Education: Westlake Boys High School
Two Westlake Choirs Take National Honours
Two of Westlake’s premier choirs have come out on top once again at the national finale of the NZCF (New Zealand Choral Federation) Big Sing Festival, held in Dunedin during the last week of August. The awards were presented at the conclusion of the festival during a sold-out Gala Concert at the Dunedin Town Hall which was also webcast to an audience of over 16,000 confirmed viewers.
Choralation, Westlake’s combined choir comprised of students from both Westlake Boys and Girls High Schools, won the coveted Platinum Award for the fourth time in the past five years – the only choir to ever achieve this feat. Choralation is a 55-voice mixed choir directed by Rowan Johnston, the HOD Music at Westlake Girls High School. Choralation also won the prestigious Hutt City Trophy for the best performance of a New Zealand composition, Whanau Marama, a musical collaboration by Westlake composer-in-residence David Hamilton and Japanese electronic music artist Tsubasa Kawamoto.
To cap off the evening, Westlake Boys’ top choir Voicemale won the only gold award presented to a male choir, making it the top boys choir at the Big Sing for the third year in a row. This was the first gold award won by a male choir at the Big Sing for seven years. Voicemale is a 62-voice boys only choir directed by David Squire, teacher at Westlake Boys and music director of the New Zealand Youth Choir. The choir’s stirring rendition of Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band was particularly well-received, as was Westlake alumnus Alex Taylor’s commissioned work Two Years Later, a complex and arresting 12-part setting of a poem about the aftermath of electric shock therapy.
The NZCF Big Sing is one of the largest youth events in New Zealand, with around 260 choirs and 9,000 singers participating each year. Of these, only 18 choirs are invited to participate at the national finale. Westlake choirs faced stiff competition, including Euphony, a girls choir from Kristin School (also conducted by David Squire) and two exceptional choirs from Burnside High School in Christchurch.
Table Tennis National Champions
Westlake’s Table Tennis Team has won the New Zealand Secondary Schools Tournament for the second time in a row. The team of Victor Pollett, Victor Ma, Roger Wang and Wilfred Lan won their first three games before taking out Macleans in the semi-final and last year’s Auckland Champs, Auckland Grammar in the final.
Earlier this year the team were crowned North Harbour Champions during the first half of their season and were runners up in the Auckland Competition having lost in the final to Auckland Grammar.
Victor Pollett, Victor Ma and Roger Wang were part of last year’s team that won the North Harbour, Auckland and National title. All four are in the Top 10 of New Zealand Secondary School players and have represented New Zealand at various age levels. They are great ambassadors both for the game of Table Tennis as well as for Westlake Boys High School.