What do you get when you put more than 900 secondary school students together for four days in Dunedin? You get a festival of fabulous singing, camaraderie, new friendships formed and old friendships strengthened, namely the 2016 NZCF Big Sing Finale.
This year saw 24 choirs, selected from more than 250 that participated in regional competitions around the country, come together to take part in the final competition and once again Westlake choristers came away with outstanding results. Westlake Boys’ choir, Voicemale, and Choralation, the mixed choir from Westlake Boys and Girls High Schools, both won gold awards, and Choralation were selected as winners of the Platinum Award – the top choir in the country – for the sixth time in eight years. Westlake Girls’ choir, Cantare, picked up a silver award.
Voicemale, directed by David Squire, was the only boys’ choir to receive a gold award. It was the third time the choir has won gold in the past four years, and the first time in consecutive years.
Choralation, with their director Rowan Johnston, also won the Tour Time trophy for Best Performance of a Classical Piece, for ‘Stars’ by Eriks Esenvalds. Sung in almost total darkness, this performance moved many of the audience and even some members of Choralation themselves to tears! Chair of the judging panel, Peter Watts, described it as quite remarkable. He said that the standard of all the choirs in the finale was outstanding, making it very difficult for the judges to choose an overall winner. He also commented on the wonderful atmosphere of excitement throughout the event and the spirit of support that all the choirs have for one another.
The Westlake students, their choir directors and accompanists were delighted with their achievements, a fitting reflection of their many hours of hard work throughout the year. Following the record four ‘Most Outstanding’ awards at the KBB Music Festival the previous week, the results in Dunedin perfectly rounded off arguably the most successful fortnight of music in Westlake history.
Watch Choralation’s performance of ‘Stars’ here:
and Voicemale’s performance of ‘Nishto V Poliushke’, a traditional Russian song, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCJiO851miY&list=PLi_Jyqd7KG2XBNZVmyqfJGkGDfIQOYu3A&index=23