Origins and History
Heaven Bent emerged out of an Auckland singing workshop led by a cappella ‘gospel guru’ Tony Backhouse in 1996. Inspired by the music, a group of participants decided to sing together on a regular basis. This group was eventually to form Heaven Bent.
The choir began to perform, encouraged by enthusiastic responses to early gigs at the Alleluyah Café and other venues. The exacting work of preparing for performances did not diminish the experience of singing “just for the joy of it”.
Over the years some very talented musicians have led us and we pay tribute to: Nick Prater, Louise Haywood, Rick Bryant, Jeni Little and Max Maxwell, Jill Haywood.
Under our current musical co-directors, Priscilla Collins and Shona Fisher, our focus on African American gospel music remains, while we continue to expand our repertoire and fine-tune our sound to include African, Maori and Pacific sacred songs, along with some of Phil May’s contemporary arrangements. Over the years Heaven Bent has sung at a huge variety of venues and events and the choir warmly supports a number of charity functions and fundraisers.
Auckland Anniversary Day Concert “Music in the Park”,Auckland Domain (2004)
The Auckland Festival AK05 and AK03
Rotorua A Cappella Festival (2003)
St. Colomba Choral Festival (2000)
Grey Lynn Festivals ((2000 and 1999)
Sweetwaters Revival Festival (1999)
Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival
WOMAD, Auckland 1999
Annual thanksgiving services for the National Transplant Donor Association, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, (1998 – )
Christchurch Earthquake Relief Concert (May 2011)
Child Cancer Charity Fundraiser, North Shore (2008)
Thanksgiving and Blessing of the Animals, SPCA, St. Matthews-in-the-city (2006-2011)
Trade Aid Concert, Botany Town Centre (2005)
Tsunami Relief Concert (2005)
Fundraising concert for the children of East Timor (1999)
Praise Be, TV One, (2008, 2005, 2003)
Documentary “The Waiting List” (2004)
The Mika Show (2003)