Young stars of country
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.