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Westlake Schools Music Tour to Vienna 2014

If you were to ask a wannabe rock star where they dream of performing they might tell you The Hollywood Bowl or Wembley Stadium. If you asked a budding violinist or chorister, high on their list would be the Musikverein, Vienna’s fabulous Golden Hall.

For 124 students of Westlake Girls and Boys High Schools this dream will become a reality in July, when they compete in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival.

Now in its eighth year, the Summa Cum Laude has become one of the most prestigious youth festivals in the world.
July 2014 will see the very best youth orchestras, bands and choirs from 13 countries and five continents converging on Vienna for five days of fabulous music-making. 
Representing New Zealand will be the Westlake Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Band and Choralation Choir. All of them can boast a long list of accolades, within Auckland, nationally and internationally.
Last year alone the orchestras and bands achieved the highest level Gold Awards in the KBB music festival in Auckland. The following week Choralation won the coveted Platinum Award at the Big Sing Finale in Dunedin, making them the top school choir in New Zealand for the fourth time in five years.  
“These students are not unfamiliar with success”, said Rowan Johnston, Head of Music at Westlake Girls, “but the Summa Cum Laude is another level all together.  Participation is by invitation. Some of the ensembles taking part represent entire provinces or states in their countries, so for Westlake to have groups competing in four categories is a huge honour. The competition will be tough! The students should be very proud of themselves.”
With 140 students and staff travelling, this will be the largest school tour ever to leave New Zealand. They will stop en route in Singapore, Munich and Salzburg and following the competition they will travel on to Hungary, visiting a number of university towns, where the Westlake Big Band will also get the chance to demonstrate their talents. All the ensembles include New Zealand pieces in their repertoire.
Warwick Robinson, Head of Music at Westlake Boys adds, “These are highly talented and motivated students. They will be wonderful ambassadors for their schools, Auckland and the whole of New Zealand and the tour will be an experience they will treasure for the rest of their lives.”
Of course a trip like this is quite an expense, especially for the handful of families who have two students travelling. All are busy fundraising. (The chances are if you heard kids busking in Takapuna or Milford during the Christmas holidays they were Westlake students raising funds for the tour.)
“This tour is such a big deal, not just for the students taking part, or even the North Shore but for the whole country,” says Mandy Curry, one of the parents on the fundraising committee. “We are sure there are companies and individuals out there who would like to help make this trip a success. We are interested in any and all support.”  
If you want to hear these talented youngsters perform before they head off to Europe, come along to the annual Westlake Proms Concert at 7.30pm on Friday, April 4th, known by North Shore concert-goers as a fun night out. Tickets are $15 or $10 for concessions.  On May 29th there will be a Quiz Night and Auction.  Both events will take place in the Westlake Boys High School Auditorium. For tickets to either event, or to offer your support for the tour in other ways, call 09 489 4169 x284.
In the words of one student “I can’t wait to get on the plane. It’s going to be AWESOME!”

by Channel Editorial