Audiences are in for a treat next week when six choirs take to the stage at the Ashburton Event Centre for the Festival of Choirs.
Mid Canterbury Choir musical director Kath Woodley is also the musical director of the Mt Hutt College Choir who are preparing to sing in the New Zealand Choral Federation Big Sing regional event in the Christchurch Town Hall in early June.
Mid Canterbury Choir manager Carol Gunn said ‘‘Kath suggested providing an opportunity for her students and those from other secondary schools to sing in front a of big audience before the Big Sing and the idea of the festival came from her idea.’’
The Mt Hutt College Choir will be joined by Ashburton College Phoenix Chorus who are also participating in the Big Sing, Rolleston College choir, Decibels who are members of the Ashburton Variety Theatre, Canty Boys and the Mid Canterbury Choir joined by eight members of the MSA Men’s Choir.
Canty Boys is a quartet of university students from Christchurch with members being involved in the Christchurch Youth Choir and the National Youth Choir.
Rolleston College aren’t performing in this year’s Big Sing but are looking to taking part in 2024.
The Big Sing is the New Zealand Choral Federation’s festival for secondary school choirs from around New Zealand.
‘‘This is the first year of offering something like the festival. ‘‘We may look to making it an annual event,’’ Carol said. ‘‘For schools in some places, like big cities they get the opportunity perform in front of bigger audiences in big spaces prior to the Big Sing but not for areas such as Mid Canterbury,’’ Carol said.
The Mt Hutt College and Phoenix choirs will perform the numbers they are doing at the Big Sing.
All the choirs will perform songs before a mass choir performance. The mass pieces are What a Wonderful World and Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel and the Ukraine National Anthem
Carol said, ‘‘we are excited about offering something a bit different.’’ The festival will involve 150 singers.
The choirs are all practising separately with several practising since February. They will come together an hour before the performance to have a run through of the mass items.
People won’t be disappointed in the festival given the diverse range of music being performed.
Rolleston College Choir ‘‘will be performing non-traditional pieces, there will be a cappella, songs sung with the accompaniment of the grand piano and ones with backing tracks,’’ Carol said.
The Big Sing regional winners from Christchurch will join other regional winners to compete in the national Big Sing later in the year.
It is hoped that the students involved in the festival will see that when they have left college there are other opportunities to be involved in choirs and continue their singing.
Ticket prices for the one-off show are being keep low, thanks to the support of Paterson’s Funeral Services, Plains Rotary and NBS.
Tickets are on sale now at the Ashburton Event Centre, adults $20, gold card $18, student $10, family $50. Show starts on June 1 at 7pm.