Singing for Health


A young man and a more senior woman want to hear Otaki singing. An Otaki Seniors Choir is about to be launched in Otaki modelled on the successful Kapiti Seniors Choir.

Ann-Marie Stapp, musician and social worker has been part of the Kapiti Seniors’ choir and its musical director for eight years. Funded by Kapiti Council Creative Community grant, the Paraparaumu choir started with 80 people turning up for the first rehearsal and finished the year with a very successful public concert at Lindale which was sold out. She and the youthful manager, 17 year old Louis Challies intend to repeat the very positive experience here in Otaki. Louis is a talented musician from Kapiti College. Earlier this year he travelled with members of his school choir to Vancouver to perform at a choral festival. He also conducts the junior school choir as well as being a clarinettist in the Kapiti Youth Orchestra

In early 2013, as a year 10 student, Louis applied for a Council Youth Project grant to set up a Seniors Voice Programme. He successfully ran this in Pararpaumu at the later part of 2013. Louis started out as Manager of the venture but soon stepped up to the conducting box and began his conducting career with Any Dream will do.

The invitation is out there to turn up and sing your hearts out. No experience is necessary, nobody turned away. Stapp believes that singing is about health – community health as well as personal health – healthy living is community singing is her motto. Her philosophy is to make singing accessible and affordable for everyone. She says the health benefits are very obvious with better breathing. And it is especially for those who have been told at any point of their life they couldn’t sing! And as for senior? You are as old as you feel and want to be and are welcome to join.

The music is an eclectic mix of Beatles, swing, pop, old time favourites, show tunes, religious and there is mostly unison singing with some part and harmony work. Come and try out.

Starting 1st October, senior citizens of any age can rock up to the Gertrude Atmore Supper Room from 1pm to 2pm – no audition, no experience needed – just a love for music, singing and having a good community time. There is a minimal fee of $2 to cover the rent of the room. Otaki attendees will learn the same repertoire as the Kapiti choir and the aim is for a concert at the end of the year in Otaki.