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Choirs hit right note ahead of international events

Flagstaff Team

Well sung… Nota Bella choir director Elise Bradley and singers Aasritha Chavala (centre) and Isabel Lawes with the choir’s Recital by a Junior Choir award.

Choirs from Westlake Boys and Girls High Schools are looking forward to international competition after a successful three days at the Auckland regional round of the Big Sing Festival for secondary schools.
Westlake Girls premier choir Cantare was awarded the best recital for upper voices and the adjudicator’s award for best performance of a single work for their rendition of Gloria Kajoniensis.
The mixed choir from both schools, Choralation, won best recital for mixed voices while Westlake Boys choir Voicemale, directed by David Squire, came runner-up in the best recital for low voices award.
The Westlake Girls junior choir, Nota Bella, directed by Elise Bradley, won best recital for a junior choir for the third year in a row.

Top line-up… Westlake Girls head of music Fiona Wilson with student choir leaders (from left) Tara Yoo, Annah Mathew, Mina Tesimale, Abby Wang, Emily Sullivan, Katie Brown, Arnav Pillai, Saniel Dones, Declan Squire and Constantine Mata’afa.

The Auckland regional round, which took place at the Auckland Town Hall from 18 to 20 June, acts as a competition to select the best choirs to go to the national finale in August.
Choralation and Cantare are set to also perform at international competitions, with Choralation staying in Auckland for the World Choir Games later this month and Cantare heading overseas for the Bali International Choir Festival in a week’s time.
As well as competing in two categories at the World Games, Choralation will be part of special Matariki He Kāhui Reo concerts on 15 and 16 July with seven other choirs.
Each choir will represent a star of Matariki and be positioned in different sections of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, so the sound of each choir will come from a different direction, said Wilson.
Cantare are doing a choral exchange with the Kuala Lumpur Choral Academy in Malaysia prior to the competition in Bali, gaining experience and exposure to different styles, said Westlake Girls head of music Fiona Wilson.
Wilson, who directs both senior choirs, said the opportunity to perform at international events is massive for the choirs, providing exposure to different choral music.
“It’s really important for the students to get a world view of choral music.”
She said New Zealand choirs were often sheltered from different choral styles, so for Cantare to discover styles from the many Southeast Asian nations coming to Bali would be extremely valuable.
After the international competitions finish, the focus for Voicemale, Cantare and Choralation will be on The Big Sing Finale, in Wellington from 29-31 August.
Takapuna Grammar School choir Leonessa, has also been selected for the Big Sing Finale. It received an a capella award for a commendable unaccompanied performance in any genre at the regional event. With the school’s Chorale, it is also participating in the World Choir Games.

Wilson conducts Cantare at the Auckland Regional Big Sing event two weeks ago.

Local singers take part in world contest

The North Shore will be well represented at the World Choir Games, coming to New Zealand for the first time next week.
More than 11,000 singers from more than 30 countries will be brought together in Auckland for the event. Along with top school choirs (see story opposite), competitors include Sounds of the Shore, the only women’s barbershop choir in the area. A chapter of Sweet Adelines International, the choir specialises in four-part harmony standards.
The Games begin with a mass opening ceremony at Spark Arena on Wednesday 10 July. After a 10-day run, participants return to the arena for what is being billed as the biggest singing spectacular finale this country will see. 
Most competition venues are in the city, but some free spin-off Friendship concerts are being staged in the suburbs. Those for the North Shore are at St George’s Presbyterian Church in Takapuna on Friday 12 and 19 July at 2pm and at Mairangi Bay Arts Centre on Thursday, 11 July and Saturday 20 July, both at 11am. Programmes were yet to be finalised ahead of the Observer going to print.
The Games features varied chorale styles and combined song, dance and cultural performances.
For more details and tickets, see wcg2024.co.nz

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