Kids join biggest ukulele orchestra
Seventy-five students from Sunnyhills Primary School are set to play in the world's largest ukulele orchestra.
Schools from across Auckland, Waikato and Northland are coming together for the New Zealand Ukulele Festival on December 1.
The key event is the performance of The Kiwileles, which is made up of 3000 players from 125 schools.
Sunnyhills music specialist Rachel Larcombe says the ukulele is taught as part of the music curriculum, meaning more students are picking the instrument up.
"It is really exciting, it is fantastic that so many children want to come on board," she says.
Sunnyhills Primary School contributed 44 students in 2010 and that number has grown to 75 this year.
"It is fantastic, it is so achievable, we have year 2 students picking it up and it encourages them to sing as well," Mrs Larcombe says.
"They are learning about rhythm, beat, ensemble awareness - playing together and having fun and that is what music is about for me, the kids having a good time."
She says the students have already participated in an Auckland-wide rehearsal of more than 500 students.
"Adelaide complained after the practice ‘ohh my arm is so sore' and that was because she had been strumming so hard and so enthusiastically."
Mrs Larcombe says the event is excellent because it exposes the young musicians to a performance much bigger than the normal school assembly.
"I want them to be inspired and thinking ‘look at all these wonderful ukulele players' so they can see what they can aspire to.
"I think it's a very important part of their musical growth, to see where they can get if they keep practising."
The ukulele festival is free and is being held at the Trusts Stadium in Waitakere.