Sunday 26 March 2023

“New Horizons” Featuring past and present scholarship winners, including Taylor Wallbank (NZ Opera Studio Artist and inaugural TANZOS Artist 2023), talented UoW postgraduate students Annabella Stephens (piano), Angela Liu (soprano), Charlotte McDonald (mezzo), and remarkable younger emerging musicians: Rupert Archer (cello & voice), Olive-Kākahu Coughlan and Maria Gow (sopranos) and baritone Callum Nielsen.


Taylor Wallbank Tenor

Taylor Wallbank (tenor)

Taylor has completed his Bachelor of Music with first class honours & his Masters of Music under the tutelage of Kristin Darragh & Gina Sanders. Taylor debuted his career at 18 as Le Remendado in Festival Opera’s Production of ‘Carmen’ (2016). He has performed the roles of Gastone in ‘La Traviata’ for Festival Opera (2018) & Spallanzani in The University of Waikato’s  Production of ‘Tales of Hoffman’ (2020). He has extensive experience as an oratorio soloist performing with Napier Civic Choir, Cantando Choir, Edgecumbe Choir, Bach Musica, and Scholars Baroque around Aotearoa for the following productions: Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Petite Messe Solenell & Durante’s Magnificat. He was awarded the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship worth up to $10,000 per year during his undergraduate degree & more recently placed first in the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Waikato Aria Competition (2022).

Anabella Stephens closer

Anabella Stephens (piano)

Although Annabella is Australian by birth, she considers herself to be a thoroughly kiwi pianist having spent most of her life growing up in Whanganui, New Zealand. She has just completed her BMus (Hons) under the tutelage of Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato, and is now currently studying with Lindy Tennent-Brown. Annabella has a special interest in performing keyboard works from the Baroque to Early Romantic periods on the modern piano, but also enjoys the challenge of the complexity of 20th and 21st century works. She likes to find opportunities to collaborate with singers and has received coaching in art song accompaniment, a style of collaborative music-making she hopes will form a part of her music career. Annabella also has a keen interest in languages, having attained a GradDip in French from the University of Waikato. Since 2020 she has dedicated time to exploring the Feldenkrais method for finding natural bodily ease and comfort at the piano, as well as focus and self-awareness in everyday life. She is currently teaching piano and music theory at L’Accademia in St Heliers, as well as privately in Hamilton.

Angela Liu headshot

Angela Liu (soprano)

Angela completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Auckland studying under the tutelage of Dr Morag Atchison. Angela studied abroad during her undergraduate study in the USA at the University of South Carolina with singing professor Dr Donald Gray. She is now continuing her studies as an honours student at the University of Waikato with Kristin Darragh and Anna Leese. Angela was awarded the Sir Owen G Glenn Study Abroad Scholarship and Evelyn M Harrison singing scholarship at the University of Auckland, and the postgraduate study scholarship at the University of Waikato. Angela was also awarded third place in the recent Clevedon Valley Music FoundationTrust senior vocal arts competitions.

Charlotte's Bio Picture

Charlotte McDonald (mezzo soprano)

A country-girl born and raised in Waiuku, 24 yr. old Charlotte comes from a very music-orientated family and having been surrounded by music on a day-to-day basis, it was inevitable that she would have a love for this art form. She joined her first choir at five, before commencing private lessons and for the past seven years has been studying with Gina Sanders and has also had the benefit of the combined input of several of NZ’s excellent teachers and coaches, the majority of them based at the University of Waikato. Charlotte has performed in numerous concerts and shows, and competed in competitions around the North Island, winning several awards, including the Most Promising Adult singer in 2020 at SAPACS and a nomination to the PACANZ Nationals for 2022. Charlotte achieved her LTCL diploma with Distinction in 2020. She also enjoys participating in community events and is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Clevedon Valley Music Foundation Trust. Charlotte has completed her Bachelor of Music with Honours in Performance Voice, at the University of Waikato. Recently, she debuted in the role of Zita in Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi’ with the Waikato University Conservatorium of Music.

