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Summer Singing Retreat

Summer Singing Retreat

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  • Sat 29 Jan ’22 – Sun 30 Jan ’22, 9:00am – 7:30pm


Our Lady's Home of Compassion, 2 Rhine St, Island Bay, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $249.50

An opportunity not to be missed!

Take time to sing, relax, wander in a beautiful garden, go for a walk or swim at the beach next summer! Email to register.

Join two of Wellington's very own community song leaders Lala Simpson and Jonathan Berkahn a weekend full of beautiful and inspiring community songs from different parts of the world. All songs are taught by ear but some music sheets are available. All singers welcome!!! There will be a special Malagasy dinner cooked by Lala on Saturday night. We will finish the retreat by offering a free concert in the Suzanne Aubert Chapel on Sunday evening. The cost for the 2 day retreat including dinner and Sunday lunch is $240.

For accommodation, please book directly through the Home of Compassion
Single, twin, and double accommodation are available at the venue for $70/$99. Contact or email to book.

The Venue
Our Lady's Home of Compassion
The perfect place for rest, retreat, and renewal. Encounter the charism of compassion and take time out to contemplate, reflect and sing. The Cloister café will provide you with great coffee and delicious kai. It is surrounded by trees and beautiful gardens.

The Island Bay beach is nearby as well as the Parade, home to an array of cafés and restaurants.

The Tutors
Jonathan Berkahn
Jonathan Berkahn is a Wellington-based performer, composer, and conductor. He studied organ and harpsichord with Douglas Mews, before diversifying into many other fields of general musical usefulness. He has accompanied the Festival Singers for over two decades now and conducted them between 2013 and 2019.

Around about 2000 he started playing the accordion that his brother-in-law loaned, then gave him, and has never looked back. He is a regular at Tuesday night's Irish session at the Welsh Dragon in Courtenay Place, a co-founder of VicFolk (the Victoria University folk club and ceilidh band), a ceilidh-caller, and member of various dance bands of different genres, from Eastern Europe to North America. He met Lala in 2015, taught her children piano, and they have been musical collaborators ever since.

Lala Simpson
Madagascar-born Lala Simpson is a Wellington-based community music educator and song leader who delights young and old alike with her playful and joyful approach to singing and music-making.
She has an innate rhythm, a natural singing voice, and a deep passion for empowering individuals and communities through singing. Having grown up immersed in music from her homeland, France, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, Lala is a strong believer in the power of singing to help us navigate our world, bring joy, and connect with one another.

She brings with her a wicked sense of humor, a taste of Madagascar, patience, and compassion for the learner, and a canvas for everyone to paint their voice on.

Over the past 15 years, Lala has worked with Playcentres, schools, children’s choirs such as the Wellington Young Voices, and community groups including Arohanui strings and adult community choirs. She ran Kodàly-based music classes for preschools and primary children, lead a children’s choir at Karori West Normal School, led Music Magic preschool music sessions at Capital E for 4 years, directed the Wellington Children Community Choir, and founded the Manawa Ora Children Community Choir.

Currently, she is the artistic director of the Wellington Community Choir and Kotaba Voices, performs French songs including the songs of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel with her 3-piece band and children’s world music with Claudio Escutia. She acts as guest director for Community choirs around the Wellington Region, leads workshops nationally, and is a regular guest tutor for Village Harmony in the US.

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