Concert part of classic summer break for talented teens

1:38 pm on 17 January 2019

Most teenagers are probably enjoying their summer holiday by going to the beach or the mall, but for 75 young musicians, they instead choose to practise.

Jessica Yokich (left).

Jessica Yokich (left). Photo: Liu Chen

They are in a week-long programme run by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), aiming to perform in a concert at the Auckland Town Hall tomorrow.

Holly Isherwood is a percussionist and has been coming to the programme every summer for the last three years.

She never gets tired of it, she said.

"It keeps me busy," the 13-year-old said.

"I don't like sitting around lying in the sun, I'm already tan so it doesn't matter for me."

Holly started playing the drums a few years ago before she expanded to different percussion instruments.

She said she was instantly drawn to the drums.

"My brothers used guitar but then they stopped because they are more sport people," Holly said.

"My dad took me to the Rock Shop [an instrument store] and then I saw the drums and I was like, yeah I want to play that."

Jessica Yokich has never been a part of the APO programme before, but has played the trumpet for the last six years at her Rātana church.

This was the 16-year-old's first time playing in an orchestra.

"No-one actually believed that I was into classical music [but] I was like I'm going to make it there, I'm going to do it," Jessica said.

"I like being here, it's a different experience from my hāhi [religion] and from school.

"I'm doing something I love."

David Kay.

David Kay. Photo: Photo / RNZ Liu Chen

Jessica said she was the odd one out among her friends.

"They don't know this side of me, I'm usually a pop girl but deep down I like classical, jazz and bluesy types of music."

The musicians this year were from Auckland, Hamilton, Taupō, Tauranga and Gisborne.

Applications for the Summer School programme are open to anyone at a grade four music level between 12 and 17 years old from across the country.

The teenagers are sent sheet music for five concert pieces beforehand and mentored by professional musicians when they start the programme.

The conductor for the concert on Friday, David Kay, said courses like these were vital for aspiring young musicians.

"Eighteen years ago, I was one of the students at the summer school sitting there with my french horn learning and playing, and now I've grown up and I'm a horn player regularly in the orchestra and a conductor," he said.

"It's great for them to see a pathway that can be achieved and I'm really pleased to be able to give back and to be able to show that, that complete circle is happening."

Tickets for the concert are available from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

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