Focus on Our Soloists – Martin Penhale

Martin’s involvement as our tenor soloist started during 1995.  He auditioned first for Ruth Sandercock and the intimidating Music Committee with one of the most difficult solos “How beautiful upon the mountains”.  Overcoming  a bundle of nerves, he was accepted.  Maybe it was the recommendation of departing soloist Tasso Bouyessis and Barbie Rennison or the fact that his singing teacher was the legendary former soloist, Norma Hunter.

Martin is most appreciative of the support in those early nervous days that he received from Ruth Sandercock, Ruth Klose and Paul Fitzgerald  and in later years Lyn Stevens.  He was advised to concentrate on the words and the message.  Ruth Sandercock revealed that she would sometimes pray for him before the solo, whether she was accompanying or in the congregation, and especially if he was labouring with a difficulty. That really made a difference.

“ It has been a wonderful experience over the years trying to improve the voice, working on conveying the message and having the loving support of the Adelaide Church members.”

Martin’s musical career started during his final year at Norwood High School, singing and murdering the role of Lieutenant Cable in “South Pacific”.

He then joined University choirs and took up Single Study lessons at the Elder Conservatorium of Music with Rae Cocking.

He has sung with the semi-professional Adelaide Chamber Singers since 1994 touring overseas several times.  Some of the highlights have been winning the Pavarotti “Choir of the World” Trophy at the Llangollen Music Festival in Wales in 2013, singing in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and singing with the Tokyo Chamber Choir in the Tokyo International Music Festival.  They also sang at the Memorial Service for Sir Donald Bradman in St Peter’s Cathedral with many millions of Indians watching on TV.

Although he prefers religious music Martin has also been in backing choirs for John Farnham, Josh Groban, Michael Crawford, Andrea Bocelli and the Hilltop Hoods.

Another singing highlight was joining the St Francis Xavier Cathedral Choir tour of Europe in 1991 when they sang for the Pope in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

He has enjoyed performing on stage over the years, with regular appearances until recently in the State Opera Chorus.

In his spare time, Martin works as a lawyer, loves reading, learning languages and spending time at Middleton.

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