Craighead Diocesan sang big at the Big Sing and walked away with two awards.
The competition's regional event was held in Dunedin earlier this week and Craighead's chorale won best performance of a New Zealand composition with E Moe Te Ra, while Eleanor McGechie, 17, won the most promising student conductor award for her work with the junior choir.
Chorale director Vicki McLeod chose a composition of E Moe Te Ra originally intended to be sung by a chorale.
"It's stunning," she said. "One of the judges actually composed it, which was a bit nerve-racking.
"But we managed to pull it off."
McLeod ensured the chorale had been talked through the meanings behind the words, right movements and enunciation by local woman Ani Haua.
"So they got the right feeling for the song," McLeod said.
The other prizewinner, Eleanor, thought it was a great opportunity to conduct the junior choir, especially as she is considering studying music next year.
"Who wouldn't want to? They are so cute," she said.
Eleanor said the junior choir gained a commended for their performances at the festival.
"They did really, really, well."
The Big Sing is the largest school festival in the world.
It features 10,000 students from 156 schools across the country, formed into 206 choirs.
There are three sections; New Zealand, classical and rock/jazz.
Craighead entered a junior choir, a 60-person school choir and the school chorale in the event.
The students all agreed their favourite act, apart from themselves, was the Otago Boys' High School-Otago Girls' High School amalgamation called Barock.
But their biggest threat was having the singing competition in the middle of flu season.
Eleanor said she was nervous in the leadup but scraped through with no health issues.
Fellow student Mint Boonprasit was not so lucky. She had to take medicine to clear up her throat on the day of the competition.
"I had to or else I wouldn't have been able to sing," she said.
It will be announced next week which schools will compete at the national Big Sing in Auckland in August.
Timaru Girls' High School also competed and won most improved choir, and conductor Suzanne White took out the conductors' award.
See next week's South Canterbury Herald for TGHS's choral sister act.
- The Timaru Herald