The Young Ones

TROIS PAPILLON: Gisborne Girls’ High School trio Trois Papillon is made up of (from left) Sarah Palfi (piano), Eireann Hudner-Lawton (flute) and Rebekah Hakiwai (flute). Picture supplied
RABBITS IN TUXEDOS: With an average age of 12, drummer Liam Walters is the youngest member of Rabbits in Tuxedos rock band that includes Daniel Walters, Dylan Dyer and Sam Florence. On the back of a solid band effort Liam won the 2018 MAINZ musicianship award.
SHOOTING STAR: East Coast Smokefree Rockquest solo/duo category winner, Keira Coogan, has an interest in space that finds its way into her songs. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell


Trois Papillon

Deux Papillon (Two Butterflies), a challenging work for two flutes and piano by 19th Century Polish composer Emil Kronke, inspired the name for Gisborne Girls’ High trio, Trois Papillon.

With Sarah Palfi on piano, and Rebekah Hakiwai and Eireann Hudner-Lawton on flute, Trois Papillon won last week’s Gisborne secondary school chamber music contest. Along with Deux Papillon, the trio played Ian Clarke’s Maya.

GGHS music teacher Anna Marie Fenn describes both works the young musicians took on as “very technical pieces which they played effectively and with feeling.”

Now in year 13, the girls were year nine students when they heard year 13 students play the two works in the first year of the chamber music competition.

“We had started learning to play flute but seeing those year 13s playing at such a high level of proficiency seemed amazing,” says Eireann.

Trois Papillon will next compete in the central regional finals on Saturday, June 23.

Liam Walters

In Smokefree Rockquest’s three decade life-span, 10 year-old Liam Walters of Mangapapa School is believed to be the youngest competitor ever.

The drummer for regional Rockquest finalists Rabbits in Tuxedos has hit the sticks since he was a six-year-old Band School student. But along with a love of rock Liam has a taste for classical, jazz and world music. He goes to sleep with Concert FM on the radio every night, says dad Bruce.

Asked what it is about drums that most appeals to him, Liam says “I like smashing the cymbals and leading the band.”

“The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins is a drummer I copy a bit. He does some rock and a lot of improvised, freestyle stuff. He leads the band while throwing in his own stuff.”

Rabbits in Tuxedos, in which Liam’s older brother Daniel plays lead guitar and sings, play a mix of originals and covers that include songs by The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and White Stripes. The young Gisborne musicians write their original music as a group. See the band in action on YouTube at tinyurl.com/yaaneh54.

Once or twice a month, each band member takes a riff to rehearsals and the band jams on them until they come up with something they like. If they still like the song after playing it again a few days later they refine it. Also a member of Mangapapa School’s ukulele group, U-Kids, Liam will perform at Young Ukers at the War Memorial Theatre tomorrow at 6pm.

Keira Coogan

Space might be an esoteric subject for pop music but 13 year-old ukulele player Keira Coogan won the solo-duo category of the East Coast Smokefree Rockquest with a song she wrote about it.

“For a while I was stuck on a space theme,” she says.

“I just like the sky.”

The inspiration for her winning song was a comment a friend made in passing at a Year 8 ball last year.

“We were running to the water fountain outside,” says Keira.

“My friend was hyped up and said she could run a lap around the moon. That stuck with me. I wanted to write a new song for Rockquest so I built the song around the line ‘I could run around the moon’.”

What’s more she wrote and performed the song on ukulele. The four-stringed instrument has a light, happy sound but it’s not restricted to that, she says.

“You can break through the limits of the ukulele and it will sound all right. You need the contrast through different sorts of strumming so you can make the story flow. When you write music for a song, you need to capture the feeling in the lyrics.”

Keira performed on piano for the 2016 and 2017 Rockquests but her main instrument at the moment is the ukulele. She practices on guitar as well, though because it suits her voice better, she says.

“I want a deeper sound. The guitar spreads the range of what I can write.”

Since winning the solo/duo section of this year’s regional Smokefree Rockquest, Keira has uploaded videos of four original songs for the next stage of selection for the national final. On Friday she headlines Young Ukers at the War Memorial Theatre.

With a planned trajectory into guitar, the sky is not the limit for the young musician.

