Kowhai Singers set for celebratory soiree

Come into the garden, Maud – or at least come into Warkworth on November 18, when the Town Hall will be transformed into a Victorian musical soiree as part of the town’s 170th anniversary celebrations.

Kowhai Singers will be the hosts of 1853, gathering around the piano for an evening of music, poetry and song from the late 1800s.

Musical director Ken Leech says the hall will be decorated with period pieces to take the audience back to the days of Warkworth’s early settlement.

“We’re basically going to recreate a Victorian soiree in someone’s very large parlour, as might have happened in Warkworth in the late 1800s,” he says.

There will be a painted backdrop, Victorian lighting and the singers will be wearing period dress.

“We’re inviting the audience to dress up as well, and there will be prizes for the best Victorian attire,” Leech says.

During the first half of the evening, there will be music from the Kowhai Singers, a children’s choir from Horizon School and even some poetry. Audience participation will be actively encouraged and pieces will range from English madrigals to folk songs and New Zealand sea shanties.

In the second half, the singers will perform classic hymns that our forefathers might have sung, again with audience participation welcome.

“There’s a lot of energy going into this, people have really taken to the idea,” Leech says. “It’s going to be a great celebration and hopefully people will really feel a part of it.”

Leech joined Kowhai Singers as musical director in January and says he’s thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“They’re a great bunch of singers. We’ve set quite a high standard and I think they’re really enjoying the challenge.”

Tickets for 1853 cost $20 from Briar Rose Flowers, members of Kowhai Singers or at the door (cash only). Show starts 7.30pm, students free entry.