Big Sing requires big commitment
The annual Big Sing competition is fast approaching and Auckland’s secondary school choirs are polishing their performances to be heard above the rest.
More than 8000 students take part from across the country.
But for St Mary’s conductor Carmel Carroll, enjoying the experience is the most important part.
‘‘If you can speak you can sing,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s really good for the kids. They just get an experience where they have to get up in public and do something. It just builds their confidence hugely.
‘‘If you make young people feel good about themselves then you’re doing something right.’’
Carroll has two choirs warming their voices to perform on stage at the Auckland Town Hall from June 9 to 11.
Months of preparation have been spent learning their music and excitement is building.
‘‘A lot of kids focus very well if you give them a competition,’’ Carroll says.
‘‘If you give them something to aim for then they pull their act together, focus their energy really well and it’s wonderful to see.’’
Carroll is overseeing the St Mary’s choirs for her third year. Before training as a teacher the singer spent a long and successful career in the opera.
‘‘I hated [opera] as a child.
I thought it sounded like animals being killed,’’ she laughs.
‘‘I had a friend who just loved it and he insisted on playing me bits and pieces that he loved. Eventually I started to get that it means something and that it was quite moving.’’
Something clicked and she spent 30 years mastering the genre on the New Zealand opera circuit.
‘‘I realised you could actually make a living doing it, doing something that you loved.’’
Carroll is intent on passing her skills on to the next generation.
‘‘The key thing that I want them to take out of it is a feeling of selfesteem, satisfaction and a job well done.’’