Strings attached for Corinna pupils
A group of Porirua school children are making beautiful music and challenging stereotypes.
Corinna School’s orchestra is determined to prove that anyone can play classical music.
EJ Roebeck, 12, said he and his fellow musicians often got funny looks when people found out they were violinists.
‘‘People think that because we’re Islanders, we should only be playing guitars,’’ he said.
‘‘When they first see us they think we’re going to be really bad, but after they hear us play, they want to hear some more.’’
EJ and 11 other Corinna School pupils took part in the Kapi-Mana Music Festival Competition held on Queen’s Birthday weekend.
More than 200 school-aged musicians competed and five Corinna students won the Intermediate String Solo section.
The point of the competition was to bring people together and collaborate.
"It was a great opportunity to meet other students and make new friends. It was also a really good way for us to build confidence.’’
The students practice at least twice a week at school and are expected to practice every day at home.
‘‘You have to show commitment and a good attitude, you can’t miss a practice.’’
EJ said he wanted to challenge people who think playing classical music is something only other cultures do.
‘‘Our tutor is getting us to see past this problem and change our future.’’
Jillian Tupuse, 10, found reading music the hardest part of learning the violin, but said it was worth it.
Tatyana Sio-Smith, 12, said the real heroes of the orchestra were the parents.
‘‘Our parents have shaped our orchestra.
‘‘Our families support us, they come and watch us and tell us not to give up even though we make a lot of noise.’’
Principal Michele Whiting said Corinna School had been lucky to be part of the Virtuso String Trust since 2015.
The trust was established by Elizabeth Sneyd to provide violins and free tuition to some schools in Porirua East.
‘‘The trust is brilliant and the kids are fantastic learners, committed to everything they do.
‘‘I see the potential and the trust is giving them the opportunity to shine and showcase their talents,’’ Whiting said.
Corinna School pupils are proving classical music is for everyone.Back row, from left: Fay Nafatali, EJ Roebeck, Tatyana Sio-Smith. Middle row: Claudia Suailua, Veititi Alapati, Jillian Tupuse, Aggie Lisale. Front row: Miracle Solomona, Diana Uelese, Aria Jury, Ataahua Pakaurangi, Angel Suailua, Philomena Paulo.