Music Director:

John Buchanan MNZM


Sharon McLennan

John Buchanan is the musical director of the Southern Youth Choir. John, as well as being the chairperson of the Trustees, has a long involvement in choral music both in New Zealand and overseas. He was involved in taking the Central Otago Regional Choir as well as teaching at Dunstan High School where he took the school choirs Dunstanza and Dunstanza Senior Girls. Both choirs were regular performers at the Big Sing, the latter going on to the Finale and also gaining International success in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Since moving back to Dunedin at the end of 2018 he has conducted the Mikado for Opera Otago as well as organising The Big Sing Cadenza Festivals in 2019 around New Zealand. He also directs The Octagon Ensemble and is the conductor of the Royal Dunedin Male Choir.

Sharon McLennan has been the accompanist with the Southern Youth Choir since 2022. She is also the regular accompanist with the Octagon Ensemble and previously, the Central Otago Regional Choir. Sharon frequently works with local instrumental musicians and vocal soloists. She has collaborated with Melle Steringa (clarinet) performing concerts in Dunedin, Golden Bay and Central Otago in 2017 and 2018. She also has a CD "Taking Flight” which she and Maria Affleck (violin) recorded in 2015.

Last year Sharon performed a Bach double piano concerto with Kemp English in St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the Octagon Ensemble's "Celebrating Baroque". Sharon and Kemp had previously teamed up for a series of two-piano concerts, "Double Trouble" in 2008. Sharon currently works as a phlebotomist in Dunedin.


SYC Committee

The Southern Youth Choir is a choir for the singers! We have an excellent committee of dedicated students who discuss repertoire, performance opportunities and run our various social media accounts. Find out about them below!

Rosie McAllister

Rosie is a soprano from Blenheim studying for a Bachelor of Music and a Diploma of Languages in French at the University of Otago. She was in the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir, soprano section leader of the Aotearoa New Zealand Academy Choir and is in the New Zealand Youth Choir. She joined the Southern Youth Choir in 2023 and is the soprano section leader.

Ewen Clarke-Wallace

Ewen is a baritone from Dunedin studying Politics and Theology at the University of Otago. Ewen was a member of the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir and is a member of the New Zealand Youth Choir. He is an organist at All Saints' Anglican Church and has been involved with the Southern Youth Choir since 2019. Ewen is the current bass section leader.

Tessa Campbell

Tessa is an alto and Dunedin local who recently graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, majoring in Functional Human Biology. She is currently a member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Academy Choir, and sings in several other local choirs. She has been a member of the Southern Youth Choir since 2022 and is the alto section leader.



George Warren

George is a tenor from Christchurch who is completing a Master of Medical Laboratory Science. He is also a member of the St Paul's Cathedral choir and has been performing both classical and modern choral works since his primary school days. He has been a member of the Southern Youth Choir since 2018 and is the current tenor section leader.

Matthew Brooks

Matthew (Te Atiawa Te Whanganui-a-Tara) is a bass from Auckland who is in his second year of studying towards a Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Otago. He has plenty of past experience singing in groups, as well as currently singing in other local choirs. He has been a member of the Southern Youth Choir since 2023.


Southern Youth Choir Trust