Garin talent triumphs again at Rockquest

21:27, May 25 2014
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Elizabeth Mitchell (Garin College) of Celestia
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Julian Mittmann (Motueka High School) of Paper Scissors.
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Nelson College’s Lewis Miccio of Fire Without Permit.
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Westbrook’s Liam Ginty (Nayland College).
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Supporters and fans had plenty to be happy about at the Smokefreerockquest Nelson final.
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Rictorscale (Motueka High School)
Nelson smokefreerockquest
Winner of the solo/duo category, Gabriella Atkinson of Garin College.

Garin College came up trumps again at this year's Nelson final of the Smokefreerockquest, and the winning band say their music teacher is to thank for their success.

Last night the sold-out Theatre Royal was rocking with 12 acts who made it through to the Nelson Rockquest final, with teens, younger siblings and even grandparents along for support.

Taking home top band for the second year running was Garin College band Oh Blok. The band is made up of Garin students Louie Persico, Paddy Sanders, Kieran O'Connor and Sam Butler as well as Robbie Day of Nelson College.

Garin College’s Oh Blok
NEW KIDS OF OH BLOK: Garin College’s Oh Blok celebrate being named best band at the Smokefreerockquest Nelson final at the Theatre Royal last night. From left, Paddy Sanders, Robbie Day (Nelson College), Kieran O’Connor, Sam Butler and Louie Persico.

Band keyboardist Paddy Sanders, year 13, said the band was "pretty surprised" by the win.

"The competition was quite high, we are super proud of all the other bands. We were more confident coming this year [than last year], we were more familiar with the structure and how it all works."

He said they had Garin College music teacher Kyle Proffit to thank as he had done "wonderful things for the school".


The band planned to practise hard to make a video that they would submit in the hopes of playing in the national finals.

Judges Ryan Beehre from Nelson band Minuit and singer songwriter Flip Grater said the band "stood out by a long shot".

"They are confident, with a great performance and great songs."

Winning solo artist was another Garin student, 14-year-old Gabriella Atkinson.

"What a voice, lovely songs, she has heaps of potential," Grater said.

She found there was "a good mixed bag" of music at last night's event, from metal to alt-rock, and plenty of sweet love songs.

"Nelson is always really strong; this was no exception. The songs were great across the board."

Proffit had tutored bands from the college to get to the Rockquest for the past eight years and found the event was becoming more popular each year.

He said it was the highlight of the year for many music students.

"Heaps of students are here supporting it too, it is growing every year. I think it's because more students are being inspired by past students, and everyone is going by that."

"It's a really good way for these guys to share their music and meet other bands, it's a good vibe."

Chris Phillips from the 2011 Rockquest overall winning band The Peasants, who were from Garin College, was MCing all Rockquests in the South Island.

He said it was hard to deny the talent in Nelson.

"Nelson definitely has it going on, they blow them [other regions] out of the water."

Nelson College for Girls student Zi Shaw won the People's Choice award for her solo set, which was voted by the crowd through text message. Zi said her songs were inspired by "things that happen in my life and my friends".

She was wearing tartan on stage and had many of her friends in the screaming crowd doing the same to show support.

The two solo/duo acts as well as the top two bands all won music gear from the Rockshop and have the chance to be selected for the national finals held in Auckland on September 27.

Six bands are chosen from the regional finals to play off in the national final. The top two solo/duos from each region go through the same process, and three of those will go ahead to the national final.

Co-founder Pete Rainey said Rockquest was a great outlet for creative teenagers, but he wanted to see bands get out and play in Nelson more frequently.

"The more they do it, the better they will get," he said.

Nelson Smokefreerockquest results:

Band first place: Oh Blok, from Garin College.

Band second place: Fire Without Permit, from Nelson College and Waimea College.

Band third place: Celestia, from Garin College.

Solo/Duo first place: Gabriella Atkinson from Garin College.

Solo/Duo second place: Zi Shaw, from Nelson College for Girls.

Nelson Youth Council crowd participation award: Rictorscale from Motueka High School.

Best Song: Toxic Vain from Waimea College.

The Mainz Musicianship Award: Lachlan Burne from Rictorscale, Motueka High School.

Smokefree Award For Women's Musicianship: Abby Hahn from Celestia, Garin College.

People's Choice voted by text: Zi Shaw from Nelson College for Girls.

The Nelson Mail