A young Waikato musician will be taking to the stage with some famous faces this May, and all for a good cause!
Mouse Varcoe, who attends Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, will be performing in We Are One, a concert for autism being held in Auckland on May 13.
She will be joining Kiwi music legends Mike Chunn, Fiona McDonald, Jordan Luck, Larry Morris and Peter Urlich and others.
Performing alongside the North Shore Youth Music Orchestra, Mouse will be singing her original song Picture to Burn, which was a finalist in the 2016 Play It Strange Song Writing Competition.
The 17-year-old from Te Kowhai has been playing guitar for eight years and has been involved with music for as long as she can remember.
"I've grown up around music and musicians my whole life. I started serious songwriting a few years ago and singing since ... well, before I could talk really."
Mouse has been involved with Play It Strange since last year when she entered the Lion Foundation songwriting competition and was selected to feature her song on their 2016 digital album.
She cites her experience to date with Play It Strange as having given her many positive opportunities for feedback and growth resulting from song performances, recordings and workshops.
"CEO of Play It Strange, Mike Chunn, has a great passion for young songwriters to be heard and works very hard to give everyone these opportunities. I'll never forget his initial advice to me, 'Work hard and never stop writing!' It seems the more I write the better I become! ... I now have goals to achieve with a desire to continue to have my songs recorded and maybe one day published," said Mouse.
I've grown up around music and musicians my whole life. I started serious songwriting a few years ago and singing since ... well, before I could talk really.
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She jumped at the chance to perform one of her original songs at the We Are One concert when approached by Chunn.
"Autism is a very real thing, however to me they aren't different or disadvantaged people ... They are ones waiting to shine! The strings in my song Picture to Burn were written solely by Matthew Beardsworth, a talented man who lives with autism himself, so this makes my song all the more special.
"It gives me such a rush to be able to perform my own music, as the majority of the time it's something that no one has heard before and it feels amazing to be able to contribute something original, and of my own, to the NZ music scene."
Mouse says she is humbled and privileged to be able to perform alongside these Kiwi music legends.
The We Are One concert aims to shine the light on autism through music, celebrating difference and recognising the talent and courage of New Zealanders living with autism.
The We Are One concert will be held on May 13 at Sacred Heart College Auditorium, Glendowie, Auckland, from 6pm, with the show starting at 7pm.
Buy tickets from Eventfinda. Tickets cost $45 for adults and $25 for children.
For more information on Play It Strange visit www.playitstrange.org.nz.