Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Nine in regional finals

Rotorua school bands made a big impression on the judges at the Smokefreerockquest regional heats with nine groups making the regional finals.

The Rotorua regional heats for the popular music contest were held at the Rotorua Convention Centre on Saturday with more than 20 bands, duos or solo acts taking to the stage.

Smokefreerockquest Upper North Island manager Matt Ealand said it was tough picking the finalists.

"It's always really good here in Rotorua and this is proven by the last 10 years where Rotorua has had a band in the national finals every year.

"This year is no different and based on what we saw there will be at least one national finalist again this year," Mr Ealand said.

One of the bands to make it to the regional final was Aftershock, made up of three students from Western Heights High School and one from John Paul College.

They made the top 20 in last year's Smokefreerockquest.

Aftershock drummer Oliver Prendergast said the band was excited to make the regional finals again and would be giving it everything to make the national finals.

"We're happy to get wherever we can but we'll try our best to get there.

"We're all really looking forward to it. We've been mates for a long time and have been playing together for three years."

Also making the regional finals in Taupo on June 22 are Title from Rotorua Girls' High School, Ellie Redmond from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, Loft from Western Heights High School, Burning Skies from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, Zenith from Rotorua Lakes High School, Toi Toi Tree from John Paul College and Lakes High School, Kingdom from Western Heights High School, ABN from Taupo-nui-a-Tia College and Rotorua Boys' High School, Fair Ground from Rotorua Lakes High School, Puoro Kaupare from Tarawera High School and Out Of Tunar from Western Heights High School.

At the regional final, first and second place for the solo/duo section will be announced, as will the top three placings for bands and other awards.

The top two regional bands and solo/duos will then submit videos which go into the judging pool for selection as national finalists.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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