Barbershop group turns 40

The City of Sails Barbershop Chorus performing at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland in 2016.

The City of Sails Barbershop Chorus – believed to be the first barbershop group formed in New Zealand – is celebrating its 40th birthday with a performance at Centrestage Theatre in Ōrewa on Sunday, May 19.

The group’s a cappella barbershop performance will include several songs from its early days, as well as more recent crowd favourites. It will be accompanied by vocalist Lisa Lorell.

The Auckland-wide group, originally known as the MOTAT Barbershop Chorus, currently has around 40 active members ranging in age from 18 to 85 years.

Peter Mason is the only remaining original member, but the organisers hope to bring back previous members from as far as Australia for the 40th birthday performance.

Ōrewa baritone Warwick Day has been singing with the group for 10 years and remains “hooked.”
“We have a lot of fun,” he says. “They are a great group of people.”

Over its 40 years, The Barbershop Chorus, and the quartets within it, have performed at a range of venues, from hospitals to malls in New Zealand, and at international conventions.

They also perform annually at Centrestage, normally to a full house.

The members have gained many national titles over the years, and don’t plan to stop after their 40th anniversary.

“Next year we are hosting the Pan-Pacific Convention in Auckland, where we will compete against Choruses from Australia, Japan and the US,” Warwick says. “We are still happy to sing anywhere at the drop of a hat.”



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