Nayland’s musical talent has been given another boost after the mixed choir, NayCol Chorale, made it through the regional Big Sing Competition and were invited to perform at the Cadenza finale event, held in Timaru from the 15th-18th of August.
The choir of 30 students attended two days of workshops and then competed against ten other schools from around the South Island. It went on to become one of only three choirs to be awarded the top Excellence award.
The choir’s performance in the Gala Concert, held in Timaru’s Theatre Royal on the Saturday night, featured an interesting repertoire, including a Russian folk song and a Latin chant they had learnt during the previous two days.
Year 9 students Lani Kalapu and Pippa Sussex say that being members of NayCol Chorale is a big commitment but that it’s well worth it. Preparation for Cadenza included an intensive week of practices that built on the earlier hours and hours of practice for the Big Sing.
The pair were surprised and pleased by the award they received. “I wasn’t expecting it. I thought we’d get a Merit or Distinction at most but them we got an Excellence and it was a nice surprise,” Pippa said.
Other highlights for Lani and Pippa included the pre-performances practices with other choirs when they’d jam together, singing numbers from Queen, Elton John and John Denver. The spontaneous outbreak of Bohemian Rhapsody from torch-waving audience members waiting for the Gala Concert to begin was another high point.
For Nayland performing arts coordinator Sarah Luton, a memorable moment was seeing the choir pulling together. “Prior to their first performance, there were some nerves and tension backstage and Joseph Meleisea stepped up and pulled the choir together and gave them a reassuring pep talk which helped [them] to perform incredibly well together for the adjudicator.”
“I loved watching our Nayland students befriending and socialising with the other choirs, as well as supporting those other choirs in their performances. Our choir carried a truly positive spirit over the entire trip – towards one another as well as towards the other schools,” she said.
NayCol Chorale was supported by pianist Pauline Boyd, musical director Nigel Weeks, Nelson Civic Choir chairperson Sally Hallmark and Sarah Luton.