Young singer in the spotlight

18:44, Nov 20 2012
Tim Gunn
NATURAL TALENT: Nine-year-old Ponsonby student Tim Gunn will be performing with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to kick off the festive season in the orchestra’s first Christmas-themed children’s show.

Standing alone on stage and singing in front of hundreds of people doesn't faze 9-year-old Tim Gunn.

The Ponsonby Primary School student is hoping to bring down the house at the Auckland Town Hall this Saturday with his rendition of All I want For Christmas is my Two Front Teeth.

He will be performing alongside the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in APO 4 Kids Christmas.

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has run APO 4 Kids concerts for a few years but this is the first time it has offered children's concerts that are Christmas themed.

Education manager Lee Martelli has designed the concerts to be very participatory so children will be able to join in, sing and dance and, at the end, walk through the orchestra.

Tim has trained with renowned voice tutor Janice Webb who discovered he was a natural.


The grade-one singer's confidence took a knock after losing his hair to alopecia at the age of 7 but he's determined not to let it hold him back.

"I felt shy. I used to freak out about it but now I don't even care."

Singing was a great way to express himself but performing in front of a huge crowd for his first solo was daunting, he says.

"I thought it would be really big but when I actually got out on stage because of all the lights I couldn't see so I felt less nervous."

And carrying on singing seemed like the best thing for him, his mum Bronny Gunn says.

"He was chosen to do a little solo and he loved it. It really took us by surprise.

"I think singing just made him get his confidence back again after he found he was good at it."

Singing runs in the family with Tim's cousin, young New Zealand tenor Jonathan Abernethy, currently performing at the Sydney Opera House.

And although Tim has already set his sights on passing his second singing exam, he hasn't got any plans to follow his cousin into the music industry.

"It's just a hobby at the moment. I'd like to keep singing but who knows."

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and guests will perform two concerts on November 24 at 10am and 11.30am at the Auckland Town Hall and a further two concerts on November 25 at 2pm and 3.30pm at Massey High School.

For tickets call 623 1052 or go to

Turn to P9 to read about the APO's concert tomorrow night that will mark the end of its 2012 series.

GIVEAWAY The Auckland City Harbour News is giving away one adult ticket and one child's ticket to each of the 10am and 11.30am APO 4 Kids Christmas shows at the Auckland Town Hall this Saturday. To enter the competition email your name, address and a day time phone number to with ‘APO 4 Kids' in the subject line. A winner will be drawn at 3pm tomorrow.

Auckland City Harbour News