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Parallel Lines

Nota Bene gives first public recital


Nota Bene, a new choir on the Wellington scene, is to present its first public recital, Parallel Lines, in the Hunter Council Chamber on Sunday 3 April.


The group formed in August 2004 and gave a concert for invited guests in October, then went on to perform Christmas carols at the King Kong cast and crew Christmas party.  They were subsequently invited to sing carols live in the studio on National Radio’s Nine to Noon with Linda Clark on Christmas Eve.

The choir currently has a core of 18 singers, but performs with any number from 4 through to 20 voices. Most of the singers have trained with the New Zealand Youth Choir and many are past or present members of Voices New Zealand.


Musical director Christine Argyle says she formed the choir to perform a wide range of music to a high standard, with repertoire ranging from classical through to contemporary art music and jazz. “I think some people can find a ‘wall-to-wall’ a cappella choral concert hard to digest, so we’re aiming to present a variety of timbres and textures in our concerts, by varying the number of singers, and using a range of accompanying instruments where appropriate.”


Nota Bene’s first concert for 2005, Parallel Lines, features pairs of settings of the same text by different composers.  “I find it fascinating to hear how different composers have responded to the same text”, says Argyle, “so early composers such as Purcell, Praetorius and Morley will be placed alongside contemporary composers like Bob Chilcott, Jan Sandström and John Rutter.” 


The programme contains several beautiful works, from well-known favourites such as Mozart’s Ave Verum through to a rarely-heard setting of Heidenröslein (or Heather Rose) by Schumann.  The concert will also feature some solo singers from within the choir, as well as accompaniments by Douglas Mews on organ, piano and virginals, a string quartet led by Shelley Wilkinson, and jazz bass player Nick Tipping.


“We want to create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere at our concerts, so we’ll be providing complimentary refreshments beforehand.  It’s a nice way for the choir members to mix with our audience and creates less of an “us and them” feel during the concert”, says Argyle.

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