Pass by any Wellington high school in the coming weeks and you may well hear the sound of glorious choral music echoing through the air. The reason behind that is The Big Sing Wellington Regionals – which takes place at the Michael Fowler Centre on June 11th & 12th. The secondary school singing competition, which has been running for over 30 years, will see over 1500 students taking part across 38 different choirs.
In Wellington it has developed a special position, with a supportive festival-like atmosphere amongst the entrants. Each choir will present three pieces in a 10-minute bracket during daytime sessions, including an art song and one with New Zealand or Pasifika origins. From those sets, they will select one item to perform as part of the evening’s blockbuster Gala concert. These categories are purposefully left broad enough for each school to bring their own style to what they present. This proved to be the case in 2018 with amazingly diverse repertoire presented from choral interpretations of modern musicals, through to motets that have been sung for centuries.
At the conclusion of each day’s proceedings, this year’s Adjudicator (renowned choral conductor and organist David Burchell) will have the task of awarding category prizes in an increasingly deep pool of talent. This will include awards for overall winners of each category, and special categories recognising the best overall student accompaniment, student-directed choir, and performance of a student composition.
The Big Sing event being held all around the country will also be used to find the 24 finalists for the national The Big Sing Finale later this year. Last year a near record five Wellington choirs were selected: Blue Notes from Tawa College, Cantala from Wellington East Girls’, Con Anima from St Patrick’s College, Viva Camerata from Rathkeale College & St Matthew’s Collegiate, and Wellington College Chorale. Each went on to secure either Bronze or Silver awards in the Finale. From 2019, choirs will also have the opportunity to be selected for The Big Sing Cadenza, a new competitive tier for choirs ranked immediately below those at the National Finale.
The wider public are encouraged to come along and support these talented choristers as they start what will hopefully be lifelong passions. The day sessions will begin at 10:30am and 2:00pm each day, with tickets available on the door ($5 per session, or $8 for both). The evening gala concerts will begin at 7:00pm with tickets available via ticketmaster ($20/$10 plus booking fee).
The schedule for both days can be found here.