Choir History

Below is a short history of the Choir. Click here for membership information »

Our beginnings

The Choir was formed in 1971 in the name of the Birkenhead Male Voice Choir and meetings were held at the Birkenhead Licensing Trust Hotel. The founder and first conductor, Reg Olausen assembled a group of 26 men who wished to sing, just for fun, and to entertain the senior citizens.

Over recent years, the choir has doubled in numbers and its aim is still to sing for fun, to enjoy the experience and the camaraderie, and to entertain the Seniors at the many Retirement Villages on the Shore and beyond, in addition to performing in concerts.

In 1974, rehearsals moved to Northcote College and the name changed to North Shore Male Voice Choir, and Don Carpenter became the Conductor for two years before handing the baton to Malcolm Mitchell for the next 10 years. During this time, Leone Gruebner handed over to Mavis Harris who remained the Accompanist for 34 years until she retired in 2013 and assumed the role of Patron to the Choir. Elizabeth Barritt then joined as only the second Accompanist since our formation in 1971. In June 2015 we were very fortunate to acquire the temporary services of Robert Loretz, a well known Auckland musician. On returning to his teaching profession we were joined in 2016 by Megan Quatermass, a distinguished pianist with an enviable reputation.   

Mavis Harris

Mavis Harris (pictured) and her husband Gordon  were founder members of the Choir. Gordon was Assistant Conductor, Vice President and Life Member during his long service from 1971 to 2004.

Haydn Davies, deputy conductor since 1979 took over the baton from Malcolm Mitchell in 1985 for two years to 1987, and in 1988 John Willmott joined as Conductor and led the Choir for the next 26 years, finally handing over to our present Music Director, Lynn John in 2012. Another name change occurred in 1989 when it became the North Shore Male Choir.

The Choir has won many awards and performed in concerts throughout the Auckland region and travelled to numerous venues around New Zealand. In 1992, the Choir also participated in the Sesqui Choral Festival Eisteddfod in Sydney.

As well as broadcasts on radio and TV, including the first programme of “With One Voice”, other highlights include hosting the Orpheus Male Choir of Phoenix, Arizona and the Tokyo Chor-Farmer Choir, singing with the Welsh Choir at the 1988 Wales/All Blacks test match at Eden Park, singing with the massed choirs in 1990 to commemorate the opening of the Aotea Centre, performing at the Opera in the Park, the Town Hall, Symphony under the Stars in the Domain, The Holy Trinity Cathedral and in scores of local halls, schools, churches and theatres throughout New Zealand.

Where to next?

Our Welsh Director Lynn John, a well-known opera singer and tutor, has developed the choir and encouraged and challenged the members to strive for a high level of performance which has been achieved and recognised by the increasing numbers of supporters. His enthusiasm makes the North Shore Male Choir look ahead with confidence, as we continue to sing for fun and the pleasure and satisfaction of creating good music.