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Musicians Unite To Save St David’s And Turn It Into A Centre For Music

Kiwi musicians have united in their bid to save St David’s Church, so it can be repurposed into a much-needed centre for acoustic music for all New Zealanders. They have gifted their voices and musical talent in a pre-recorded concert ‘To the Stars’, to be streamed from Saturday 29 May 2021. The virtual concert was filmed in the great hall of St David’s and features a star-studded lineup of New Zealand musical talent. It reveals the glorious interior and sparkling acoustics which make St David’s the ideal centre for music.

Starring in the concert is world famous tenor, Simon O’Neill ONZM. He has performed in prestigious opera houses around the world and says the church building was made for music. “The atmosphere, acoustics and scale of St David’s create an incredibly valuable opportunity for music in New Zealand. Its location in Auckland – UNESCO City of Music – is fitting.” Simon and wife Carmel Walsh-O’Neill are Founding Patrons of The St David’s Centre for Music.

Paul Baragwanath, Friends of St David’s Chair says “The concert shares a captivating spectrum of acoustic music and illustrates to all New Zealand that this is a vital and valuable place that must not be lost to commercial development. When you purchase a ticket, you not only get to see some of New Zealand’s best talent in this virtual concert, you get to contribute to saving this place for the community. It is a sacred space that can provide a sanctuary for all - it has vital work to do!”

‘To the Stars’ features opera singer Simon O’Neill ONZM, NZTrio, pianist Flavio Villani, traditional Māori composer and musician, Horomona Horo playing the taonga puoro, along with Rita May, a 21 year-old singer/songwriter on acoustic guitar, Zosia Herlihy-O’Brien, a 19 year old prodigy playing the church’s 1910 Croft organ, the Graduate Choir NZ, Scottish bagpipes and the bugle.

The Friends of St David’s Charitable Trust plan to buy the elegant St David's Presbyterian Church built in 1927 by tender at 4pm, 3 June. A give-a-little campaign has been set up in parallel to raise the funds necessary for purchasing the church. The Friends’ proposal also sees St David’s preserved for its original purpose, to serve as a living memorial for soldiers and those affected by World War 1.

“We are hugely grateful for the level of support we’ve received so far,” says Paul Baragwanath. “We now need support from all New Zealanders to preserve this sacred place. There are no other living memorials built to honour our soldiers quite like it in this country. Our plan is to open its doors as a lively, much-needed centre for music that honours its heritage while allowing the building to remain available to our armed forces.”

Artist Max Gimblett, ONZM has also thrown his weight behind saving St David’s and is releasing three of the Remembrance artworks from the Te Papa Tongarewa exhibition to be won by ‘To the Stars’ ticket purchasers.


Buy tickets here and automatically go into the draw to win a Max Gimblett Remembrance quatrefoil:

Full programme details, concert trailer and tickets at AUD$25 available on www.RememberThem.nz

Concert trailer – video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RU9sYdV0tg

Donations can be made at www.RememberThem.nz or visit Give-a-Little https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/buy-st-davids

View the ‘Buy St David’s’ – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpS7-3-meFE


Hi resolution photos downloaded here

About ‘To The Stars’

Performances by: Simon O’Neill, opera singer; NZ Trio (piano, violin, cello); Flavio Villani (grand piano), Rita May (acoustic guitar singer/songwriter); Horomona Horo (taonga puoro); Zosia Herlihy

O’Brien (organ); the Graduate Choir, piper DJ Harvey.

About St David’s

St David’s was built and dedicated as the Soldiers’ Memorial Church in October 1927 and chosen by the RNZE (Royal New Zealand Engineers) as their church. It holds the

Sappers’ Memorial Chapel, RNZE Roles of Honour WWI and WWII and the

RNZE Memorial Window.


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