mailife - - Contents - By REIJELI ROBANAKADAVU

Singing from the Heart

It is a love ac­quired at a very young age while singing in the kitchen or help­ing with other house­hold chores. Now it is part of ev­ery­day life in the United King­dom for this as­pir­ing artist with roots in Va­gadaci vil­lage, Le­vuka. The 15 year old UK born diva Mary Wise, daugh­ter of a Fi­jian sol­dier for­merly serv­ing in the UK, caused rip­ples at the Lon­don Pa­cific Fash­ion Show at Aus­tralia House in Lon­don ear­lier this month with her song “My Is­land Home”.She took the stage by storm with the mes­meris­ing num­ber orig­i­nally sung by Aus­tralian vo­cal­ist Chris­tine Anu. Be­fore the show Wise said it had been a hard few weeks of prac­tice to per­fect her per­for­mance, work­ing with her men­tor To­masi Kanailagi, the UK Fi­jian Methodist Fel­low­ship choir master. “I learned a great deal from Mr Kanailagi, who has been very in­stru­men­tal in me do­ing vo­cal ex­er­cises that helped me with my voice tone and tech­niques and to reach the oc­taves” she said. She pre­pared well and felt it was a great hon­our to be in­vited to per­form the open­ing num­ber at the show. Wise said it was an emo­tional mo­ment to have her mother, her great­est sup­porter, at the show to see her. “I am a Year 10 stu­dent at Melk­sham Oak Com­mu­nity Col­lege and ma­jor in Mu­sic. I would like to pur­sue a ca­reer in singing,” she said. Wise ded­i­cated her per­for­mance to her Nenna Ana in Tu­valu, grand­dad Apenisa No­dray­aca in Nadi and her name­sake and Nenna Mary Wise in Suva. “I would like to in­spire all Pa­cific youths in the UK to never give up on their dreams and grab ev­ery op­por­tu­nity handed to you no mat­ter how small it may be “she said Mother Ti­maima Wise said her daugh­ter had al­ways shown a singing tal­ent since she started Pri­mary school near the mil­i­tary camp at Larkhill in Wilt­shire. “She was a lead char­ac­ter in the school pro­duc­tion of the mu­si­cal ‘Robin Hood’. When she went to Avon Col­lege last year, she was cho­sen to play An­nie, a lead­ing role in the mu­si­cal ‘An­nie’ along­side her brother Joel, who shared the role as Mr War­bucks,” she said. This year her daugh­ter was the star at the school con­cert when she sang Adele’s hit song “Hello”. She was con­tin­u­ing to nur­ture her tal­ent by be­ing part of the Tid­worth Fi­jian Methodist Fel­low­ship Sun­day school choir and per­form­ing ev­ery year at the church’s an­nual con­fer­ence in the UK. “It was a plat­form for her to learn tonic sol-fa while be­ing in the choir and get­ting more con­fi­dence in per­form­ing, es­pe­cially dur­ing the an­nual choir com­pe­ti­tion when there are hun­dreds of mem­bers from around the coun­try at­tend­ing,” Mrs Wise said.“It boosted her morale and sup­port from the fam­ily, fam­ily friends and the school has helped her reach where she is now, but this is only the be­gin­ning of her jour­ney.” Choir master Kanailagi said prepa­ra­tion started six weeks be­fore the fash­ion show to hone the nat­u­ral tal­ent that Mary had. “There is a wealth of raw singing tal­ent within the Fi­jian youth in the UK, as seen dur­ing the an­nual Methodist choir com­pe­ti­tion, be­cause the chil­dren are taught from Sun­day school level to sing. “They also have a good net­work of sup­port from the par­ents and the church com­mu­nity to help in­vest in the young tal­ent.”

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