Westlake Wins Platinum Award at 2016 Big Sing

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

Young Men In Harmony

By Azarish Ali

Thought to have originated from American Barbers entertaining their customers during the 1830s, Barbershops are conventionally an all-male or all-female quartet branded by ‘A Capella’ singing with three voices harmonising to the melody of a fourth voice.

The Westlake barbershop quartet “Virtutti”, (Nick Curry, Matthew Bennett, Blake Scanlen and Anthony Ji) has had a long and successful history. This year, yet again, “Virtutti” gained the rank of Auckland Champions in the annual ‘Young Singers In Harmony’ competitions. This is the sixth consecutive year in which they have achieved this grade. In addition to the success of “Virtutti” an additional Westlake Boys quartet named ‘Deez Notes’ competed in the YSIH competition. Due to complications, ‘Deez Notes’ was unable to participate in the Auckland division and were forced to become a ‘Wildcard’ entry in the Hamilton division. They performed to a very high standard and emerged with the highest score in that division.

Both quartets have been selected to compete in the national finals, which is set to be held in Wellington on the 14th of September 2016, and are working diligently to produce their greatest sound in hope to not only represent the school but also create beautiful music.

Westlake Production “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, 26-30 July 2016

What: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
When: 26-30 July, 7.30pm – plus one Matinee on Saturday 30 July at 2.30pm (first week in Term 3)
Where: Westlake Boys Auditorium
Tickets: Adult $20; Student/Child $15; Family $50 – click here to order your tickets now!

In 2016 the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of the passing of arguably the greatest dramatic writer who ever lived: William Shakespeare. Westlake Boys’ and Westlake Girls’ have therefore combined once again to bring you William Shakespeare’s most popular and enduring comedy: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

This “…Dream”, however, will be quite different, as the production will incorporate both Physical Theatre and Tikanga/Te Ao Māori, to bring audiences a version of the play that is youthful, vital, energetic, playful and truly bicultural.

Unusually, the production will be played with the audience on three sides, partly simulating the experience of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre. Furthermore, the first row of each of the three audience tiers will be “Rumpus Zones”, allowing audience members close contact with the actors, as if they were groundlings at the Globe Theatre.

The production is brought to you by the same students and creatives who staged the thought-provoking and multi-award winning “Assassins”, by Stephen Sondheim, in 2015.

Click here to order your tickets now!

Cast List

Mechanicals/Commedia Troupe
Hannah Clarke – Quince 1
Nick Curry – Quince 2
Joe Jackson – Bottom (all shows)
Sungmin Lee – Thisby (all shows)
Joshua Wang – Snug (lion) 1
Rafa Yam – Snug (lion) 2
Zach Klein – Snout (Wall) 1
Cody Stott – Snout (Wall) 2
Daniel Paek – Starveling (Moonshine) 1
Colby Wilson – Starveling (Moonshine) 2
The Lovers
Sarah Fouhy – Helena 1
Izzy Shield – Helena 2
Jessica Kim – Hermia 1
Ashley Wells – Hermia 2
Josh Song – Lysander 1
Daniel Lough – Lysander 2
Connor Charlesworth – Demetrius 1
Dylan Sommerville – Demetrius 2
The Fairy Kingdom
Melina Ariyani – Titania 1
Eimear Kelly – Titania 2
Jordan Te Aukura – Oberon 1
Abram Mathew – Oberon 2
Grant Zent – Puck 1
Angus Kelsey – Puck 2
Will Page – Puck U/S
Holly Powell – Moth 1
Emma Ormsby – Moth 2
Thira Syrkaul -– Mustardseed 1
Will Page – Mustardseed 2
Grace Abplanalp – Peasblossom 1
Grace Huxford – Peasblossom 2
Minnie Clemence-Levi – Cobweb 1
Erin Nugent – Cobweb 2
Emma Buckley – Fairy
Amy Baxter – Fairy
Emma Aitchison – Fairy
Sally Stroobant – Fairy
The Court
Matt Bullock – Theseus (all shows)
Laith Saeed – Egeus 1
Lily Davis – Egea 2
Paris Jagger – Hippolyta (all shows)
Megan Wilkie – Hippolyta U/S
Kirsten Daly – Philostrate (all shows)
Megan Wilkie – Philostrate U/S

Ensemble: Aidan Bonneau; Caitlin Sloane; Emma McGuigan; Georgia Calverley; Helen Zhang; Katie Yoon; Mae Everett; Milla Paterson; Nadia Saeed; Satine Finer-Neuhausen; Stefani Shaw; Sydney Clough; Allie Budge; Carmen Ellis; Jess Curry; Jessie Scott; Izzy Palmer; Kaylin Jacobs; Ruhi Dawad; Samantha Selby; Andre Vachias; Megan Wilkie and Matt Bruce.

A Midsummer Night's Dream poster Zach Keenan

Big Sing Preview Concert, Monday 13 June, 7.00pm, Westlake Boys Auditorium

What: Big Sing Preview Concert
When: Monday 13 June, 7.00pm
Where: Westlake Boys Auditorium
Entry: Free

The 2016 Big Sing Regional heats, featuring the award winning choirs from Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls Schools, are fast approaching.  To give you a taste of what’s in store in the regional competition, you are invited to come along to the free Big Sing Preview Concert, held in the Westlake Boys Auditorium on Monday 13th June at 7.00pm – the eve of the Big Sing Regional Competition.

TBS-logo-2016-1The Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls choirs include:

  • Choralation
  • Voicemale
  • Cantare
  • Momentum
  • Nota Bella
  • En Masse

With Special Guests: Manawanui – Te Kura Taumata o Panguru

All groups will perform their short Big Sing regional programmes.  All Westlake parents, students and the wider Westlake community are invited to come along to enjoy an evening of uplifting and entertaining music.

The Big Sing Regional Competition runs from 14-16 June in the Auckland Town Hall. Tickets for the evening gala concerts on each of those nights are available from Ticketmaster or by phoning 0800 111 999. Prices $19 – $23. Click here for the Big Sing Auckland timetable.