Throughout the Wellington region, secondary school choirs are currently working away feverishly preparing for their big moment in their choral calendar. That big moment is The Big Sing Wellington Regionals, which take place at The Michael Fowler Centre on June 18 and 19. This year will be one of the largest on record, with 40 school choirs signed up to take part – including new choirs from Paraparaumu College and Wellington High School.
The Big Sing has been a firm fixture on the choral calendar in regions throughout New Zealand for over 30 years. In Wellington it has developed a special position, with a supportive festival-like atmosphere amongst the entrants, and incredibly high participation rates. 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 2017 with amazingly diverse repertoire presented: from tender renditions of choral favourites, to adrenalin packed showtunes, and even completely new original compositions.
At the conclusion of each day’s proceedings, this year’s Adjudicator (renowned singing specialist Judy Bellingham) 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 finalist choirs for the national The Big Sing Finale later this year. Last year two Wellington choirs were selected: Cantala from Wellington East Girls’ College (directed by Brent Stewart), and Blue Notes from Tawa College (directed by Isaac Stone). Each went on to secure Silver awards in the 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 ($16/$10 plus booking fee).