The massed choir, Troppi, performing ‘The Dream Isaiah Saw’

Three days ago, the Macleans choirs of the Macleans College Chorale (MCC), Aria, and Knights of the Castle participated in the annual Big Sing Festival at the Auckland Town Hall.

The Big Sing is organised by the New Zealand Chorale Federation (NZCF) and hosts a variety of festivals all over the country for the choral industry.

MCC is known as the school’s premier choir and intends to secure a place for the Big Sing Finale, results which will be released at a later date. Aria and Knights of the Castle are the no-audition all-comers choirs for girls and boys respectively.

The Chorale performed Lebenslust (Schubert), Perseus (Kristopher Fulton), and Malie! Tagifa! (trad. Samoan, arr. Steven Rapana). The choir worked with Steven Rapana for Malie! Tagifa! which you can read here.

We have worked so hard on our pieces and it’s so great to be able to perform it in the Town Hall and to listen and be inspired by all the other amazing choirs. I love performing with them and our traditional dance party before the Gala was just the cherry on top!

— Chloe Lam (Upham), second-time Big Sing participant, first-time MCC member

Aria performed Bringers of Noise (Kyle Pederson), I See a Star (Greg Gilpin), and Tai Aroha (Anaru Kupenga, arr. Angel Swasbrook). Knights of the Castle performed Flying Solo (Philip Silvey), Si Manu La’iti’iti (trad. Samoan, arr. Steven Rapana), and TaReKiTa (Reena Esmail).

MCC and Knights of the Castle entered for the Leo Pasifika Award and Aria entered for the Te Tohu Manu Waiata Award.

The Chorale were the first to arrive at the festival for the morning session, which they performed in.

When Aria and Knights of the Castle arrived for the afternoon session, the students were quickly thrust into a soundcheck with the organist, Soomin Kim, for their massed choir Troppi (Italian meaning ‘too many’). They were the first to perform in the afternoon session and sang The Dream Isaiah Saw (G Rudolph).

Big Sing for me was a magical experience. My favourite part about Big Sing was getting to hear all the beautiful sounds of the different choirs who I know all put in a lot of hard work and effort just like us. I would definitely want to go to Big Sing again if I get the chance.

— Chien-Ling Liu (Kupe), first-time MCC member

All the students participating in the festival enjoyed a day of chorale music. Some notable highlights were that of the Auckland Grammar School choir Grammarphonics and their lack of a conductor, the Rosmini Chamber Choir and their iconic Mambo Italiano (Bob Merrill, arr. Jill Gallina) with the pinched fingers, and the combined choir of Carmel College and Rosmini College—Carmini—performing Someone to Watch Over Me (George and Ira Gershwin, arr. Jay Althouse) with a rose proposal by the male soloist to the female soloist.

After the afternoon session, the students had time to eat dinner out in the city until the Gala Concert.

At the Gala Concert, MCC performed Malie! Tagifa!, Aria performed Bringers of Noise, and Knights of the Castle performed Si Manu La’iti’iti. When the concert came to a close, all the school choirs performed the massed piece Ka Waiata (Richard Puanaki).

It’s my last Big Sing with Knights of the Castle—I’ve been doing it for five years, so I got emotional. Knights of the Castle has changed so drastically; it used to be just a bunch of guys doing karaoke in a music room and now it’s become something more. I’m just glad that I had that time and the memories.

— Joshua Leevers (Kupe), music leader of Knights of the Castle, third-time MCC member

Despite the long day for many of our students, the first day of the Auckland festival was a success. Many thanks to the teachers, conductors, managers, and parents whose guidance would not have made this trip possible. We wish the best for the choirs and their prospects for future NZCF events.

June 23rd, 2023
Clarissa Oblefias

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