Thousands of students will take the stage at The Big Sing Auckland in hopes of performing at the national finale in Wellington.
However, some students say the choral singing event is more than a competition and has brought them a sense of purpose and belonging.
The voices of Auckland's youth filled the town hall on day one of The Big Sing. For some students, it's the culmination of a years’ worth of practice.
St Kentigerns student Molly Griffiths told Te Kāea, “I think it's something that needs to come back in a larger force than it is and I think by doing it at school and by getting it amongst our younger generations it's awesome cause we enjoy it then we pass it on to our parents and it brings up memories for them so it's like an all-around thing. It's wonderful."
Music transcends social boundaries and choir has given some youth what they describe as a sense of purpose.
Desmond Yong says, "It's not kept through language, culture or race, it's a universal thing that everyone can experience and enjoy. I think that's really important for us to understand and I think that's honestly why it brings me back all the time and why it keeps me going in terms of pursuing singing and music."
The Secondary Schools' Choral Festivals began in 1988 and this year, more than 10,000 young people from over 250 schools are taking part in regional festivals nationwide.
Griffiths says, "Me and Desmond are always in the music centre at school, you can't find us anywhere else but we absolutely love it and I think it's something we both want to pursue in the future and it's because of all the things we do, the choirs we're in at school and all the things we just love."
Seventy-two choirs from the Auckland and Northland regions will take the stage over the three days, with the top teams advancing to the national finale in Wellington in August.