Dunstan choirs win accolades

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Dunstan High School pupils finished on a high note last week as the two school choirs recorded their best performances at the nationwide Big Song competition.

The Dunstanza school choir and the Dunstanza senior girls choir went head to head with 24 other choirs from the Otago and South Canterbury region recently at the Dunedin regional competition, where they brought home a string of awards.

First, second and third prizes are absent from the competition, but some choirs may be awarded a commended, or highly commended, certificate for exceptional performances.

For the first time, both school choirs were awarded highly commended certificates, and the Dunstanza choir also won a trophy for the best performance in the “own choice” song category.

The choir also took home a second trophy, which was awarded by the local committee for outstanding behaviour, as well as the inaugural “Spirit of the Festival” Youth Ambassadors Award, which recognised leadership, community participation, collaboration and innovation.

The Dunstanza choir is made up of 77 singers from years 9 to 13, while the Dunstanza Senior Girls has about 30 pupils from years 11 to 13.

The pupils perform with conductor John Buchanan, and music teacher Bronwyn Barnes on the piano.

Mr Buchanan praised pupils’ behaviour and performances.

“We’re proud of them – the way they conducted themselves.

“They’re getting better and better each year.

“We’re really a team.”

With practice held every Tuesday after hours, Mr Buchanan said pupils needed to be dedicated and have good time-management skills.

The pupils were often juggling other activities like netball and rugby as well as their studies, he said.

“They’re giving up their own time to do it.

“We get invited out to sing quite a lot .. but the kids are busy enough.”

The choristers would continue practising for other performances scheduled for later this year, he said.