High school musical winners

Westlake Boys' High and Westlake Girls' High students have won top honours in Vienna.
Westlake Boys' High and Westlake Girls' High students have won top honours in Vienna.

Two North Shore high schools are the first to win three international competitions at a prestigious global music festival in Vienna.

Westlake Boys' High and Westlake Girls' High premier joint orchestra and choir took top honours at the 2014 Summa Cum Laude international music festival, competing against many older and more experienced international university groups.

"The wins confirm that New Zealand can compete with the very best in the world and is truly exceptional for Westlake boys and girls high schools," said Westlake Boys' associate headmaster Alex Reed.

Mr Reed said the wins were testament to the "hard work, talent and dedication of the students, staff, parents and supporters".

The schools' combined concert band won their division outright, the choir were joint winners with the University of Pretoria and the full symphony orchestra shared first prize with the New Jersey youth orchestra.

"They were all quite surprised at their success as they are used to winning in New Zealand but going up against USA and Europe is a huge step up," said Mr Reed.

The Westlake orchestra and choir have been rehearsing for nearly 18 months, combined with hours of fundraising to get the 136 students to Austria.

Over 1300 young musicians make the festival one of the most important of its kind in Europe.

Orchestras, choirs and symphonic bands perform in Vienna's two main classical concert venues, the Golden Hall of the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus.

- NZ Herald

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