Kelli Allison's blog

'We are the champions'

We did it! We are thrilled to be the 2022 New Zealand Sweet Adelines Chorus Champions, and achieving 1st Place as the Sweet Adelines International Division A Small-size chorus. Check out our winning performance.

This means Waikato Rivertones Chorus will represent NZ in Louisville, Kentucky USA in October 2023!!! We’ll be performing onstage and will enjoy watching around 30 other choruses from across the world.

We all have our fingers crossed that it actually happens this time, as we were all revved up to compete there in 2020 when an annoying little virus hit the world… Optimism rules though, so now it's all about the preparation and practice, practice, practice...

Wishing you a million dreams and lots of candy canes...

We are super lucky in the Waikato Rivertones Chorus to have a strong music team, including the very talented arranger Rowena HarperSince joining the chorus 6 years ago, Rowena has enthusiastically thrown herself into all aspects of the chorus, including choreography, assistant musical directorship and arranging four or eight part harmony for multiple pop songs including this Waikato Rivertones Chorus virtual Christmas song

'Now is the hour' for us to say goodbye...

It's always sad when a Waikato Rivertones member leaves, especially when they are an integral part of the chorus. Jean Brooker has been with us for almost 12 years in roles such as Team Coordinator, Secretary, Fundraising assistant, and Bass Section Leader (aka Bass Camp Mother). Jean's been in various choirs since her school days, and joined Rivertones after a work colleague brought her along to a rehearsal. 'Before the evening had even started I was whisked out the back and auditioned - very scary when you had only turned up to listen! By the end of the evening I was hooked.' Some highlights have been winning 3 National Gold Medals and the 2021 People's Choice medal.

Another one bites the dust...

Competitions, that is! At the start of #nzmusicmonth the Waikato Rivertones headed to Christchurch to perform in Harmony Aotearoa. This Sweet Adelines NZ national chorus event was even more highly anticipated than usual because it was cancelled in 2020 (thanks Covid!). It was great after all of our rehearsals to finally perform for real. For our seasoned performers it was slightly different this year, with our international judges watching us via live stream video and results shared a week later.

"We don't need no education..."

Well, yes we do actually! Getting regular doses of musical education is a huge bonus of being a WRT Rivertones member. As well as weekly tips at rehearsals, we usually have a couple of weekend 'retreats' each year with international or national coaches to help us polish our performances. At a recent retreat with vocal coach Virginia Humphrey-Taylor I learnt all about the benefits of coning, keeping my chin down and improving my breathing by widening my nostrils (I had no idea that nostril tape was a thing!). We have choreography to learn too (I'll talk about my dancing skills another time though lol). 

Retreat weekends are also a chance to have some fun, get to know each other better and have 'me' time.

2021...Waikato Rivertones have big plans for you!

It's 2021...yay! I think most of us heaved a big sigh of relief when 2020 was over. At our first Waikato Rivertones (WRT) chorus rehearsal this year we did a bit of a retrospective and discussed the highs and lows of being a chorus during Covid-19. Whilst we got great at doing rehearsals via Zoom, we decided nothing is as good as singing together in person. Then we agreed some things we really want to do in 2021...

A key theme is to really focus on the joy of singing through more performances and informal team events.

Musical education continues to be high on our list, which was 'music to the ears' (pun intended ha ha) of our fabulous WRT musical director Kate Sinclair.

The show must go on!

It's a month of performances for the Waikato Rivertones...which we love! Lots of rehearsals and extra practices so we're ready to perform soon at Harmony Breakout and at the Cambridge Christmas Festival. See our Events page for more details - we'd love you to come along.

Celebrating female barbershop

This week the Waikato Rivertones were meant to be on stage in Louisville, Kentucky performing in the international Sweet Adelines competition (thanks Covid)! Instead we commiserated/celebrated with dinner together, and sang some of our favourite songs (check out this Facebook post). Not quite the same, but we still had fun! We're grateful that unlike many countries, we can actually sing together rather than via Zoom.

Thinking of joining the Waikato Rivertones chorus?

I remember feeling apprehensive when I went to my first Waikato Rivertones (WRT) chorus rehearsal last year. I'd recently moved back to Hamilton and decided to finally get round to singing again. I did some googling on Hamilton choirs and saw that WRT were having an open night. After a quick stalk of their website, I decided to take the plunge and head along. Turned out it wasn't that scary as there were a bunch of other apprehensive newbies like me, and we were warmly welcomed by various chorus members who came up to say hi and put us at ease. For those of you thinking of joining, you'll be taken under the wing of our wonderful WRT Membership Coordinator Robyn Baron.

What is the Waikato Rivertones chorus all about?

It's a good question. My partner is quite puzzled as to what the allure is for me to sing each week with a bunch of other ladies. A Waikato Rivertones (WRT) alumni once said she 'came for the music, but stayed for the friendships.’ That sums it up well for me!

I've heard the chorus described variously as 'lots of fun,’ 'intense,’ 'educational,’ 'a great group of women,’ and an 'amazing sound.’ We all have different reasons for joining... a common theme from other members is that it is great ‘me time.’ 

Recent news

31 July 2023 - 3:20pm
Massive thanks to fabulous sponsor STRONGLITE STAGING® LTD who donated a riser chair to Waikato Rivertones... more
20 July 2022 - 3:19pm
We did it! We are thrilled to be the 2022 New Zealand Sweet Adelines Chorus Champions, and achieving 1st... more
12 December 2021 - 12:56pm
We are super lucky in the Waikato Rivertones Chorus to have a strong music team, including the very talented ... more