Maria Gow

Maria Gow (soprano)

Maria Alexandra Gow is a 16-year-old Auckland soprano who also spent some of her early life in Central Europe. Maria has performed for English speaking and Russian audiences. Maria was trained earlier by Mezzo Soprano and teacher Dr Sue Braatvedt and more recently by well-known singer and teacher Gina Sanders, Music Performance Fellow in Voice at Waikato University. In 2022 Maria won the Vicky Martin Trophy (adjudicated by Dr Morag Atchison of Auckland University). Earlier Maria won entry to voice competitions in Moscow and Riga but unfortunately was prevented from traveling due to the Covid Pandemic.

Callum Nielsen Photo

Callum Nielsen (baritone)

Callum is 17 years old and is currently in his last year at high school. Callum has enjoyed music all his life. He started learning singing, cello, and piano in 2013 with Sarah McDowall at Majors ‘n’ Minors music studio. Recently Callum has received vocal coaching from Lindy Tennent-Brown. He also developed a passion for musical theatre and has performed in multiple musicals since 2014. Callum completed his grade 8 singing exam with distinction last year and is currently working on his ATCL musical theatre and cello exams. At school Callum plays the saxophone in the Pukekohe High School stage band and jazz combo, and clarinet in the concert band. Callum is very appreciative of the support that he has received from the Clevedon Valley Music Foundation Trust for his recent vocal senior regional award at SAPACS.

Kakahu Coughlan

Kākahu Coughlan (soprano)

Kākahu’s classical music journey started when she joined Auckland Girls’ Choir with Mrs Leoni Lawson and music director Ms Gina Sanders in 2021. Part of that experience was a performance with Bach Musica, (St Matthews Passion), in Auckland, along with 12 public choir performances, which cemented Kākahu’s love of opera. In May 2022, she decided to specialise by engaging in vocal training with Ms Gina Sanders who suggested that she enter the WAPAC’s Vocal Competition held in June 2022. Kākahu placed amongst the top three in all six songs entered, and won the Pae Tawhiti Scholarship Award. Since then, she has been a member of Clevedon Arts and Musical Adventures (CAMA) and has performed in numerous choir productions. John Rosser of Viva Voce on behalf of Scott Johnson (the organiser in America) engaged Kākahu to sing the intro and outro for World Singing Day 2021, where she translated her part from English to Māori (available on YouTube). Last year (2022) Kākahu won her school’s English Speech Competition. Her speech was about her love of music titled ‘Music and Me’. Kowhai Intermediate celebrated its Centenary in October 2022 and being a current student, Kākahu was a main performer for the Centenary Weekend. Kākahu attends a full immersion Kaupapa Māori school and kapa haka is an important expression that gives her energy and being bilingual has helped her to learn other languages such as Italian and German. Kākahu has started College (year 9) and is aiming to continue opera singing studies to the highest level as she is very passionate about it. While Kapa Haka gives Kākahu energy, opera singing gives her balance and peace of mind.

Shelley Zhan Headshot

Shelley Zhan (piano)

Shelley is 14 years old and began learning piano since when she started school and is currently working towards her Grade 8 piano exam and has participated in many competitions resulting in great success. She enjoys playing for others as well as independently, and is looking forward to more opportunities coming her way.

Rupert Archer on cello

Rupert Archer (cello and voice)

Rupert is 12 years old and is in year 8 at St Joseph’s school in Pukekohe. He started learning the cello and singing at Majors n Minors when he was three years old.   He will soon be sitting his ATCL Diploma in Cello and has just sat his Grade 8 classical voice.  Over the years he has won numerous vocal and string awards, has held leading roles in both amateur and professional theatre, done some modelling, and has appeared on TV in both advertisements and short films. Rupert is a member of the Manukau Symphony Orchestra and was awarded the MSO tuition scholarship for 2023. Last year Rupert was also lucky enough to win the CVMFT vocal and instrumental scholarship competition and is very grateful for the support provided.

