New Choral Director a little bit Rock 'n' roll

Date: 16 Mar 2023

Touring Australia with Oasis and opening for ACDC may not be ordinary antics for your average choir director – but Dilworth’s new Director of Choral Music Jacob Moore is anything but average.

Drummer of now disbanded Kiwi rock band The Checks, Jacob has travelled the world in the name of Indie rock. He’s toured Japan with Swedish punk band The Hives, he’s opened for REM, and he’s even been to the pub with Noel Gallagher. But despite living the rockstar life for well over a decade, his love of choral music has never waned.

“Choral music is absolutely my life and focus now,” says Jacob, who prior to joining Dilworth spent six years transforming the choral programme at Takapuna Grammar School. Not only did he get them back into the Big Sing Finale for the first time in years, but they’ve been among the top 24 secondary school choirs in the country ever since.

Training under New Zealand’s godmother of choral music, Dr Karen Grylls ONZM, Jacob sang in the University of Auckland Chamber Choir while completing his Bachelor of Music and currently sings in the globally acclaimed Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. (He also plays drums in a garage punk band!)

“Singing has always been an addiction for me, there’s so much to gain in a choir, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s about storytelling so you don’t only learn music, you learn about history and social culture, expanding your mind through the stories and struggles of others. Singing is magical and my goal is for as many people as possible to reap the rewards.”

Jacob’s first love was barbershop quartet. In his final year as a Takapuna Grammar student his quartet won the high school boys nationals, taking out the men’s national title the following year.

Dilworth was a drawcard for Jacob in terms of his next opportunity. “It’s such a special place as far as what it provides and it offers so much potential to work with students who are really keen to sing. Dilworth’s history of excellence and prestige is something students really buy into – Fortissimo holds great mana and is a huge motivator.”

Many in the elite choir have gone on to forge professional singing careers (including Joel Amosa, Filipe Manu and Samson Setu), providing great inspiration for younger voices coming up through the school. And although Covid-19 undoubtedly impacted Dilworth’s choral programme, Jacob has exciting plans to reinvigorate it.

“I want to dissolve the stigma around being into singing and create a culture where boys feel brave enough to give it a shot. I want to make as many students as possible realise singing is cool.”

There’s no doubt he’s the perfect man for the job.

“I tell my students you don’t have to be one type of person to sing. Singing in a choir satisfies the same part of my brain that playing in a punk band does. I think that’s my appeal as a teacher, I can relate to lots of different types of students through all the different musical experiences I’ve had.”

Does he miss the rockstar lifestyle? Not a bit.

“I feel lucky to do what I love every day, sharing my passion and opening up opportunities for my students. My goal is to get them to love music as much as I do – which is about as much as anyone could love it I reckon.”