The curricular and co-curricular music programmes at the College are well resourced. 

Students have access to a purpose-built Music Centre which boasts a central rehearsal auditorium, three large ensemble rooms, a keyboard lab, two classrooms and nine soundproof studios, each with its own piano. There are 13 pianos in the department including a Kawai K5 Grand Piano in the atrium.

Saint Kentigern Senior College Music Programmes.jpg

Every student taking Senior College music as an examinable subject is provided with a copy of the latest version of ‘Sibelius’ to use for composition, arrangement and instrumentation tasks.

The large number of students who play musical instruments to a high level provides examination students with outstanding group performance opportunities.

The College has a well-resourced itinerant music programme offering students lessons on a wide range of instruments as well as vocal lessons. These students train for the large number and varied range of instrumental groups and ensembles that both perform and compete throughout the College year.

There is also a very strong choral programme that has allowed our choirs to achieve at a high level in recent years.

A distinctive and appealing feature of the music programme is the Pipes and Drums. The band, one of only three in New Zealand Colleges, is an integral part of many events in the College calendar.

The unique skirl of the bagpipes can be heard at many of our College functions from prizegivings to rugby matches.

The College ensembles are also fortunate to be able to undertake a number of local, national and international tours. In recent years, musical groups and choirs have undertaken successful overseas tours to Singapore, USA/Canada and Argentina, whilst the Pipes and Drums tour regularly to Scotland and were also invited to take part in the Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland.




Many students take part in the itinerant music programme, taking advantage of the specialist music staff who provide lessons each week on a wide range of instruments. These may be students who are learning a musical instrument for the first time, or others who are already proficient on one instrument but seek to gain new skills on another. As a result, there are a number of students who play in more than one of our performance groups playing a different instrument in each. Over a number of years, our Ensembles have flourished and won Awards at the annual KBB Festival.

In addition to the traditional competitions, we also have a growing number of students who enter the SmokefreeRockquest with good results for our Rock musicians.

The annual calendar is full of music events with opportunities for students to perform both individually or as a group at either small evening gatherings, to encourage confidence in our learners, or in significant concerts for large audiences. In recent years, the College has staged a themed musical evening where our own musicians combine with invited professionals to present a top programme of entertainment.

For our most advanced musicians, the highlight of the year is the Saint Kentigern Solo Music Competition. A series of auditions brings 12 soloists in four categories to the stage in front of top class judges from the music industry to compete for the coveted title of Soloist of the Year.

Whether a student learns music to become a top performer, to enjoy the camaraderie of making music as a group or simply for personal pleasure, there are many musical avenues to explore in the Saint Kentigern Music Department.

Large Ensembles:

  • Concert Band
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Big Band
  • Stage Band
  • Wind Band
  • String Ensemble


Small Ensembles:

  • Jazz Combos
  • Rock Bands
  • Chamber Groups


Choir camp early each year sets the groundwork for our Premier auditioned choir, Kentoris, to expand their repertoire. Vocal coaching and the exploration of new works prepare them for their first performance early in the year at the College Open Day.  

Alongside our auditioned choir, there are other choirs for students with a love of singing. Menasing, our powerful, award winning Boys' choir and Musettes, our stunning Girls' choir bring students of all ages together for both performance and competition. Our Massed Choir brings together students of all age groups who love to sing. 

The itinerant music programme at the College provides tuition for students who wish to hone their choral skills and during the year there are many opportunities for our vocalists to perform either solo, as part of a small group or full choir at a number of performance evenings. 

Our choirs enter in the Auckland Regional section of the New Zealand Choral Federation's BIG SING competition held in the Auckland Town Hall each year where our performances are regularly commended at a high level. 

Our top vocalists make a commanding presence in their leading solo roles in our annual musical. 

There is a further choral event on the annual calendar that is enjoyed by an even larger number of vocalists. Our annual, sell-out House Music Evening brings six large House Choirs along with a choir from Bruce House, our boarding facility, to the stage, all vying for the coveted House Music Cup. This evening is a huge amount of fun that gives a large number of students the chance to discover the love of singing and the thrill of performing in a professional venue.


The Pipes and Drums of Saint Kentigern

The skirl of the bagpipes, the beat of the snare drums; these sounds hold a special place in the hearts of Scots, those of Scottish descent and our own extended Saint Kentigern family. 

Saint Kentigern College may be on the other side of the world and far removed from the Scottish Highlands, but it is irrevocably linked to a Scottish ancestry with which we closely identify; students, staff and families alike. The sound of our Pipes and Drums stirs our blood; it connects us to one another, it connects us to the past. 

Since they first paraded in 1958, the Saint Kentigern Pipes and Drums have taken on the role of cultural ambassadors for Saint Kentigern; performing at ceremonial occasions on all campuses, welcoming guests to the College and lending support to our top sporting teams at important events. 

One of the highlights of the College year is the annual Ceilidh that brings the Saint Kentigern community together for a hugely enjoyable evening of traditional Scottish country dancing along with a superb dinner of Scottish fare. Diners are led into dinner by the Pipes and Drums and are treated to a spine-tingling drum fanfare. Likewise, the Pipes and Drums are in attendance to lead the parades at our two primary College celebrations — Celtic Day at the Boys’ School and Flora McDonald Day at the Girls’ School. 

In addition to performances on campus, the band regularly appears in public in and around the Auckland area and enters competitions each year at local and national level where the band is always recognised with an award. 

The band also regularly travels much further afield to compete - when they make their pilgrimage to Scotland to tour, perform and take part in Scottish competitions and Tattoos. 

Wearing the Hunting McFarlan tartan in honour of our founding Headmaster, the Pipes and Drums are a special cultural feature and a proud tradition at the College. Saint Kentigern is one of only three Colleges in New Zealand to offer tuition in both Piping and drumming.