The Dunedin RSA Choir had its origin on the Gallipoli battlefield. It was during a lull in the fighting in 1915 that Dunedin soldier Jimmy McNish was captivated by the singing of the enemy in a trench a short distance away .
Young McNish was so impressed with the singing and he made up his mind that, if he survived the war, he would start a soldiers' choir back at home. Obviously he did survive, became an early member of the committee of the Returned Soldiers Association, and called a meeting of singers. Only nine turned up, but undeterred, McNish's encouraged friends from wartime days and by the end of 1919 there were 30 in the new choir.
For many years now the choir has numbered around 60, and has played an important and valued role in Dunedin City's cultural activities and the commemorative celebrations of significant historical events.
(Click Here for additional articles and information on Jimmy McNish and war history from 1914)
In 2012 we ran an internal survey, part of which asked members to describe the choir. While a large number identified, singing, love of music, love of choirs, there were equal numbers who thought camaraderie, fellowship, fun etc were critical to 'who we are'. Other comments included; community service, easy going, pride in the choir, shared enjoyment, military roots, keeping my voice humming, with one saying 'best thing I ever did was join the choir'.
We invite all members to actively contribute to the character of the Dunedin RSA Choir.
We sing a wide range of songs from light classical, to 'Welsh Male Voice Choir' arrangements, hymns, musicals, traditionals 'nonsense songs' and anything that we like. Some songs have been composed or arranged especially for our choir. Choir members are encouraged to take part in the song selection for upcoming events. Section Leaders invite members to choose their favourites from a variety of songs, with the most favoured put forward to be sung at the next concert.