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Jubilation Presents: The Word is Love

18 Apr 2021 - 23 May 2021


Sunday 18 April 2021, 7.00pm - Sunday 18 April 2021, 8.15pm

Sunday 23 May 2021, 7.30pm - Sunday 23 May 2021, 8.45pm

The concert is 75 minutes long, with no interval


  • 18 Apr - TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs
  • 23 May - The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park (off Manurere Avenue), Takapuna
  • Presales $23-$28
  • Door sales $27-$32



Kate Ward-Smythe


Jubilation is people from all walks of life, coming together to sing songs from all walks of life, reflecting universal themes of struggle, salvation, redemption and LOVE.

The gospel according to Jubilation is love. Love of the naked voice. Love of losing ourselves in a sea of harmony. Love of bringing a gospel sensibility to songs from all genres.

After 20 years firmly bedded in the gospel tradition, this Auckland-based choir is branching out in the same way gospel left the fields and found a city groove.

Our new repertoire interprets artists like Prince, The Beatles and the songs of founding members Jean McAllister and Rick Bryant and places them comfortably alongside old gospel favourites by Blind Willie Johnson, Thomas A Dorsey and that wunderkind ‘Trad’.

It’s a groovy mix of the divine and the profane; the sweet and the raucous; Americana meets Aotearoa.

For most in this urban vocal collective, singing is not a day job, it’s a labour of love; the way we choose to express ourselves, be together with people we enjoy and be a part of something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

For the performing artists in Jubilations’ ranks, it’s all of the above plus the chance to branch out and work a different artistic muscle; where else would you hear NZ theatre icon Jennifer Ward-Lealand The Atamira CNZM let loose in a gospel quartet Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody, or actor/writer Fiona Samuel MNZM melt hearts on the traditional folk song Poor Wayfaring Stranger, or entertainer extraordinaire Jackie Clarke MNZM bring the house down with vintage Tom Waits.

Audio Culture/Iwi Waiata has just done a full profile on one of our lesser known singers, Jim Hall, whose long and illustrious career in the NZ/Aotearoa music industry includes gigs with Cilla Black, Sharon O’Neill, Boh Runga, Split Enz, Dave Dobbyn and so many more. And all those young singers on XFactor NZ back in the day? It was Jim’s sweet touch as Musical Director that helped them on their vocal journey.

Jubilation strives to live in that magic place where music really leaps off the stage and into the hearts of the audience.

By marrying absolute attention to detail from the choral tradition to the exhilarating freedom of soloists lost in improvisation, Jubilation creates a truly unique, soulful rock ‘n’ roll experience for audiences of all ages.

As part of Auckland Fringe 2021, these concerts represent the crossroads that Jubilation had to face after our Founder, the legendary Rick Bryant as well as long-standing soloist Pete Kirkbride, passed away within a week of each other in December 2019.

Both much-loved men told Jubilation they wanted to see the choir continue and thrive but when Covid hit, we thought it was all over for choirs everywhere.

However, we came together for a “blue-skies” planning session between Lockdowns and now Jubilation has new songs, arrangements, singers, plus a concert format and opening, driven by a rejuvenated music group and choir.

If there were an upside of Covid for Jubilation, it would be that 2020 gave us the time and space to find our new gospel.


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