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Spirited . . . Celebrating a successful return to the Big Sing are the Waitaki Singers and (from from left) Big Sing co-ordinator Rosemary Tarbotton, accompanist Anne Bain, adjudicator Karen Grylls, choir leader Seannah Nuttal and conductor Sophie Pilbrow. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Waitaki Girls’ High School choir hit all the right notes in its return to the Big Sing.

After taking a two-year break from the competition due to Covid-19, the Waitaki Singers returned this year and showed dedication, commitment, unity and enthusiasm in their performances of Dancing Queen and Sanctus, to win the the Tarbotton Award for spirit of the festival and $500 from the Ministry of Youth Development.

Waitaki Girls’ arts coordinator Sherilyn Hellier said the 21-strong girls’ choir, made up of mostly year 9 and 10 pupils, had only five months to prepare for the Big Sing under the leadership of new music teacher Sophie Pilbrow.

This year, the competition was held at Knox Church — ‘‘an ideal setting for the performances’’ — rather than the large Dunedin Town Hall and Waitaki Girls’ was up against 12 other choirs, Mrs Hellier said.

The young singers would have learned a great deal from watching the other choirs and from the feedback they received from the adjudicator, Karen Grylls, who is associate professor of choral conducting at the University of Auckland and artistic director of three internationally acclaimed choirs, Mrs Hellier said.

The Waitaki Singers have performed at several public events recently, as well as visiting local primary schools to perform.

The choir will now take a short break before being performing the opening item at the Waitaki Girls’ house choir night in July.