Our scholars

We are delighted to continue to grow the number of younger singers in the choir  — it’s great to have such a broad age range represented. 

As part of our plan to encourage student musicians, the Board continues to award Orpheus Choral Scholarships on the recommendation of the Music Director. We are very grateful to Todd Corporation Ltd for their generous sponsorship of these scholarships.


HELEN OLIVER (2019-21)

Helen has been singing in school choirs since 2008 and has had vocal lessons since 2011. She loves singing as a soprano and has enjoyed the opportunity of being in the Tawa College Blue Notes from 2015-2018 as well as the various other choirs and singing groups provided by the school. In 2018 Helen also relished the opportunity to co-direct and conduct the student led Early Birds, gaining an Adjudicator’s Choice Award and Best Student Directed Choir Award at the 2018 Big Sing. This year she is continuing to study for her BA and is remaining part of both Orpheus and Wellington Youth Choir for a third year, and she is looking forward to more opportunities to sing with an orchestra. The award of this Orpheus scholarship offers Helen the opportunity to continue singing throughout her third year of University study and into the future.


Issy studies Computer Science and Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington. She’s welcomed the opportunity to sing in Orpheus with open arms and enjoys every second of it. Music has been the bread and butter of her upbringing, as she’s grown up performing in choirs and recitals for both piano and voice. Issy has previously been a part of Wellington Youth Choir from 2019 to 2020 and has loved meeting a variety of singers whilst exploring new repertoire. Orpheus brings another dimension to singing as it is a larger choir with passionate people. Being a part of Orpheus has already allowed me to grow in a number of ways and perceive music in a new light.


I am an enthusiastic student of the arts. I have participated in all things singing since the age of 6. Kids Sing sparked my love of Choral singing. In my final school year, I was delighted to lead and sing with QMC Chorale at the Big Sing Finale, the first time in 11 years to compete and win a silver award. I also enjoyed Barbershop, where my quartet performed at National’s in 2019. At school I helped found a social choir, providing a safe space to encourage new singers. I was delighted to join Orpheus as I missed being with a choir and enjoy singing challenging repertoire. I am looking forward to growing my sight-reading abilities and can’t wait to sing with a full orchestra! I am in my first year of University at Victoria studying a BA. This scholarship will enable me to continue developing and singing.


Isabella Bostock is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy at Victoria University, having just graduated Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology. Isabella began singing while at Saint Kentigern College and has been an avid member of choirs ever since. During her senior years at college she sang with the school’s premiere choir, Kentoirs. Isabella was also involved with Auckland Youth Choir, touring to New York with them in 2016. In 2018 she moved to Wellington for university and joined the Wellington Youth Choir. This is her 4th year with WYC, and she has been the Alto section leader since 2020. This is Isabella’s second year as a member of Orpheus. She loves that Orpheus provides her with a large and challenging repertoire, as well as the beauty of music and sound you can only achieve with a choir. This scholarship offers Bella the opportunity to continue singing in both Orpheus and WYC during university and into the future.


イケメンだけではなく、圧倒的にやさしくて、一世代に一人しか現れないような天才的な… ah, sorry I’m still getting used to being back in New Zealand. My wife and I moved back from Japan late last year and it’s been a big adjustment. That’s why joining Orpheus has been such a big deal for me. Not only do I get to spend more quality time with my wonderful mother, also a choir member, but being part of such a welcoming community doing something I love has helped make Aotearoa feel like home again. It’s been a while since I have sung at this level. I was heavily involved in choir and barbershop throughout high school, and I did a lot of karaoke in Japan, but I’m looking forward to rising to the challenges (Bartók) that Orpheus has to throw at me.


Anastasia Reid is 16 years old and currently in the first year of a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Classical Voice Performance at the New Zealand School of Music. She has previously been a Soprano in the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir 2019-2020 cycle, as well as singing in her high school’s choirs, Rawhiti and Multi-choir. She was a part of the New Zealand School of Music’s Young Musician Programme in 2019. As well as a passion for singing, Anastasia plays piano and violin. She was a member of Wellington Youth Symphonietta from 2018-2020 and completed her Trinity Instrument exams. Aside from music Anastasia enjoys spending time in the outdoors and is currently working on her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. She has a passion for community work and giving back and is currently a Youth Councillor on Wellington City Youth Council.


