On Thursday 21 August, a young group of rowdy and excited singers awaited the bus that would take them to the competition they had been preparing for all year – the Big Sing competition. The ‘Macleans Chorale’ would be singing in 2 sessions among 23 other choirs that would determine our place in a category – bronze, silver, gold or, the ultimate placing, platinum. Whilst we were getting pumped and ready to roll, waiting for our bus, it was found out that the bus hadn’t been booked.
This was the start to 3 hectic, long days in the Town Hall listening to top choirs show off their pieces. Thursday flashed by and then it was Friday, the day of our first performance. The Macleans Chorale was to perform ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ by Samuel Barber, ‘One Perfect Rose’ by Anthony Ritche and ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Bart Howard, arr. Gwyn Arch and adapted by Gina Sanders first thing in the morning. We flew through them with high hopes and thought we did spectacularly when considering that more than half of the choir had been taken over by sickness and sore throats. A highlight of that day was the flash mob carried out on unsuspecting innocent civilians, ‘Ka Nna Yo Morena’, a South African song was unleashed onto the victims of the public and was filmed for the choir celebrations later.
On Saturday we came back fresh and after a few performances strolled onstage to sing ‘An die Sterne’ by Robert Schumann and ‘De Punta y Taco’, a traditional Chilean song, arr. Ward Swingle and adapted by Gina Sanders. With both of these being non-English pieces, we really had to feel the meaning of these two songs and sing from our souls. After the final session of the competition some of the Macleans students opted to watch the New Zealand Secondary Schools Choir and were awed by their sense of unity and professionalism.
Fast forward to 6:30 in the evening, the time of the Gala Concert and the results. On the edge of our seats, we anxiously waited until Macleans College was called out… a bronze award! We were very pleased with our result because we persevered even through the struggles. The rest of the night was spent celebrating and singing massed songs. Finally, an exhausted bunch of school kids stumbled on the bus and one German was lost. We eventually made it to our beds in one piece.
The Big Sing 2014 was an incredible experience. Many thanks to accompanists Tina Sun, Harry Wu, Robert Hudson, Minah King, Charles Sun, Jack Nolan, to Mr Weeks and Mrs Petersen for their organization, Gina Sanders for the help and conduction throughout this whole year and the whole choir for putting in the dedication and love to make everything come together.
Written by Varya Pavlova. Edited by Keniel Yao.
Sure on this Shining Night
One Perfect Rose
Fly Me to the Moon
An Die Sterne
De Punta y Taco