Young stars of coun­try

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­

Mata­mata sib­lings Tyler and Jade O’Brien took out some of the top awards at the Mata­mata Red­star Ju­nior and In­ter­me­di­ate Coun­try Mu­sic Awards last month.

Eight-year-old Tyler was first for best male solo in the ju­nior cat­e­gory and run­ner up for Ju­nior En­ter­tainer of the Year.

Six-year-old Jade com­peted in the merit cat­e­gory and came first in the Western sec­tion, was run­ner up for gospel, was Band Se­lec­tion of the Day and Merit Crowd Pleaser of the Day.

Nan Karyn Ran­gi­tu­tia said it was ‘‘like Christ­mas’’ when the kids came home with all their tro­phies.

‘‘They were buzzing; they were just so ex­cited.’’

It was the first time they had en­tered a com­pe­ti­tion but both are used to per­form­ing in front of an au­di­ence, she said.

Jade was re­cently the open­ing act for the Coun­try and Com­edy Tour in Mata­mata and both chil­dren per­formed in front of thou­sands at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Gate­house.

‘‘ They just take it in their stride,’’ said Mrs Ran­gi­tu­tia.

Tyler plays bass gui­tar, rhythm gui­tar and drums, and of­ten per­forms in bands with adult coun­try mu­sic per­form­ers.

Jade is learn­ing to play the gui­tar and said her favourite singers are Car­rie Un­der­wood, Martina McBride and Tay­lor Swift. The sib­lings both at­tend Firth Pri­mary and are also in­volved in sports and other per­form­ing arts.

‘‘We make sure we have a good bal­ance with them,’’ said Mrs Ran­gi­tu­tia.

‘‘ Jade does gym­nas­tics and Tyler plays rugby and is do­ing kapa haka this year.

‘‘We just let them go at their own pace and they do as much as they want to do.

‘‘Their koro, their mum and I are all very proud of them.’’

Mata­mata Coun­try Mu­sic Club mem­bers Caleb Lawrence and Kaylee Johns also won awards on the evening.

Caleb was run­ner up for best male solo and Kaylee re­ceived the en­cour­age­ment tro­phy.

Stars in the mak­ing: Tyler O’Brien, 8, and lit­tle sis­ter Jade, 6, with their haul from the Mata­mata Red­star Coun­try Mu­sic Awards.

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