Choirs bring home the gold

The NZCF Big Sing Finale is the national festival for the top 24 secondary school choirs selected from the regional competitions that take place around the country during June.

Due to Covid, the Finale has been cancelled the last two years, so it was a new experience for most singers in the choirs. For the first time since 2007, the festival was hosted in Christchurch, in the stunning acoustic of the recently refurbished Town Hall.

Westlake was well represented with singers from all three of our premier choirs:  Cantare (premier girls’ choir) Choralation (premier mixed choir) and Voicemale (premier boys’ choir). The singers travelled down on Wednesday 24 August and gave a performance at the Transitional Cathedral with other choirs from Wellington, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

The festival opened on Thursday 25 August and each choir presented two recitals over the three days. Performances were adjudicated by a panel of three experts – Jono Palmer, Judy Bellingham and Igelese Ete and all the recitals were livestreamed by Radio NZ, with many people from overseas tuning in. Once the judging was completed on Saturday, the choirs performed in a celebration Gala concert that evening, where Bronze, Silver and Gold awards were given, as well as three special music trophies.

Cantare and Choralation were both awarded Gold, Voicemale Silver and Cantare were thrilled to be presented with the Tour Time Trophy for Best Performance of a Choral Art Work. This trophy was for their performance of ‘Wir Eilen mit Schwachen’ by J. S. Bach, which was accompanied by chamber organ, bassoon, cello and double bass.  The New Zealand Secondary Schools Choir was also in residence in Christchurch and performed a fabulous concert on Saturday afternoon – this involved Madi Jagger and Bella Allan-Moetaua who are current members.

The singers enjoyed the intensity of the three-day festival, listening to choirs from around New Zealand and sightseeing in the beautiful city of Christchurch. Congratulations to Cantare and Choralation singers, as well as the team of staff: Fiona Wilson & Rowan Johnston (Music Directors), Cathy Bennett (Collaborative Pianist), James Harrison (Vocal Consultant), Kasey Lui (Music Administrator) and Rachel Carson (Supervision).

The Cantare and Choralation choir performances can be viewed on these youTube channels:




Pictured at top are Cantare’s Choir Leaders from left Tessa Rouse, Gemma May, Fiona Wilson (Director), Madi Jagger, Nikka Caraig and Stella Ranginui.