Strumming together for festival

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
Ukulele
STRUMMING ON: Manuka School’s Carol Davey will be leading the charge with the Kiwileles at this year’s NZ Ukulele Festival at Waitakere’s Trusts Stadium.

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Hearing more than 2000 ukuleles playing in sync is magic, Carol Davey says.

The Manuka School art teacher is one of three at her school who work with members of the world's biggest ukulele orchestra, the Kiwileles.

And the almost 3000-strong group will be headlining this year's New Zealand Ukulele Festival with Ms Davey's help.

The 39-year-old's first encounter with a ukulele was in 2007, having called herself "unmusical" all her life.

"I avoided music like the plague," she laughs.

Her students challenged her to learn to play three songs on the instrument by Christmas and now almost seven years later she teaches the advanced ukulele group at Manuka.

It is a "social instrument" which has introduced her to new friends and experiences, such as the festival, and has kept her interested, she says.

Learning to strum first, then sing and add musical chords are the basics, she says.

From there, students learn songs from reggae, rock and pop genres, she says.

More than 100 Manuka School students can play basic ukulele, she says, including special needs and shy children.

The ukulele festival, which is run by the NZ Ukulele Trust, gets bigger every year, she says, with international acts and homegrown talent such as the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra on the bill.

Ms Davey will also perform with The Teachukes at the festival.

The NZ Ukulele Festival kicks off at noon, December 1, at the Trusts Stadium in Waitakere, West Auckland.

Entry is free.

Visit nzukulelefestival.

org.nz for more information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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