History of the Choir
100 Years Ago (from the ODT of 29th November 2019)
The Early Days
The Choir’s origins can be traced back to 1878 and the entertainment provided at functions marking the opening of the northern railway link into Dunedin. From this evolved a Liedertafel Quartet which, in response to public demand, was to become the Dunedin Liedertarfel Society which was incorporated in 1886.
In 1917 the name was changed to the Dunedin Male Choir, with the word “Royal” being added by royal patent in 1927, acknowledging three performances before royalty in 1901, 1920, and 1927.
View more archival photographs of the Choir from 1930 to 1999 in our photo gallery archives.
The Choir’s constitution stipulates the Mayor of Dunedin is our patron - currently Mr Dave Cull
The Musical Directors (Conductors)
As is the case with all choirs, it is the skill and dedication of the musical director which sets the tone. Over the years, the Royal Dunedin Male Choir has been very fortunate to have been led and inspired by many talented and dedicated Gentlemen.
Beginning with the choir’s founder Samuel Moyle in 1886, he was followed by: Benno Scherek, Arthur Barth, Raphael Squarise, Jesse Timson (25 years), Dr Victor Galway (17 years), Alfred Walmsley, William Francis, Ernest Drake, Charles Collins, Gilmore McConnell, Donald Munro, James Clark, Val Drew (a record 26 years), Harry Madden, Les Bonar, and our current Musical Director is Richard Madden (son of Harry Madden) who took up the position in 2001.
The choir has been well served by 27 very talented pianists since 1886 and, coming forward in time, have included: Edward Taylor, Chas Martin, Colin Oliver, Iain Kerr, Judy Faris (nee Galloway) with a record 27 years service, and from 1994 to the present, Linda Folland (nee Kydd).