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About 600 young singers will step into the limelight on stage at the Dunedin Town Hall in next week's secondary school choirs event, The Big Sing.
Rosemary Tarbotton, Dunedin-based co-ordinator for The Big Sing regional festival for Otago and South Canterbury, said 25 choirs were set to take part in the giant choral singing competition and showcase, to be held at the Dunedin Town Hall next Wednesday, June 12.
Competition sessions will be held at 9.15am and 1.30pm, and will be judged by Auckland-based choral director Jono Palmer.
These will be followed by a gala concert at 6.30pm.
Mrs Tarbotton was delighted at the response to the event from southern singers, which showed the ongoing popularity and enjoyment of choral singing among young people.
"It is a great experience for them to take part in and they love it,'' she said.
"And it can also help inspire them to carry on singing, which can provide a lifetime of enjoyment.''
Choirs from 11 Dunedin high schools will be competing in The Big Sing, including three choirs from Bayfield High School - male voices, female voices, and a mixed voice choir.
Bayfield High School teacher and choir director Philippa Hosken said the school had been working towards having the three choirs for the past five years.
"It's great to now have these three groups and the students are loving it,'' she said.
The Bayfield choirs were lucky to have the assistance of Secondary Schools Youth Choir member Jesse Hannan, experienced choral director Daniel Ieremia and University of Otago students Olivia Leonard and Ben Johnson as they prepared, Ms Hosken said.
"They are helping us to build up the strength of our choirs, and to grow our musical culture - it's lovely.
`Everyone is very excited and looking forward to taking part.''
Choirs will be competing for one of 24 places in The Big Sing finale, which will be hosted in Dunedin from August 29 to 31, as recommended by the adjudicator.
However, as there were so many top-notch choirs in New Zealand and competition was so fierce, the New Zealand Choral Federation had decided to also present a Cadenza event for the next tier of choirs, Mrs Tarbotton said.
"This is a very exciting development, as it will give the choirs another challenge to aim for, and will provide more chances to perform.''