Boys in fine voice – ‘dresses’ and all
Eight years ago the boys at Dilworth were terrified of being in a choir – now they are singing sensations.
Dilworth director of choral music Claire Caldwell says finding enough boys to get the choir up and running was not easy.
‘‘Singing had a stigma attached to it which meant that most boys didn’t want to sing, but it was the principal’s passion so he decided to employ someone to get singing happening.’’
The boys were happy to sing so long as Caldwell didn’t refer to it as a choir – or make them wear ‘‘those dresses’’.
Once the group of young men known as the Dilworth Foundation Singers started practising, everything started to fall into place, she says.
‘‘Then we had a huge service of Thanksgiving at Holy Trinity Cathedral and guess what they had to do – wear the robes. I didn’t know how to break it to them.’’
But she says it ended up being a defining moment for the group.
‘‘From then on they were proud of what they were doing and there was no kind of social stigma attached to it.’’
Last year for the first time Dilworth made it to the national section of The Big Sing competition and picked up three awards.
‘‘Once you have had that kind of high level success it sort of just rolls because the boys want to do it again and again. It self perpetuates,’’ she says.
This year the boys are aiming high again and will be compet- ing at the Auckland regional section of The Big Sing competition from June 10 to 12.
She says a lot of hard work has gone into being ready for the highlight event which involves 70 choirs from 42 Auckland secondary schools.
‘‘Most of what we do here at school is all about The Big Sing,’’ Caldwell says. ‘‘The journey to The Big Sing is the focus of the first five or so months at school.’’
Also involved in are Epsom Girls Grammar, Diocesan School for Girls, One Tree Hill College and Mt Albert Grammar.
There will be a Gala Concert at the Auckland Town Hall at 6.30pm on June 12.
Musical success: Dilworth director of choral music Claire Caldwell started the school’s choir and now has a strong group.