Tokowha presents opera, musical theatre favourites, waiata and pese from four strong, harmonious, young singers.
Tokowhā has been performing together since 2020, formed while studying at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music’s Classical Performance programme. They first collaborated as an ensemble in the first scenes of Puccini’s La bohème. Coming from a wide range of musical backgrounds, the four have come together to deliver a mixture of musical fusions incorporating elements from classical, jazz, musical theatre, Māori and Pasifika songs and more.
Individually the boys have performed all over NZ as soloist in choirs, principal roles in opera, award winning barbershop quartets and as members of different modern opera ensembles.
Tokowhā are quickly building a devoted following in the capital, and this is the first opportunity to hear one of Aotearoa’s most exciting and impressive vocal groups around the country.
They will be accompanied by superb young pianist Alex Jefferies.
Lila Junior ‘LJ’ Crichton (tenor) is a NZ-born Samoan Tenor who was introduced to singing at home and in the church at a young age, later moving on to bands, choirs, kapa haka and musical theatre and opera in high school. LJ moved to Wellington after graduating from Festival Opera New Zealand’s youth initiative, Project Prima Volta, where he studied for 4 years under Jose Aparicio and Anna Pierard. With Festival Opera and Project Prima Volta, LJ has performed many roles such as Le Dancaire in Bizet’s Carmen, The Sorcerer in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Goro in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Beppe in Pagliacci. LJ is a very proud recipient of the NZSM Directors Award, The Kapiti Chorale Vocal Scholarship and most notably, the Deane Endowment Trust – Special Jonathan Lemalu Scholarship which has enabled him to work with the NZSO, the Porirua based Youth Initiative Virtuoso Strings Orchestra and on an artist residency with Festival Opera NZ.
Matt Barris (baritine/tenor) found his passion for singing through choirs, barbershop groups and singing in productions in his first year at Tawa College. Since 2015 he has competed at national-level competitions in a number of barbershop quartets. In 2016 he joined Wellington based Barbershop Chorus, Vocal FX. In 2018 he travelled to Orlando, FL with Vocal FX, to compete in the Barbershop Harmony Society International Chorus Competition, placing in the top 10.
In 2018, Matt was appointed as music director of Wellington College Barbershop Chorus, Basin Boys, where he took the chorus to their first national competition, placing third. In 2019, Matt joined Inspirare Choir and has sung in a number of concerts with them. In 2020, Matt was the co-director of FilCoro: Filipino Community Choir, alongside Elian Pagalilawan, and was appointed Assistant Music Director of Vocal FX
Having completed his Masters of Teaching and Learning at Victoria University of Wellington, Matt began his teaching career as Head of Music at Kuranui College this year.
Tokomairangi Henare (baritone), composer and has held a fiery passion for music throughout his childhood by participating in kapa haka, choirs and musical theatre before eventually joining Hawke’s Bay singing initiative Project Prima Volta. There, he was introduced to the classical repertoire and performed various roles including Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Figaro in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and a large-scale opera debut as the Marchesi in Festival Opera’s production of Verdi’s La traviata (2019).
His love for classical singing translated into studies at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music under the tutelage of Margaret Medlyn and Wade Kernot. There performs regularly as a soloist and with Tokowhā. Aside from performing, Tomairangi kept his love for writing music by studying a double major in Classical Performing and Composition.
Morgan- Andrew King (bass) is a young bass-baritone from Waikato. He is currently undertaking his fourth year in a Conjoint Degree of Biomedical Science and Music at Victoria University of Wellington. Morgan has been singing from a young age and has participated in many kapa haka and choral groups. In 2018 he was the bass soloist for the Cantoris Choir in Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and toured as a member of the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
In 2019 he performed Faure’s Requiem and Handel’s Dixit Dominus with the Cantoris Choir once again, and he performed in the New Zealand School of Music’s Puccini double bill operas of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, playing the role of Betto di Signa. He finished 2019 performing with the NZSO at Te Papa as part of a mixed quartet. He started 2020 in a masterclass with Jonathan Lemalu, and since then the bulk of his performing has been with Tokowhā.
Alex Jefferies (piano accompanist) is a performance student at the New Zealand School of Music, studying a Bachelor of Music under the tutelage of Jian Liu and David Barnard. He enjoys performing solo repertoire and is a keen accompanist and chamber musician. He enjoys performing a range of music, and is currently focusing on the output of Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Messiaen. Alex is a dual citizen of Australia and Germany, and has been living in New Zealand since 2007, after moving from the Netherlands. He has been working regularly with Tokowhā since mid-2021, and in late 2021 co-founded Asilence Duo, a four-hands piano duo with fellow pianist Shangrong Feng.
Giacomo PUCCINI | “Questo Mat Rosso… Legna! Sigari! Bordo!” –
scenes from La bohème Act 1
PUCCINI | “Questo amor, vergogna mia” from Edgar
PUCCINI | “Che gelida manina” from La bohème
PUCCINI | Sogno d’or
Pere WIHONGI | Te Ata Mahina
Jamoa JAM | Moe I Le Po Masina
Te Rangi PAI | Hine E Hine
Pese: Lo Ta Nu’u
Hirini MELBOURNE | Te Iwi E
PUCCINI | “Coro a bocca chiusa”from Madame Butterfly (“Humming Chorus”)
Kuini REEDY | Homai To Poho
Gaetano DONIZETTI | “Bella siccome un angelo” from Don Pasquale
William S. GILBERT and Arthur SULLIVAN | “Oh Is there Not One Maiden Breast”
from The Pirates of Penzance
GILBERT and SULLIVAN | “I Am a Pirate King” from The Pirates of Penzance
Alan Jay LERNER and Frederick LOEWE | “On the Street Where You Live”
from My Fair Lady
Oscar HAMMERSTEIN and Jerome KERN | “Ol’ Man River” from Showboat
Rob RUHA | I Te Pō
Pasifika Medley, arr. TOKOWHĀ:
Jean GALIBOU | Fakateretere
Eni F. H. FALEOMAVAEGA | Manu O Le Vaveao
George VEIKOSO | Isa Lei Lia
Sione TATU | Efiafi Peau Ongoi Vale
Listen and Watch
LJ Crichton sings Bizet with Jonathan Lemalu and Virtuoso Strings: https://youtu.be/u55OR3vdRzA
Tokowhā perform Yellow Bird in the boiler room of the Hikitia floating crane: https://www.instagram.com/p/CL8tHBcHQFU/
Scene from La bohème: https://youtu.be/Ph8ZoC1d5AA