Gina Sanders Bio Picture

Gina Sanders: BMus(Auck), FTCL(voice), BA, BMus Hons(Qld), ATCL(piano), AIRMT(NZ)

 Well established in the performance, teaching and adjudication professions in NZ and internationally, Gina is an accomplished performer on the operatic stage and concert platform, having studied, performed, taught, recorded and adjudicated in Europe, UK, Asia, Australasia and the USA. Gina’s professional career began after completing seven degrees and diplomas in piano, voice, theory, musicology, pedagogy and languages (German, Italian, French and English) at Auckland and Queensland Universities and Trinity College London.

As the first NZ musician to be awarded a Rotary International Graduate Scholarship, she undertook studies in Germany, London and the USA, and has since completed 15 international tours in the past 16 years with engagements in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, often including extensive presentations of her comprehensive vocal tuition courses. Highlights have included taking the lead role in world premières in the Stuttgart Liederhalle and the Hochschule Hauptkonzertsaal, concerts in NZ embassies in Berlin, Paris and London, opening the Infiorata Festival in Genzano, Italy, a tribute concert to Renata Tebaldi in Rimini, and featuring in several festivals in Rome and the Castelli Romani region.

She has performed over 60 operatic and oratorio roles, and has appeared as a soloist with every major choral society, orchestra and opera company in NZ in addition to being a RNZ Concert studio artist. In addition to her own four CDs, she has featured in many other recordings. She continues to take major soloist roles throughout NZ, including, in 2020, a much-admired Messiah with Scholars and NZ Barok, and received high praise in reviews of the world premiere of Chris Artley’s choral masterpiece, Of Land and Sea

Gina has directed several community and project choirs and numerous award-winning choirs, including the popular children’s ensemble The Valley VoicesMacleans College Choraleand was the Director of Chapel Music at King’s College for 6 years, founding the excellent chamber choir, KappellaShe has also directed The Happy Wanderers in Brisbane, and JugendlicheStimmen in Stuttgart and The Auckland Girls’ Choir.

She has been a member of IRMT(NZ) for over 35 years, and was a national executive councillor for NEWZATS for over a decade. She is a sought-after adjudicator for both national and international competitions and has frequently undertaken external examiner duties for both Auckland and Waikato Universities.

Now a Teaching Fellow at Waikato University, she continues her examining role with the New Zealand Music Examination Board. Gina is the Chair of the Clevedon Valley Music Foundation Trust, which seeks to assist young Aucklanders (particularly those in the Franklin and South Auckland districts) in their aspirations to become Performing Arts professionals. She is also the Patron of the South Auckland Performing Arts Competition Society.

In 2019, Gina was awarded a Local Heroes Medal at the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in Auckland for her services to the arts and the community.

Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2023


“Let’s start at the very beginning” An exciting new venture of a “Workshop with Concert”, developing Stagecraft, Visual Art (Painting), Musicianship & Performance on the Saturday and culminating in a mixed-media presentation collaboration of rising talent and professionals on the Sunday. Limited to 25 participants aged between 8 and 20 yrs, in three age-group. Cost for participants is $15 (single) $25/$40 for 2 or 3 siblings. Presenters will comprise some of NZ’s top practitioners in Music, Drama and Art.

Full details will be released at the end of February.

Sunday 17th September 2023

“Side-By-Side” A fusion of Jazz, Swing and Classical. A fusion of Jazz, Swing & Classical. The immensely popular Maximillian Crook and his wonderfully popular musicians return, and we welcome the Sancta Maria Jazz Ensemble along with several other talented musicians.

Sunday 15th October 2023

Scholarships Day

Scholararships: 12.30 – 8.30pm: A Piano, Voice and Instrumental Competition Festival across 3 age-groups, open to the public.

Entries will open in August.