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Fabulous Finale

As the dust settles on another highly successful Big Sing Finale, we’re keen to acknowledge the huge amount of effort on the part of everyone who contributed to its success. From our National Big Sing Coordinator Elizabeth Crayford and The Big Sing director John Rosser; to the NZCF Otago committee, stage crew and assistants headed up by Carol Randall and Rosemary Tarbotton;  technical manager Murray Cameron, tech wizard Phil Cahill and the video team at JX Live; our adjudicators Tim Sharp, Madeleine Pierard and James Tibbles; our generous sponsors and partners Creative NZ, Ministry of Youth Development, Tour Time, Trinity College London, SOUNZ, RNZ, Otago Community Trust, The Southern Trust, The Bendigo Valley Foundation, The Lion Foundation and the New Zealand Community Trust; and, by no means least, the 850 singers, directors and accompanists who gave us such inspiring performances!

We were delighted that much-loved New Zealand media personality, and former NZ Youth Choir member, Hilary Barry agreed to compère the gala concert. Hilary said she had a blast re-connecting with former Youth Choir buddies and altogether it was “rather a lot of fun”. She even brought along a TVNZ cameraman to record her working with Chorolation for her Hilary Helps segment on Seven Sharp. We think she did rather well, even if her co-presenter Jeremy Wells doubted her abilities at the end! If you didn’t catch it on Monday, you can watch Hilary Helps on demand here.

At the end of the gala concert, 5 gold, 12 silver and 7 bronze awards were presented, as well as a number of special trophies for performances in particular categories. You can read the results here.

And if you weren’t able to watch the live stream of the gala concert, or would like to listen again, tune in to RNZ Concert on 14 September at 3pm Saturday.

Speaking of RNZ Concert, American guest adjudicator Tim Sharp talked with RNZ Concert’s Upbeat presenter David Morriss ahead of judging at Finale and Cadenza, also sent us some further thoughts on his arrival back home in Oklahoma City:

What were some of the highlights from The Big Sing for you?
There were many moments where I felt the various choirs really “owned” a piece and wanted to tell us a story. I took great satisfaction in the wonderful discipline demonstrated by the choirs in all of the areas we emphasise with great choral singing.

The awards we gave out were as much about process as they were about production, and I was thrilled with the pedagogy I witnessed by so many of the choirs.

I was also moved when I saw the choirs respond so positively for each other. When they sensed that another choir had sung their hearts out, they responded with deafening cheers and support. I loved that level of empathy that they were showing within their choir and for other choirs. It was thrilling to witness.

How does The Big Sing compare to US choral festivals, in your experience?
The Big Sing is an amazing and unique event of the very highest level for any country, particularly because of its level of participation nation-wide. The fact that a festival can be a matter of participation from high schools across an entire country is unique.

In the USA, each of our fifty states have similar festivals within their own state, and our national association, the American Choral Directors Association, alternates with similar festivals on the regional level in the odd numbered years, and a national event on the even numbered years, but with an entirely different method of administration.

However, the goals and aspirations of The Big Sing are similar to what we are trying to accomplish in the USA towards the inspiration of excellence in choral singing with young choirs.