The NZCF Otago Committee presented long-serving NZCF stalwart John Leslie with a Distinguished Service Award at the their AGM on Friday 18 May 2018 to recognise the contribution he had made to the Otago choral community and local committee over a period of more than 25 years.
John moved to Dunedin from Warkworth approximately 25 years ago and quickly became actively involved in the choral life of the city both as a singer and in a number of administrative roles. He sang in the City Choir Dunedin for a number of years and held key positions on the committee.
John became an active and hardworking member of the NZCF Otago committee when Margaret Wallace was chair and continued as secretary and treasurer with Carole Randall as chair until 2013. He was meticulous in every project he undertook and could be relied on to leave no stone unturned when planning major events such as the Big Sing. He acted as secretary and treasurer for three Big Sing Finales, which is a major task, and the organising committee always felt confidence in his ability to carry out his role with competency and a eye for detail.
In the wider Dunedin choral community, John was the administrator extraordinaire for the Southern Youth Choir from its beginnings until 2013. He took great interest in the students and the developing of talented young up and coming conductors such as Tecwyn Evans who has become a lifelong valued friend of John’s.
John also took on the major role of organising benefit concerts for Tecwyn Evans and Jonathan Lemalu. The town hall was packed for both events ensuring that both men were assured of the necessary funds to set them on their overseas musical careers.
John maintains a vital interest in choral events and is readily available to assist in events such as The Big Sing on front of house or transporting adjudicators to and from the airport.
He is held in high esteem by the Otago committee and choral community, and they are grateful for the time, interest and expertise he has given to further choral music and musicians in their region.
(From a citation prepared by Carole Randall on behalf of the NZCF Otago Committee)