelling with my husband and connecting with our three children. Music is an integral part of my life that I believe benefits in a multitude of ways those who participate in it. Everyone needs to find places of personal well-being and coming to Auckland Choral’s practices each week, is one of mine.

     
  • Maria Millar

    Picture of Maria MillarHi! I'm Maria Millar. I'm an Alto 1, and also convener of the Auckland Choral Music Committee. I first joined Auckland Choral in 2015, in time for the Missa Solemnis. I come from a musical home, with a Dad who played Organ at church and piano for the local pantomines and performances. Thanks to his influence, I've sung for most of my life. I studied singing with Margaret Medlyn when I lived in Wellington, as well as singing simultaneously with both the Bach Choir and the Orpheus Choir. I was also a performer in two International Festival of the Arts operas: Salome and Madam Butterfly. I lived in Sydney for three years, and stepped away from the predominantly classical choir style, and sang with the gay & lesbian choir, whose repertoire was more contemporary in nature. Then, in 2001 I moved to London, and while there returned to my classical roots and sang with the Wimbledon Choral Society for a number of years. I took a bit of a break from singing when my two children came along, finding it a struggle to juggle full time work and a young family. It was when we finally moved back to NZ in 2014 that I decided it was time to get back into singing. I returned to singing lessons under the tutelage of Claire Martin, and joined the Auckland Choral Society, which was exactly what I was looking for. By day, I work as a marketing researcher and strategist, a job which I've been doing for 20 years, and which has taken me all over the world. When I'm not working or singing, my happy place is in the kitchen. I love to bake - bread, cakes, anything!

     

     
  • Neil Hawkes

    Picture of Neil Hawkes in a flying armchairHi, I’m Neil Hawkes - I have been singing for a while: Tewkesbury Abbey choir from the ages of 5 to 30yrs, then a variety of English choirs before coming to NZ. When I arrived in Auckland I sang with the Choral Society, then with the Anglican Cathedral Choir and the Graduate Choir, before being stopped by a heart condition (since fixed 100%).

    Other hobbies include gyrocopters - see photo of the flying armchair…

    I am an engineer, currently studying for a PhD at Auckland Uni in mechanical engineering (carbon-neutral power generation).

     
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