The Choir

The Southern Youth Choir was formed in 1992 by Maureen Smith and Anthony Ritchie. It is comprised of young singers between the ages of 16 and 25 years; some from secondary schools, most from the University and some continuing to be members after starting their working lives.

The choir aims to up-skill young singers in the Dunedin region to participate in four-part choral music and present their programmes two or three times a year to local audiences. The choir benefits from the support of the University of Otago by rehearsing once a week in Marama Hall over the two-semester University period.

Over the years, the Southern Youth Choir has been led by conductors who have gone on to become well-known. They include Anthony Ritchie, Tecwyn Evans, Jonathan Lemalu, David Burchell, Holly Mathieson, Josh Clark and George Chittenden.  Dunedin-born Benjamin Madden was appointed Music Director in 2017.


The Interregnum Music Director, John Buchanan MNZM

We are fortunate to have John Buchanan taking us for the first semester.  John, as well as being the chairperson of the Trustees, has a long involvement in choral music both in New Zealand and overseas. He has recently returned from living in Central Otago where 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 Senior Girls going on to the Finale and also to 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.

The newly appointed Administrator is Erica Paterson ( 



The choir rehearses every Wednesday night, 6.30 – 8.30 pm in Marama Hall.  The welcome to new and returning members and the first rehearsal will be on Wednesday 9th March unless Covid restrictions prevent this from happening.

Southern Youth Choir Trust

Website by Jeffrey Dick