Westlake Boys and Girls students have joined forces to win the top award at the Big Sing competition for the fourth time in the last five years.
Their choir Choralation won platinum honours, as well as the Hutt City Trophy for best performance of a New Zealand composition.
The sold out final in Dunedin Town Hall was streamed live online to an audience of more than 16,000.
Westlake Boys choir Voicemale also won a gold award, the first time an all-male choir has won one in seven years.
A record 155 Westlake Boys students auditioned for the choir this year.
HOD music Warwick Robinson says they have students from every year level, from a range of cultural backgrounds, with different interests outside of the choir. One student took an early flight home from Dunedin to play in the first XV rugby final.
Westlake Boys and Girls have had a combined music department for 51 years.
The choirs have weekly rehearsals and student-run workshops, where the stronger musicians coach the rest of the choir.
The students also go on a camp together, which Mr Robinson says compresses three months of rehearsals into a weekend.
"It makes a big difference to the sound."
But training is not the secret to Westlake's success.
"None of those techniques are really tricks of the trade. I think what more sets Westlake apart is the tight knit nature of the music community," Mr Robinson says.
He says students are often in more than one music group and work well as a team.
"Even though they're not spending all week singing choral music, they're getting a broad range of musical experience."
Mr Robinson says Westlake's history of success does not put pressure on the students, but rather gives them strength to build on what has already been accomplished.
"They have high expectations of what they can achieve because people have done it before."
Only 18 choirs were selected to compete in the national final from a pool of more than 250 choirs and 9000 singers.
Kristin School also won gold and Rangitoto College picked up two silver awards.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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