Stage busy at Rock­quest

Queen­stown stu­dent wins big af­ter con­quer­ing nerves

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Wakatipu High School stu­dent Sofia Machray was so con­sumed by nerves she al­most did not make it to the stage for the Cen­tral Otago Smoke­free­rock­quest last Thurs­day night.

If it had not been for mu­sic teacher Ali­son Price’s en­cour­age­ment she would not have per­formed and walked away with three stun­ning awards.

The 14-year-old won top solo or duo per­for­mance, the Smoke­free Award for women’s mu­si­cian­ship and the People’s Choice Award, voted by text. ‘‘I get so ner­vous, I don’t know why. ‘‘I’m re­ally glad I did it though,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve been play­ing gui­tar since I was 7 but only started singing and writ­ing my own stuff in the last few months . . . I didn’t think I could but I gave it a go.’’

She blew the 15-strong au­di­ence away with her orig­i­nal songs Cre­ative and Lost earn­ing her com­par­isons with Amy Wine­house and Ja­nis Jo­plin.

Re­ceiv­ing the awards was ‘‘quite overwhelming’’.

The win­ning band at the event was Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege rock­ers Near Ar­maged­don.

Vo­cal­ist and gui­tarist Isaac Bell said the group, in­clud­ing him­self, Lu­can Smith on bass, Mor­gan Allen on rhythm gui­tar and Tyler Bai­ley on drums, were heav­ily in­flu­enced by Rage Against the Ma­chine and Me­tal­lica. They were thrilled with their win. ‘‘We went into think­ing we’d have a jam and en­joy our­selves. We re­ally didn’t have any idea. I didn’t even tell any of my friends be­cause we might have been a bit crap.’’

Bell also won the Mainz Mu­si­cian­ship Award with the op­por­tu­nity to be selected for the $4500 Mu­sic and Au­dio In­sti­tute of New Zealand Schol­ar­ship, an­nounced at the na­tional fi­nal.

Machray and Near Ar­maged­don now pre­par­ing a mu­sic video to sub­mit in the hope of be­ing selected for the New Zealand fi­nal.

Photo: ANDYWOODS 1st band: Near Ar­maged­don, Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege 2nd band: Od­dity, Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege 3rd band: Coins, Wakatipu High School

Huge night: Sofia Machray, of Wakatipu High School, won the solo/duo cat­e­gory, the Smoke­free Award for Women’s Mu­si­cian­ship and People’s Choice award at the Cen­tral Otago fi­nal of the Smoke­free­rock­quest last night.

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