Angus is in his final year of study towards a Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University of Wellington, majoring in economics and public policy. He found his passion for singing and choral whilst at Bethlehem College, singing in the school’s mixed and boys only choirs. He received two years of classical voice training. He then joined his singing teacher’s chamber choir, the Scholars Pro Musica, for performances of Fauré’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. In his final year at Bethlehem College he was awarded the school’s top cultural award for commitment to choir and the performing arts. He has now joined Orpheus to continue his passion for choral, for the diverse repertoire, and for the inclusive community of a large choir.


My name is Sarah Mileham and I’m a Classical Voice student studying at Victoria University, NZ School of Music. Music has been my passion since I was young, especially singing. Since middle school, I have been singing in school choirs, jazz bands and have sung alongside school orchestras. This led me to realize my passion for classical singing and I started getting classical training in year 12. One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had was being a member of the 2019/2020 NZSSC cycle. I’ve always had a special love for Choral music and that is why singing with Orpheus has been such a fantastic experience! I’m so glad to have found such a high functioning choir with such lovely people in my first year in Wellington. Being an Orpheus Scholar will help me grow musically and contribute to my overall musical journey. I am so thankful for the opportunity!


Philip is currently studying towards a PhD in Software Engineering. Philip started singing while at Tawa College and has been extensively involved in choirs since. In his final years at Tawa, Philip sang with the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir (2015-2016). Since then, he has been involved with the Wellington Youth Choir, Orpheus and currently sings with the New Zealand Youth Choir (2020-2022). Philip is the Music Director of Wellington Youth Choir. Philip enjoys the inclusivity of choirs and loves how choirs can come together to make a stunning sound which you can’t get with fewer people. This scholarship will help him with his personal development as a choral director as he looks to attend Choral Connect this year.


I am a passionate young singer from Lower Hutt. I have always enjoyed singing and making music. The first ever choir I joined was the Saint James Choir, where I began to learn how to sing properly. From there I briefly moved to playing Jazz, joining Victoria University YMP Program with Rodger Fox, in year 10. In year 11, I decided to try out the Classical Vocal YMP, which restarted my passion for singing. Since then I have been a part of many choirs, sung in many concerts, and have been the pianist at my local church for many years. I am now studying classical voice at NZSM and loving it. Two years ago, I met Thomas Nikora, who accompanied one of the choirs I am a part of. He has helped me significantly with my voice, and he got me to join Orpheus. I am so grateful to him. My aim in Orpheus is to make myself a better sight reader, a more attentive singer, to add more pieces to my repertoire, and to enjoy the amazing atmosphere that you get from being a part of such a great choir.


Tēnā koutou, I am currently studying towards a Master of Political Science at Victoria University of Wellington. My love for choral singing developed while I was at Burnside High School in Christchurch. During this period, I attended singing lessons and was fortunate to be part of two award-winning choirs, Bel Canto and Senior Chorale directed by Sue Densem. When I moved to Wellington in 2017, I joined the Wellington Youth Choir and the Orpheus Choir. I also sang in a small church choir in Milan while I was living there in 2019. 

As a member of Orpheus, I have had the opportunity to sing in amazing works, such as Handel’s Messiah with the NZSO and the Verdi Requiem with Orchestra Wellington. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the choir because of its sense of community and the great friendships I have developed with my colleagues. I am very grateful to be supported by a scholarship.


I’m James, a third year Law and Arts student, majoring in History and Political Science. I also have the privilege of working in student advocacy alongside my studies. I’m originally from Christchurch, having moved to Wellington for University in 2019. I am a guitarist, a clarinetist, a singer (obviously), a mountain biker, and an avid tramper. I found Orpheus in my first year of university and have stuck with them ever since. For me, Orpheus is a relaxing way to ensure I continue to engage with one of my passions, even when university work gets really busy. Orpheus is also a good way to socialize outside of my young student bubble and meet some cool new people.


I found my start in choirs in primary school and never looked back. I sang in numerous choirs including the Wellington Girls’ College premiere choir Teal Voices from 2016 – 2018. I’m currently in my third year of studying a conjoint Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics. After taking a year away from choirs in my first year of university, I realized how important choral singing was to me, and began singing with the Wellington Youth Choir in 2020 and Orpheus in 2021. I am passionate about the sense of comradery and empowerment singing in a choir brings, and I am proud to be part of something wider than myself. Orpheus brings new opportunities for me to sing in a large choir, performing works I’ve always dreamed of singing. I am very excited to be a part of the choir this year and in years to come.


