City barbershop chorus wins gold

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The velvet vocal chords of Dunedin barbershop chorus Highland Harmony earned it a gold medal at the Barbershop Harmony New Zealand (BHNZ) annual convention earlier this month.
The 16-strong, all-male barbershop chorus, led by musical director Marian Weaver, competed against choruses from throughout the country to win the gold medal in the small chorus category (20 singers or less).
Taking out the title of BHNZ Small Chorus Champions 2016, the chorus won the coveted ‘‘Manawatunes Trophy’’, along with individual gold medals for each singer.
Held at the new ASB Theatre in Blenheim, from October 7 to 9, the convention included 11 choruses and 24 quartets from around New Zealand. The convention show, the Sounds of Marlborough Showcase, sold out all 700 seats in the theatre and featured performance by all of the gold medal winning quartets — including Highland Harmony.
Visiting 2016 world champion quartet Forefront, from the United States, also took part in the showcase event.
Highland Harmony president Martin Spinks told The Star the convention had been a ‘‘great experience’’ for the singers, and the result was well worth the six months of preparation.
‘‘In the six months leading up to the convention, we brought in extra coaches and did workshops to prepare,’’ Mr Spinks said.
‘‘So we were all very pleased that we came away from the convention with a gold medal,’’ he said.
Highland Harmony was supported to attend the convention by a grant from the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation.
Highland Harmony was formed in Dunedin 20 years ago, and had been building its momentum in the past four years, Mr Spinks said.
‘‘We are in very good heart.’’
The group’s main activities included attending the BHNZ convention each year and presenting ‘‘sing-outs’’ at Dunedin museums, retirement homes and special events.
Highland Harmony meets to rehearse on Monday evenings at the St Patrick’s Community Centre in Macandrew Rd. New singers are welcome.
For inquiries, phone Martin Spinks on (021) 133-3498 or email msspinks@xtra.co.nz