Schools finds their voice on stage
Cultural Festival 'about having fun'BRIDGET RAILTON
The voices of 1000 children from nine schools throughout Eastern Southland rang out together at the first Eastern Cultural Festival.
Mataura, Waikaka, Willowbank, St Mary's, Knapdale, West Gore, Gore Main, East Gore and Tapanui schools joined to sing a selection of songs and haka in a one-off kids-only event at the Gore Town and Country Club yesterday.
Co-organiser and Willowbank School staff member Lisa Parish said the festival was about providing the students with a non-threatening environment in which to perform.
"It's not about them being competitive, it's about having fun and performing to other schools."
Each school had spent the past term working on the group songs as well as an individual item, she said.
Organiser Susan Dennison said the event was "kids performing for kids".
The event was the brainchild of Mataura teacher Carol Hayes, who came up with the idea after a school trip to Polyfest in Invercargill, Mrs Dennison said.
"Each year we go to putangitangi in Invercargill but this year for something different, we went to Polyfest, but the cost of getting our kids down there is just huge.
"Carol had this great idea of 'why don't we do our own event'," she said.
The schools had utilised technology during their preparations, with Mataura school students filming themselves performing a haka and putting it on Youtube so other schools could learn it for the group events, she said.
Mataura school student Keelia Dickie, 11, said it was good listening to all the other schools performing.
"It's quite interesting."
She had been practising all term for yesterday's concert and it was a lot of fun, she said.
"It's a fun time with a lot of different people."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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