Students’ voices soar at The Big Sing


On Thursday 14th of June Nayland choir students arrived home from Blenheim happy and proud of the results they had achieved that day.

They had just competed in the regional round of The Big Sing, New Zealand’s national secondary schools choral competition.

The competition consists of choirs from all across the country coming together and singing up to three pieces to showcase their skills and contend against other schools in their region. A few top choirs are chosen from the regional competitions to compete at nationals, this year to be held in Wellington from August 30th to September 1st.

Nayland College has three choirs: Sotto Voce (Girls Choir), Augmented (Boys Choir), and NayCol Chorale (the mixed gender choir). This year the choirs did exceptionally well; NayCol Choral received a Commended Award, Sotto Voce also received a Commended Award and placed 2nd in the Art Music and Other Styles categories, and Augmented received a Highly Commended and placed 1st in NZ song and 1st equal in Other Styles.

The choirs are directed by Nigel Weeks – (Augmented and NayCol Chorale) and Zoe Bennett – (Sotto Voce). Mr Weeks thoroughly enjoyed the day. “My favourite part of the day was perhaps the rapturous applause the boys got after performing Leaning on a Lamp Post.” 

He said there was a team feel to the choirs, and that all three choirs gave it their best. He thought the students were well-behaved, happy and focused, representing Nayland very well. Another highlight of his day was that he didn’t have to go on the bus!

The choirs put in a lot of extra preparation and work before the event and it definitely paid off. “The students realise you only get out of something what you put into it,” Mr Weeks said.  As described by student Liv Williams, rehearsals were “Intense. Everyday. Intense.” She felt the energy and excitement of the performance made everyone step up on the day and describes it as the best they had ever performed.

To Mia Faulkner the venue – The ASB Civic Theatre – was amazing. She said the event ran very smoothly and professionally. 

Year 13 student Harry Stocker’s favourite song was Leaning on a Lamp Post. “I mean that is just the best piece of all time.” He also felt the choir students represented the school well. “We didn’t do anything too stupid,” he joked.

Student Leader Stuart Lowe agreed, feeling that over the last three years the choirs have become fierce competitors. “We have a real chance to go to the finals and people have a high opinion of Nayland College .” His favourite moment was finding out that the Boys Choir (who he described as the “underdogs”), ended up placing highly. 

The next step for the choirs is their Melbourne Music Tour in August. There they will perform in the Victorian Music Festival and attend workshops around Melbourne, a wonderful experience for all the students. They still have some work to do before then, but Mr Weeks is very confident they will be amazing when the time comes.

He would love more people to come and be involved the choir, as he thinks singing is becoming a tradition at Nayland College, and feels it is common now for music students to aim for excellence in all areas.  In the words of Mia Faulkner – “Join the choir!”

By student reporter – Sophie Hampson