Big Sing re­quires big prac­tice

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

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 self-es­teem, sat­is­fac­tion and a job well done.’’

St Mary’s con­duc­tor Carmel Car­roll is ex­cited to get her two choirs on stage at the Big Sing sec­ondary schools choirs fes­ti­val in June.

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