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NZCF THE BIG SING National Finale 2006

NZCF THE BIG SING National Finale 2006

24-26 August, Auckland Town Hall

29th August, 2006

Key Cygnetures, from Westlake Girls' High School in Auckland has become the second choir to receive the ultimate accolade in NZ secondary schools' choral singing, THE BIG SING Finale Platinum Award. Elise Bradley, the choir's director was thrilled for the choir because, she said, they had worked so hard in preparation for the Finale event. Key Cygnetures was also awarded the Auahi Kore, Maori Performance Award, which is presented for the best performance of a composition using Maori text.

Sixteen choirs from throughout New Zealand were selected from THE BIG SING regional festivals in June of this year, to compete for the coveted finale award placings. A total of 211 secondary school choirs took part. Professor Maria Guinand, from Simon Bolivar University, Caracas, Venezuela, Guy Jansen from Wellington and James Tibbles from the University of Auckland formed an expert panel of adjudicators, who graded each choir's performance during three days of recitals in the Auckland Town Hall.

Last year's Platinum Award winner, Bel Canto from Burnside High School in Christchurch, received a gold award, along with Con Brio from Villa Maria College, Christchurch, Craighead Diocesan Chorale from Craighead Diocesan School, Timaru and first time finalists, Wellington College Chorale. Bel Canto was also awarded The Hutt City Trophy, for the best performance of a New Zealand composition.

This year's SOUNZ Choral Composition Competition winner was Tabea Squire from Onslow College in Wellington. Tabea's winning composition 'Fragments' was performed for the first time at the gala concert on Saturday night by Twilight Tones from Tawa College, with a special guest chorister - Tabea herself.

One of the six invited guest choirs, Belle a Cappella from Waimea College in Nelson received the Youth Ambassador's Award. Chris Burcin their choir director said "It was such a spectacular experience for the choir. When else do you get hundreds of excellent choral singers in one room? We were so proud of our kids for getting the Youth Ambassador's Award-- it says so much that, out of all those kids who were so supportive, so well-behaved, so appreciative of each others' efforts and the joy of singing to an excellent standard simply for the sake of it . . . that our students were selected as exemplifying that spirit."

The Gala Concert Performance Prize went to The Fundamentals from Rangitoto College, Auckland for their hilarious interpretation of PDQ Bach's 'My Bonnie Lass':

After the awards had been presented, international adjudicator Maria Guinand conducted the massed finale choirs in a performance of 'Te Aroha' by Puoho Katene
The gala concert concluded with a moving rendition of the NZ National Anthem, sung by the massed choirs and audience and accompanied on the Town Hall organ by James Tibbles, the chairman of the adjudicating panel. This was followed by two spontaneous hakas from the boys of Christ's College and Havelock North High School The final balloon drop resembled the sound of fireworks as 672 choristers leapt at the opportunity to pop hundreds of balloons.

Maria Winder, THE BIG SING Finale coordinator said that there was an amazing sense of collegiality between the choirs. "The standard of performance was extremely high and the support and respect shown amongst the choirs was wonderful. THE BIG SING is a fantastic opportunity for choirs to learn from each other and to form friendships with others who share a passion for choral music. The quality of singing seems to get higher each year" she said.

The three day Finale event included 36 recitals in the Town Hall, four choral workshops, presented by adjudicators Guy Jansen and Maria Guinand and a social function and dinner for 700 students and choir directors. Daily lunchtime recitals were staged at Auckland City Art Gallery, Central City Library, The Atrium on Elliot and SKYCITY Metro. Morgan Dalton, Retail Operations Manager for The Atrium said he received wonderful feedback about the choirs' performances from members of the public and from retail tenants.

Concert FM recorded the recital sessions and gala concert and a commemorative CD will be compiled from these recordings. THE BIG SING Finale 2006 CD will be available soon and can be ordered by emailing office@nzcf.org.nz

Official photos of the finale choirs will soon be available on the following website: www.prophotography.co.nz

NZCF thanks The Edge, Creative New Zealand and Southern Trust for their generous financial support.

ENDS

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