“He who sings scares away his woes”- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
I have had the most amazing experience over the past couple of days this week! I can’t begin to describe how much I enjoyed it but Boy, has it been busy!
So, just a little background info on the situation so you’re not completely lost on what I am talking about. I am part of a mixed choir at my school called Skat-A-Tak (meant in the way scat is like the vocal improvisation using no words but noises) and the ‘Tak” is for Takapuna Grammar, my school name. Many of us believe it is a slightly unfortunate name and to prove this point quite clearly, the MC at the competition even kindly, though accidentally, called up Shat-A-Tak which was incredibly unfortunate but hilarious at the same time. What can I say, we love to entertain…
Anyway, this choir has been working all year up to this point towards a national choral competition called The Big Sing at the Auckland Town Hall which is something that I have taken part in with Skat-A-Tak for 3 years and have loved it every single year.
Basically, the competition is set up into different sections: Regionals, which is what I took part in this week, and Nationals which is the next level up. However, for the amount of schools that are in the region of Auckland, the amount of participating choirs is quite impressive and I was lucky enough to see 20+ of them perform on Thursday night at the Gala Concert which is where the results of who will be going through to Nationals are revealed.
Each choir does three songs of three different categories: a Pacifica or Maori piece, a classical piece and a piece of another style of music that includes pretty much anything. Our choir chose three songs of quite different natures: Te Aroha (which means ‘love’ in Maori), Ave Maria, a standard classical song, and Brand New You from the musical 13. At this point, I couldn’t really pick a favourite of these three songs because I grew to like them all so much but Brand New You really was a crowd pleaser! We had a standing ovation at the Gala Concert and I literally could not stop smiling, so much so that my cheeks began to ache by the end!
Usually, the Gala Concert takes place in the Auckland Town Hall which is at the top of Queen Street and houses a magnificent organ that I posted a picture of on Instagram yesterday. It really is something to behold and the acoustics in the Town Hall are great because it is not too big and the wooden rises at the back on the hall in front of the organ push the sound forward. This is why I was a little disappointed to discover that the Gala Concert that concludes the regional competition on Thursday, would be taking place at the Aotea Centre which is pretty much next door to the Town Hall but is certainly much larger and therefore I thought that it gave less of an impressive sound, but it was good all the same. Every year, the Gala Concert tickets are on sale to the public and I would seriously recommend that next year you buy a ticket or two because I think that you will be pleasantly surprised!
I decided to make a blog post about this because it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and not only did I get to witness such a thing but I also got to spend the time with my friends and get to know the people in my choir a little better, creating even stronger bonds between us which I think is very important for a choir of such a small size.
Results-wise, we did not get through to nationals. However, we are the proud owners of the best Auckland “Other Styles” song (that was Brand New You), which we are very stoked with and I am kind of not surprised because we definitely got one of the biggest applauses after performing it, so we should really get some credit for that, should we not? Also, on a separate note, our junior choir Taka Crooners got the Best Junior Choir in Auckland!!! We were all so, so proud of winning this particular award because this group was only created this year and their abilities are flying high up there, something of a great achievement for students of Years 9 and 10.
I know that many people associate choirs with losers and nerds but by looking at the people who take part, my perceptions of the choral world has really changed and I wish that everyone else could see how amazing it really is. Choirs aren’t just about singing hymns about God, they are about a sense of community and mainly just enjoying singing! That’s the kick that I get out of it, I love to sing and ultimately having a good time is the most important aspect of it, an aspect that is always appealed to every year by partaking in The Big Sing. I am very sad that next year will be my last year, but that gives me all the more reason to sing my heart out and finally get through to Nationals for once and for all. Fingers crossed!!
I must say, I am so glad that this week is over though, it has been incredibly busy with this and internal assessments and such.
I hope that you have all had a great week!