Sweet harmonies of singers in paradise


What started as a casual Christmas carol group has blossomed into something a little more serious.

Remarkable Vocals founder Sue Patterson was invited to sing carols at Gibbston Valley Winery restaurant 10 years ago – so she rounded up three other vocalists to join her.

Before they knew it, there was more gigging to be done and singing to be sung.

As the casual gigs continued, interest in the Queenstown group began to spark.

Today, Remarkable Vocals has 16 local members.

The group decided four years ago they would perform twice a year to showcase what they have been working on.

They will perform their annual Christmas show on Sunday.

“We actually have a really good following.

“We’re very popular, we’ve got people that come again and again,” Patterson says.

The choir’s repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary.

Originally, Patterson was keen for the choir to be entirely a cappella, which they do sometimes, but they are mainly accompanied by pianist Alison Frude.

“It’s sort of for all tastes … we mix it up,” Patterson says.

The show Bells in Paradise is named after a John Rutter Christmas song the group will be singing.

Patterson reckons it’s not your average choir recital but rather a uniform-less, relaxed evening shared with wine and crackers.

“We have an MC and we tell a couple of jokes, it really is very entertaining.”

To keep the standard at a high level the choir spends six months rehearsing each show.

Every Monday evening the group travel to Patterson’s music room in Lake Hayes – where she also teaches singing lessons to about 15 private students.

The group are always open to new members – next month they will be having their first open rehearsal for anyone with a sharp ear and singing pipes to attend.