Keira’s performance of her original song Shooting Star can be viewed on YouTube at tinyurl.com/ybym7uue.

The Young Ukers evening at the War Memorial Theatre on Friday will be made up of ukulele performances from close to 200 children and includes strumalongs that the audience is invited to be part of. Young Ukers starts at 6pm. Entry $5 at the door.

Trois Papillon

Deux Papillon (Two Butterflies), a challenging work for two flutes and piano by 19th Century Polish composer Emil Kronke, inspired the name for Gisborne Girls’ High trio, Trois Papillon.

With Sarah Palfi on piano, and Rebekah Hakiwai and Eireann Hudner-Lawton on flute, Trois Papillon won last week’s Gisborne secondary school chamber music contest. Along with Deux Papillon, the trio played Ian Clarke’s Maya.

GGHS music teacher Anna Marie Fenn describes both works the young musicians took on as “very technical pieces which they played effectively and with feeling.”

Now in year 13, the girls were year nine students when they heard year 13 students play the two works in the first year of the chamber music competition.

“We had started learning to play flute but seeing those year 13s playing at such a high level of proficiency seemed amazing,” says Eireann.

Trois Papillon will next compete in the central regional finals on Saturday, June 23.

Liam Walters

In Smokefree Rockquest’s three decade life-span, 10 year-old Liam Walters of Mangapapa School is believed to be the youngest competitor ever.

The drummer for regional Rockquest finalists Rabbits in Tuxedos has hit the sticks since he was a six-year-old Band School student. But along with a love of rock Liam has a taste for classical, jazz and world music. He goes to sleep with Concert FM on the radio every night, says dad Bruce.

Asked what it is about drums that most appeals to him, Liam says “I like smashing the cymbals and leading the band.”

“The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins is a drummer I copy a bit. He does some rock and a lot of improvised, freestyle stuff. He leads the band while throwing in his own stuff.”

Rabbits in Tuxedos, in which Liam’s older brother Daniel plays lead guitar and sings, play a mix of originals and covers that include songs by The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and White Stripes. The young Gisborne musicians write their original music as a group. See the band in action on YouTube at tinyurl.com/yaaneh54.

Once or twice a month, each band member takes a riff to rehearsals and the band jams on them until they come up with something they like. If they still like the song after playing it again a few days later they refine it. Also a member of Mangapapa School’s ukulele group, U-Kids, Liam will perform at Young Ukers at the War Memorial Theatre tomorrow at 6pm.

Keira Coogan

Space might be an esoteric subject for pop music but 13 year-old ukulele player Keira Coogan won the solo-duo category of the East Coast Smokefree Rockquest with a song she wrote about it.

“For a while I was stuck on a space theme,” she says.

“I just like the sky.”

The inspiration for her winning song was a comment a friend made in passing at a Year 8 ball last year.

“We were running to the water fountain outside,” says Keira.

“My friend was hyped up and said she could run a lap around the moon. That stuck with me. I wanted to write a new song for Rockquest so I built the song around the line ‘I could run around the moon’.”

What’s more she wrote and performed the song on ukulele. The four-stringed instrument has a light, happy sound but it’s not restricted to that, she says.

“You can break through the limits of the ukulele and it will sound all right. You need the contrast through different sorts of strumming so you can make the story flow. When you write music for a song, you need to capture the feeling in the lyrics.”

Keira performed on piano for the 2016 and 2017 Rockquests but her main instrument at the moment is the ukulele. She practices on guitar as well, though because it suits her voice better, she says.

“I want a deeper sound. The guitar spreads the range of what I can write.”

Since winning the solo/duo section of this year’s regional Smokefree Rockquest, Keira has uploaded videos of four original songs for the next stage of selection for the national final. On Friday she headlines Young Ukers at the War Memorial Theatre.

With a planned trajectory into guitar, the sky is not the limit for the young musician.

Keira’s performance of her original song Shooting Star can be viewed on YouTube at tinyurl.com/ybym7uue.

The Young Ukers evening at the War Memorial Theatre on Friday will be made up of ukulele performances from close to 200 children and includes strumalongs that the audience is invited to be part of. Young Ukers starts at 6pm. Entry $5 at the door.

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