- V8 Vocal Ensemble
- Established: 1998
The V8 Vocal Ensemble was formed nine years ago and performs a wide variety of music, from Renaissance madrigals to pop hits. The repertoire has included music from such diverse composers as Mendelssohn, Bardos, Lennon & McCartney, Gershwin, Carole King, Lotti, Rutter, as well as music from the spiritual, jazz and folk song realms. Recently there has been a focus on music written especially for smaller vocal groups, such as that sung by the King’s Singers and the Swingle Singers.
In terms of local music, the group has premiered two compositions written especially for it: ‘Sing With Me, Friends’ by Jillian Bray, and ‘Christmas Come In’ by David Hamilton. The group has also performed works by several other NZ composers, including Tecwyn Evans, Philip Norman, Douglas Mews and Jenny McLeod.
The singers in V8 are all former members of the TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir and/or TOWER Voices New Zealand. All have represented New Zealand overseas at festivals and competitions with these choirs.
The group has sung at weddings and corporate functions, as well as hosting themed concerts on a regular basis, including the very popular ‘A Cappella in Takapuna’, ‘But Wait – There’s More!‘, ’Afternoon Delight’, ‘Sunday Drive with V8’ and ‘A Lot of Hot Air’. The group has also participated in a workshop with Bob Chilcott, former member of the King’s Singers and renowned English choral composer.
In 2002 V8 received a Distinction Award at the inaugural NZCF Classic Sing Festival, gaining a mark of 95%, and was then invited to Rotorua the following year for the Finalé of this event. At the Classic Sing Grand Prix Contest in 2003, V8 won the only Gold Medal for the Vocal Ensemble / Chamber Choir section. The adjudicators described the group as “experienced singers [who] delivered an excellent example of sensitive ensemble singing, wonderful diction and superb musicianship.”
In 2003 the group performed with the Oriana Singers at a sold-out Easter concert in Tauranga, and also a fundraising concert at Iona Presbyterian Church in Blockhouse Bay. In 2004 V8 returned to Tauranga to give another sold-out, critically-acclaimed performance as part of the Tauranga Musica concert series. Events in 2005 included concerts in Wellington in April, a TV recording for Praise Be in May (with several ensuing broadcasts), as well as a guest appearance at the 2005 Taranaki Arts Festival in August.
In 2006 the group appeared at the Institute of Registered Music Teachers national conference, and completed a successful tour of Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.
In early 2007 the group was the opera chorus for the 10th annual Opera in the Pa in Rotorua, and is now in the process of finishing a long-awaited CD recording, to be launched on September 1st.
2008 will be the 10th anniversary of the V8 Vocal Ensemble. Several special events are being planned to mark this occasion.