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Top Westlake Girls choir hits the high notes

Flagstaff Team

Sing stars… Westlake Girls Cantare choir pictured during an Anzac Day performance at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Cantare, the premier choir from Westlake Girls High School, is looking ahead to the Auckland regional round of the Big Sing Festival this month. Three times in a row it has been a gold-award recipient at national level of the annual competition run by the Choral Foundation, and it is again keen to excel.

A series of concerts and performances in the lead-up is helping tune up the singers in time for the festival on 24 June. Cantare will perform a free concert (along with six other Westlake choirs) at the Westlake Schools Combined Choral Concert on Tuesday 15 June at the Westlake Boys Auditorium from 6.30pm.

This follows the choir being invited to sing at prestigious events, including a recent performance with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at its Discovery Concert, and two performances at the Auckland War Memorial Museum as part of the Anzac commemorations on 25 April.

Choir director and head of music at Westlake Girls Fiona Wilson says she is excited for the choir to be performing again after most of their performances were cancelled last year due to Covid-19.

This included a planned international tour, with performances in Boston, Toronto and Carnegie Hall in New York.

“The cancellation of the US and Canada tour scheduled for April last year was devastating for the students,” she says.

“We were three weeks away from departing on what should have been the trip of a lifetime.” But the disappointment appears to have motivated the students still in the choir to make the most of every opportunity since, she says.

They were grateful for what had recently been possible in New Zealand.

The choir’s musical standard was noticeably stronger, despite disruption to rehearsals during lockdowns earlier in the year.

“We are really looking forward to be performing back on stage at the Auckland Town Hall and showcasing the depth of musicality in this choir,” she says of the looming Big Sing.

Cantare has another special date to look forward to in November, when it has been invited to perform in concert with the Royal New Zealand Navy Band for Armistice Day.

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