Ukulele youngsters show plenty of pluck at festival

By Cherie Taylor

They looked cute with their ukuleles under their arms but it was the little trio's sounds that wowed the crowd at the Hot Lakes Craft Market.

Rotorua School of Music ukulele students, Jason Grey, 6, Hannah Seo, 6, and Hannah Muir, 9, had the audience in awe as they played to a crowd on the lawn during the first Rotorua Ukulele Festival held at the Rotorua Arts Village (RAVE) this weekend.

All three have been under the tutelage of Adrienne Hall and took in the festival this weekend.

Hannah Muir, from Otonga School is the most experienced of the group with three years of ukulele lessons behind her.

She has just got a new ukulele with an amplifier lug so her "sounds can be heard right through the house" now.

"It's such a unique instrument. Really different from the guitar. I love the sound," she said.

The 9-year-old and her cousins often put on shows for family but this weekend it was visitors to RAVE who enjoyed the group's talent.

Westbrook School's Jason Grey, 6, has been learning ukulele this year.

Mum Dyanne Grey said her son was very music minded.

"He just loves musical instruments. He's just picked it up himself ... We are very proud of him."

Hannah Seo, 7, from Malfroy School has also only been taking ukulele lessons this year.

"I like doing the chords," she told The Daily Post.

Linda Tomann said she closed her eyes as they played to savour the sound.

"They were so cute and they sounded like little angels playing."

Ukulele Festival organiser Julie Parsons said it had been a highly successful weekend with about 150 people taking in The Nukes Concert at the Millennium on Saturday night and about 60 people taking part in workshops throughout the weekend.

"It's been really good. People have had a fantastic time," she said.

Plans are already under way for the next ukulele festival which will include ukulele-making classes, with Bas from the Big Muffin Serious Band on hand to help out, she said.

"This first festival has been so successful plans are already under foot for another festival next year."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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