Big break for Opiki school band


When self-styled Manawatu¯ ‘‘rene­gade folk Amer­i­cana’’ band Win­some Lost plays the last Hokowhitu Bowl­ing Club gig of the year, they will have some pint­sized com­pe­ti­tion.

Open­ing the Satur­day night Palmer­ston North show for the band that wowed them so much at the 2017 Golden Shears they re­ceived an un­prece­dented in­vi­ta­tion to per­form again next year, will be the piki School Band.

piki, where the pota­toes come from, is 15 kilo­me­tres south of Palmer­ston North on State High­way 56. Its six-room school has a roll of 150 pupils.

Six of those pupils were mem­bers of the school band, and gave up their Fri­day lunchtimes to re­hearse in the school’s makeshift mu­sic room, con­verted out of the for­mer den­tal clinic.

Tu­tored by Chris­tian Stafford from Palmer­ston North’s Sound­works Mu­sic School, the ses­tet have kept fel­low pupils and staff en­ter­tained at school as­sem­blies, but on Satur­day they’ll be on a main stage per­form­ing for a wider au­di­ence.

That’s thanks to Steve Tol­ley, a re­liev­ing teacher at the school, who also runs the reg­u­lar Hokowhitu Bowl­ing Club con­certs.

‘‘He might have been at as­sem­bly when we did a cou­ple of per­for­mances,’’ said gui­tarist and vo­cal­ist Sam Mo­leta, 12.

It promised to be quite an ex­pe­ri­ence for the young­sters, but vo­cal­ist Sap­phyre Cas­sidy, 11, seemed to take things in her stride.

Sap­phyre has ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing one of three with Sam and gui­tar- ist Ay­din Newell, 12, who played in the band last year.

‘‘It was a pretty good band last year, but this one is bet­ter or­gan­ised,’’ Ay­din said.

It will be his last year at the ru­ral school. Next year Ay­din heads to Palmer­ston North Boys’ High where he’ll be look­ing for a band to join.

The band’s youngest mem­ber is 10-year-old drum­mer Hunta Beales who pro­vided the rhythm sec­tion with bass player Christo­pher Brider, 11.

Sose­fina Kau­fusi, 10, shares the vo­cals with Sap­phyre.

The set list of six short songs opens with a ver­sion of Hound Dog they have re­worded as Town Dog, Latin-flavoured Des­pac­ito, The Gum­boot Song, Wagon Wheel and Ed Sheeran’s Gal­way Girl.

Satur­day night’s con­cert kicks off at 7.30pm with $20 book­ings avail­able on 027 368 2367 or via steve@ben­thorse­


The piki School Band from left Sam Mo­leta, 12, Ay­din Newell, 12, Sose­fina Kau­fusi, 10, Hunta Beales, 10, Christo­pher Brider, 11, and Sap­phyre Cas­sidy, 11.

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