Talented teen hyped for Xmas show

CHRISTMAS CAROLLER: Orewa teenager Joel Granger features in the free 2012 Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.
CHRISTMAS CAROLLER: Orewa teenager Joel Granger features in the free 2012 Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.

Christmas Carols and One Direction will collide for performer Joel Granger.

The 18-year-old Orewa resident has been picked as one of five teenagers to perform One Thing at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park on December 8.

Joel was part of the Kids Crew at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park in 2005, 2007 and 2008, and is ready for this year's event.

"I remember the audience was so big I freaked out before going on stage. But it is such a great experience, a great concert and a lot of fun."

This year Joel auditioned alongside a number of others for a part in items that will include the One Direction song. After a few call-backs and selections he was chosen with four others to perform alongside one of his best friends Hamish Mouat and 2004 NZ Idol runner-up Michael Murphy.

"The whole process is quite laid-back and everyone is there for fun. Any audition experience is a good experience, especially when it is a national event," Joel says.

He will also sing a duet First Noel and Snoopy's Christmas, as well as joining in a few bigger items.

"Thankfully, rehearsal schedules are mostly after exams and school."

Joel is a year 13 student and deputy head boy at Kristin School in Albany where his talent has been in the spotlight for the 2012 school production Cats. He played Munkustrap in the show that earned high accolades from audiences.

"It was amazing to be part of it. Each year Kristin does something different, they keep topping themselves in the standard. It's a quality experience being in the productions."

Joel has also been involved with productions at Centrestage theatre in Orewa.

As Kristin's deputy head boy he has leadership responsibilities, performances and academic studies to focus on keeping him busy.

"Family are so supportive in me following my dream."

Joel is hoping to study at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth next year. With auditions at the end of this month in Brisbane, the lead-up to Christmas is set to be busy.

"I'm preparing two songs and a monologue for my first audition, then more in case of a call-back."

The dream for Joel is to perform at West End in England.

"I would love to sing, act and dance in shows."

After an opportunity to travel to the UK in January and perform an item from Jesus Christ Superstar in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber for a television competition, Joel is ready to chase the dream.

"I was only 17 so couldn't legally compete in the show but I sent in an audition anyway and they still invited me to perform.

"Mr Webber didn't watch all the auditions but organisers brought him in for me and I got to perform and talk to him. He was really encouraging."

Joel is among a long list of performers entertaining audiences on December 8 at the free Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park at Auckland Domain from 7.30pm.

Proceeds from collections during the evening go to Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the Rodney Times and part of the Fairfax Media Mighty A Network, is the major print media sponsor.

Go to christmasinthepark. co.nz for information.

Rodney Times