Delightful Dolce take national title

16:00, Oct 23 2012
Dulce group
WINNING SOUND: Macleans College female barbershop quartet, from left, Nishaa Senarath-Dassanayake, 14, Krishna Sudhir, 17, Persis Darukkhanawalla, 17, and Shaanil Senarath-Dassanayake, 16, won the national title.

Macleans girls' barbershop quartet Dolce warbled their way to a national title.

The four students competed against 17 other secondary school girls' quartets from around New Zealand at the Young Singers in Harmony National Competition.

Persis Darukkhanawalla says this was the first year Dolce had competed together and they had aimed for a top five placing.

"Third place was announced, then second and we were like ‘there is no way we are going to get first, it's over' and then all we heard was Macl... and the crowd erupted."

She says their first performance together had left a lot of room for improvement and after regionals they did nothing but practise.

"Our first performance as a quartet wasn't great, it wasn't meant to be great but it at least gave us a feel as to what it is like to perform to an audience who knows about music."


The group says singing a four-part harmony a cappella requires a lot of practice to get the tuning right, the breathing synchronised and the nerves under control.

Shaanil Senarath-Dassanayake says for the month leading up to the nationals the quartet was practising every lunchtime and morning tea.

"We were practising to everyone we knew. We were even rounding up random friends of friends and saying ‘hey listen to us'."

Most of the girls are now in year 12 and have been singing barbershop since year 9 but they recruited Shaanil's 14-year-old sister into the fold this year.

"When we tried Krishna we were like ‘ohh it's blending' and that is the first sign of a good quartet and so we started singing together," Shaanil says.

A clash with Cambridge exams may prevent the quartet from going to Hawaii for the Sweet Adelines International quartet competition.

"But we don't have to give up hope, there must be some sort of provision for these kind of circumstances," Persis says. "It is a once in a life opportunity for us. We don't want to let it go just like that, we are representing our country, our community and our school."

Eastern Courier