Orchestra playing a tune called success
Pasifika kids from one of Wellington’s poorest communities are breaking down barriers in the hope they’ll one day become bright stars in the world of classical music.
This is Porirua East. An area that last hit national headlines because of an armed seige in one of its social housing units that ended with a man’s death, and that of a police dog, last year.
A group of kids nearby, many from Cannons Creek, had an extended orchestra rehearsal that night because the building they were practising in got lockeddown.
Since its inception five years ago, those kids have become one of the country’s top young string orchestras, the Virtuoso Strings Orchestra.
Founded by a charitable trust off the back of volunteer work from husband and wife team Liz Sneyd and Craig Utting the orchestra is having a tough time attracting enough grants to keep up with the needs of more than 160 pupils from 11 decile 1 and 2 schools.
About 40 of the senior kids are furiously fundraising to get money to cover travel expenses ahead of a big concert with artists Ria Hall, Lisa Tomlins and Wini Baxter in Auckland in July.
Taloa Faraimo, 14, has been playing violin for about two years and blasts the lead role in the orchestra’s string version of the Jimi Hendrix hit Purple Haze.
‘‘This community is really musical in different ways. And when you introduce them to a different genre, people take an interest in this different thing that just appeared one day and they all flock toward it.
‘‘You mostly get energy when you play with other people. You feel like this team spirit. Like you’re connecting.’’
Taloa’smummoved to New Zealand from Fiji. She makes sure
The Virtuoso Strings Orchestra has become one of the country’s top young string orchestras.