My name is Ellie Bakker. Born and raised in Scotland, I’ve loved singing since I was a child. I’ve performed in musical theatre productions, singing competitions, with my school choir and as part of a cathedral choir. I’m currently working towards my ATCL’s in Classical Singing. I’m so excited to be a part of Orpheus. There’s a lovely culture around choral singing, where you can form friendships with a variety of age groups who are united by a love for music. Getting to perform some fantastic, historical pieces with such a large group is amazing; being part of something bigger than yourself. I look forward to extending my choral repertoire with Orpheus; as much as I love ‘Messiah’, it will be nice to explore some other genres and periods of music with the choir!

I have been singing since age six, when I became a chorister at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral Dunedin. At thirteen I joined City Choir Dunedin, and while on exchange in 2019 at the University of Glasgow I was a member of the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, sang for a broadcast on Scottish Radio, and in a quartet with the Telemann Ensemble. I recently moved to Wellington to study honours in art history at Victoria University, and currently study singing under Lesley Graham. My most recent solo work has been Bach’s Coffee Cantata with Dunedin’s The Little Box of Operas in March, and City Choir Dunedin’s Songs for Humanity and Rejoice! concerts last year.

Singing with the Orpheus indulges my love for making music with other people, and lets me enjoy a highly varied repertoire. I look forward to singing some old favourites (I first sang in Carmina Burana thirteen years ago and have adored Parry’s I was Glad for even longer) and hope to discover some new favourites too.

My name is Laura Munan, I’m a full-time third year student at Victoria studying Music and Psychology. I’ve enjoyed singing since as long as I can remember and by the end of high school I completed a Trinity Certificate in Singing and an ABRSM Certificate in Choral Singing. Being in Orpheus is an opportunity to sing with the best, most dedicated singers in Wellington, and to grow as a musician through challenging pieces such as the lovely Bartok. Beyond that, Orpheus is a family that I’m proud to join. Being mixed Kiwi Malaysian, brought up in Borneo and having my parents and close family living so far from me at a time like this, it’s a special thing to find different experiences to feel at home – so far Orpheus feels like one of them!

What Orpheus offers

What I have gained from singing with Orpheus is almost without measure. it has been wonderful experience getting to do the big works and the classics that you would never get to do otherwise, as well as getting to understand more of the work required to put these things together.

The comradery and uttermost joy of singing with a brilliant group of people is also second to none and the exhilaration of thunderous applause (hopefully!) from audiences that truly love what we do is just fabulous.


Technically, I have also grown hugely in my sight reading, in creating different vocal colours, and generally improving my musicianship and sensitivity to music. it is overall a delight to be immersed in the classical world and to have such a grounding in a variety of works and composers that i would’ve missed had this not become part of my life.

    Joe Haddow BMus

Orpheus scholar 2015-Preent

lexus song quest finalist 2018

Past Orpheus Scholars

Katherine McIndoe                              2015

Karishna Thanawala                            2015, 16,17

Alex Giandonco                                   2015, 16

Olivia Marshall                                     2015

Pasquale Orchard                                2015, 16, 17, 18

Katrine Brougham                               2015, 16

Ben Reason                                           2015

Joe Haddow                                          2015, 16, 17, 18, 19

Stephen Clothier                                 2015, 16, 17

Priya Makwana                                     2015 (did not complete the year)

Beatrix Carino                                       2016, 17, 18 (did not complete 2018)

Lizzie Callaghan                                   2016, 19

Henry Sim                                             2016, 17, 18, 19

Alexandra Woodhouse Appleby       2016, 17, 18

Francesca Moore                                  2016, 17, 18


Rebbecca Paton (Gilbert)                  2017

Peter Liley                                            2017

Isabel Doudney                                   2017, 18

Lucy France                                          2018

Dani Yourakova                                    2018

Tanaya Shangarpawar                        2018

Cynthia Wratt                                       2018

Kassandra Wang                                  2019

Ruby Parker                                          2019

Jeffrey Dick                                           2019

Helen Oliver                                         2019

Marcel Cole                                          2019

Sam Berkahn                                       2019

Lizzie Summer                                     2019

Alice Mander                                        2019