The Oriana Singers
Oriana Singers Inc is a mixed-voice (SATB) choir with members from the greater Tauranga area. The choir currently has just over sixty members. Choir members come from a variety of musical back-grounds, with some having never sung in a choir before to those who have sung in choirs for over twenty years.
The musical director is Glenese Blake while Katrina Daniela is on maternity leave from the choir.
After winning the inaugural Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship and a number of prestigious awards, Glenese was awarded an Arts Council Grant for further study overseas where she enjoyed a successful singing career in England. Glenese developed an interest in vocal pedagogy which led to teaching positions at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Marylebone Voice and Therapy Unit, and she was a founding member of the British Voice Association.
Returning to New Zealand, Glenese was appointed Senior Lecturer in Voice at the University of Auckland where she developed an innovative and successful voice department. Moving to Cambridge for a lifestyle change in 2007, Glenese and her husband Michael founded a new creative initiative called The Music Shed, which actively mentors young singers and voice teachers, choir conductors and Heads of Music who want to understand vocal complexity.
One of Glenese’s passions in how the voice works, the science of the voice; she regularly attends national and international conferences and workshops to keep her knowledge as current as possible.
In 2010, Glenese was awarded her Master of Arts (Art Therapy) degree which enabled her to focus on her belief that music has the ability to heal and that voice is an integral part of the healing process. In 2014, Glenese was awarded the St. Cecilia Fellowship Diploma in Teaching, one of only ten Fellowships world-wide. In 2018 Glenese was admitted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Registered Music Teachers.
Glenese is one of New Zealand’s most respected voice tutors and is currently a Voice Fellow at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Waikato, and working in two High Schools where she prepares students for examinations and auditions.
Glenese is a regular examiner for both St Cecilia School of Music and for New Zealand Music Education Board. She has also adjudicated some of the most prestigious singing competitions in New Zealand, including the Nelson Aria Competition, the New Zealand Aria, Wellington Singing Competitions, and others.
Glenese also facilitates a number of workshops around New Zealand for choirs, choir directors, Heads of Music departments, High School and University students, as well as for NEWZATS.
The choir accompanist is Barbara Caygill. (Bio to be completed).
Coreen Gray is the current Patron of the choir. Coreen has been a previous conductor of the choir when it was a ladies only choir, as well as a long-standing accompanist. Coreen is both an accomplished pianist and singer. She sang in England with Roy Henderson, under whom she studied (as did Kathleen Ferrier). Coreen was a soloist for the BBC. She has taught music, sung, accompanied and conducted for all her adult life. She is a member of the New Zealand Choral Federation and founded the Bay of Plenty branch, and is a life member of the Choral Federation. Coreen was awarded life membership of the Oriana Singers in 2015 in recognition of her contribution to the choir and became its patron in 2016.
The choir’s repertoire is varied, has wide appeal, and changes throughout the year. The choir works towards two main concerts per year with smaller engagements throughout the year as requested. The choir sings works ranging from traditional choral pieces, to jazz and popular pieces, as well as spirituals and folk songs. The choir also works with guest artists and other community musicians such as Tauranga Brass. The choir seeks to support young musicians in the community and will often invite young artists to feature in their concerts.
Oriana Singers Inc is a member of the New Zealand Choral Federation - for further information on choral activities around New Zealand go to the following link - http://www.nzcf.org.nz