Un­eek all round in con­test

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

An eight piece pop-rock band is fly­ing the flag for in­ter­me­di­ate schools in a na­tion­wide mu­sic com­pe­ti­tion.

Tonight Waikowhai In­ter­me­di­ate School band Un­eek will com­pete at the Auck­land fi­nal of Smoke­free Paci­fica Beats.

The com­pe­ti­tion stemmed from the Smoke­free Rock­quest and typ­i­cally in­volves high school stu­dents. Un­eek is the only in­ter­me­di­ate school group to reach the Auck­land fi­nals.

‘‘From what we saw at the au­di­tions the com­pe­ti­tion is go­ing to be hard,’’ singer Isla Mayo says.

The group has been to­gether for only a few months but is get­ting used to suc­cess, last week be­com­ing one of only two in­ter­me­di­ate aged bands to play at the Rock­quest Auck­land Cen­tral fi­nals.

The band is made up of three singers, two guitarists, a bassist, a drum­mer and a key­boardist.

Both com­pe­ti­tions re­quire groups to write their own songs.

Un­eek’s cre­ations are a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort with their band tu­tor Matthew Nanai, an ex-stu­dent of the school now study­ing mu­sic at univer­sity.

‘‘They’re some­thing unique – that’s why we’re called Un­eek,’’ Isla says of their tunes.

The band didn’t make it to the next stage of Rock­quest but got a taste of what it was like to per­form in front of a large au­di­ence.

Teacher Roz Tuitama says the ex­pe­ri­ence was a ‘‘rude awak­en­ing’’ for the group.

‘‘They’re only 12 and 13 years old and they’re com­pet­ing against 17-year-olds. We’re very proud.’’

Rock­quest founder and di­rec- tor Glenn Com­mon says it is quite an achieve­ment for the year 8 stu­dents to have reached that stage in the com­pe­ti­tion.

There is an an­nual event for in­ter­me­di­ate school stu­dents called Smoke­free Band Quest for cov­ers but those writ­ing orig­i­nal pieces are en­cour­aged to en­ter the Rock­quest, he says.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

In­ter­me­di­ate rocks: Young stars, from left, Dhruv Gupte, Jac­que­line De Pont, Sam Gib­bons, Leonardo Fo’ou, Flynn McLen­nan, Amelia Si­amo­mua, Martha Jo­hans­son, and Isla Mayo make up the band Un­eek.

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