Top bands into regional finals

Hitting the high notes.

Hitting the high notes.

Armed with two guitars, Daniel Jenner from the band Undersided belts out an original rock song at the Smokefreerockquest heats at the Gisborne War Memorial Theatre. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
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


Alicia Timmins plays bass guitar in Resolution, the five piece band from Tolaga Bay Area School. Resolution won the Smokefree Tangata Beats Award for their reggae and slow jams.
Rikki Noble plays drums in the band Sit Down In Front. Sit Down In Front is one of the 12 bands going on to play in the finals on May 28.

Live music, original songs, selfies and first-time nerves . . . it was all part of the mix at the War Memorial Theatre on Saturday in this year’s Smokefreerockquest East Coast heats.

The top 12 bands have been selected to play off at the East Coast final on May 28.

More than 700 bands and solo/duos are going through regional heats and finals at more than 20 venues from Invercargill to Whangarei until July 6.

Founder and director Glenn Common says while Smokefreerockquest is a competition, the environment at the heats is very supportive and the emphasis is on participation.

“The competition is merely the framework on which we hang the opportunity to perform and for entrants to learn from each other.

“They pick up skills such as stage presence from watching their peers, in a way that can’t be replicated in the classroom.”

The top two East Coast solo/duos selected at the heats are: Keira from Gisborne Girls’ High School (1st) and E-nut & T-butter from Gisborne Boys’ High School (2nd).

Year 9 student and ukulele player Keira Coogan (13) says she is a lot more confident performing now, with this being her third Smokefreerockquest, but she was still relieved when it was over and was happy it went well.

“I screamed and smiled when I found out that I had won — I honestly thought someone else was going to,” she said.

“My song was inspired by a time at my Year 8 ball when my friend told me they could run a lap around the moon, and that moment just stuck with me.”

The top two solo/duos go into the judging pool for the national final, and will be joined by the top two bands selected at the East Coast finals in two weeks.

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Resolution from Tolaga Bay Area School, who will submit footage to be selected as a finalist for that event’s national final.

Lead guitarist Maana Toroa-Harding, of the Year 11 group, thinks their win was down to their style of music.

“We mixed it up with reggae and slow jams and I think that our reo connected with the audience.

“I was buzzing out when I found out we had won — it was an adrenaline rush,” she said.

“It was such a good experience and everyone was supporting everyone. We felt really proud of ourselves because this is our first time doing Smokefree Tangata Beats.”

The other members of Resolution are Rickie-Lee Pewhairangi (vocals), Loma Hill (drums), Alicia Timmins (bass), Pawhara Milner (keyboard), and Billie-Ray Rangiwai (guitar).

These are the top 12 bands to play off at the at the East Coast final (War Memorial Theatre, Monday May 28 at 7pm. Tickets are $20 adults and $10 kids from the door or from Stephen Jones Photography and Ticket Direct):

  • The Search, Gisborne Boys’ High School, Lindisfarne College
  • Solluna Smooth, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Bad Stage (previously known as Summer Snow), Ilminster Intermediate
  • UpriZing, Gisborne Boys’ High School
  • Astrik, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Rabbits in Tuxedos, Gisborne Intermediate, Mangapapa School, Lytton High School
  • The Patai,Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Resolution, Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Sit Down In Front, Campion College, Gisborne Boys’ High School
  • 5th Division, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Times Up, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Salem, Gisborne Girls’ High School

At the East Coast final there are awards for the top three bands, the MAINZ Musicianship Award, Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship, Lowdown Best Song, the APRA Lyrics Award, the Fatboy Style Award and the ZM People’s Choice voted by text.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play at the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on Friday September 21 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 22.

Live music, original songs, selfies and first-time nerves . . . it was all part of the mix at the War Memorial Theatre on Saturday in this year’s Smokefreerockquest East Coast heats.

The top 12 bands have been selected to play off at the East Coast final on May 28.

More than 700 bands and solo/duos are going through regional heats and finals at more than 20 venues from Invercargill to Whangarei until July 6.

Founder and director Glenn Common says while Smokefreerockquest is a competition, the environment at the heats is very supportive and the emphasis is on participation.

“The competition is merely the framework on which we hang the opportunity to perform and for entrants to learn from each other.

“They pick up skills such as stage presence from watching their peers, in a way that can’t be replicated in the classroom.”

The top two East Coast solo/duos selected at the heats are: Keira from Gisborne Girls’ High School (1st) and E-nut & T-butter from Gisborne Boys’ High School (2nd).

Year 9 student and ukulele player Keira Coogan (13) says she is a lot more confident performing now, with this being her third Smokefreerockquest, but she was still relieved when it was over and was happy it went well.

“I screamed and smiled when I found out that I had won — I honestly thought someone else was going to,” she said.

“My song was inspired by a time at my Year 8 ball when my friend told me they could run a lap around the moon, and that moment just stuck with me.”

The top two solo/duos go into the judging pool for the national final, and will be joined by the top two bands selected at the East Coast finals in two weeks.

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Resolution from Tolaga Bay Area School, who will submit footage to be selected as a finalist for that event’s national final.

Lead guitarist Maana Toroa-Harding, of the Year 11 group, thinks their win was down to their style of music.

“We mixed it up with reggae and slow jams and I think that our reo connected with the audience.

“I was buzzing out when I found out we had won — it was an adrenaline rush,” she said.

“It was such a good experience and everyone was supporting everyone. We felt really proud of ourselves because this is our first time doing Smokefree Tangata Beats.”

The other members of Resolution are Rickie-Lee Pewhairangi (vocals), Loma Hill (drums), Alicia Timmins (bass), Pawhara Milner (keyboard), and Billie-Ray Rangiwai (guitar).

These are the top 12 bands to play off at the at the East Coast final (War Memorial Theatre, Monday May 28 at 7pm. Tickets are $20 adults and $10 kids from the door or from Stephen Jones Photography and Ticket Direct):

  • The Search, Gisborne Boys’ High School, Lindisfarne College
  • Solluna Smooth, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Bad Stage (previously known as Summer Snow), Ilminster Intermediate
  • UpriZing, Gisborne Boys’ High School
  • Astrik, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Rabbits in Tuxedos, Gisborne Intermediate, Mangapapa School, Lytton High School
  • The Patai,Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Resolution, Tolaga Bay Area School
  • Sit Down In Front, Campion College, Gisborne Boys’ High School
  • 5th Division, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Times Up, Gisborne Girls’ High School
  • Salem, Gisborne Girls’ High School

At the East Coast final there are awards for the top three bands, the MAINZ Musicianship Award, Smokefree Award For Women’s Musicianship, Lowdown Best Song, the APRA Lyrics Award, the Fatboy Style Award and the ZM People’s Choice voted by text.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play at the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on Friday September 21 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 22.

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