Parsi Mother-Daughter duo off to Las Vegas!

A strong passion for singing will take us, Mehernaz Darukhanawalla (right, 44 years old) and Persis Darukhanawalla (left, 19 years old), all the way to North America. We will be representing New Zealand as members of the Greater Auckland Chorus (GAC) at the prestigious Sweet Adeline International Convention held at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas in October this year.

Originally from Pune, India, my family and I immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 2001. Along with finding new Parsi friends and family in Auckland, within a few months of settling into our new home, mum had already found the ‘barbershop’ style of singing. It was soon to become her passion and subsequently, mine.

And from there begins this incredible journey!

Sweet Adelines International is a well-known organisation of women singers. The organisation transcends the art form of barbershop harmony, also known as 4-part harmony, in where music is sung without the need and accompaniment of any musical instrument. It is an art-form that is purely focused on creating music with just using our natural instrument, our voice, thus making barbershop singing extremely unique.

'Dolce', winners of the 2012 National YWIH quartet contest.
‘Dolce’, winners of the 2012 National YWIH quartet contest.
While my mum sang her way up the ranks at GAC, I was formally introduced to barbershop when I started high school in 2009. I competed with my school chorus Macappella in our Auckland regional competitions as well as in the national competitions, gaining many successes. As well as this, I was fortunate enough to also be a part of a champion quartet, named Dolce, as we won the New Zealand Young Women in Harmony quartet competition in 2012.

Joining GAC after high school was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have taken. As well as this, singing together in a chorus on the international stage had been a dream that mum and I had always looked forward to accomplishing together. So when GAC won the New Zealand Chorus competition in May 2014, we knew we were one step closer to achieving that dream.

Greater Auckland Chorus evaluating at the 2015 Sweet Adelines New Zealand Chorus Competition
Greater Auckland Chorus evaluating at the 2015 Sweet Adelines New Zealand Chorus Competition
Having the opportunity to share our passion for barbershop singing under one roof is truly an incredible experience. Music has brought us closer together in so many ways and has helped us make some incredible life-long friends.

Singing barbershop has also brought so much happiness in our lives; definitely much more than a hobby, it has become a lifestyle. One that is truly exciting in every way.

The Greater Auckland Chorus is on the international stage on Thursday 8 October, 12.45pm (Pacific Daylight Time). If you would like to watch and see what we are all about, please follow this link:

Persis Darukhanawalla

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

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