He may not have been present in physical form but the late classical musician Michael Pilaar was part of a fundraiser concert held in his memory.
Michael, a talented musician passionate about sharing his love for people and music, died from melanoma in June. He was 19.
Yesterday, young Rotorua musicians took to the stage to not only honour Michael but also to help raise money to support others like themselves.
The fundraiser concert, A Gift of Music, was held at Western Heights High School yesterday afternoon, showcasing the talents of young musicians including instrumentalists, singers, dancers, a choir and jazz band.
The concert will raise money for the Michael Pilaar Memorial Music Fund, which was set up to honour the memory of the musician as well as to support other young classical musicians in the Rotorua and Taupo areas.
Michael's mother, Elizabeth Pilaar, said one of those performing was Alice Croucher, who danced to a track that was recorded by Michael last year.
"It was Michael improvising to cello to Bailey Morrison singing and playing piano," Pilaar said.
"It's like he's a part of the concert in some way," she said.
"All the performers who are there are friends of Michael's, it's a celebration of Michael's love of music ... it's a celebration of music."
Pilaar said she was thankful to Western Heights High School staff who made sure the concert had a venue and to performers who were giving up their time to be part of the event.
"They [staff] were so flexible and willing to help us, they moved exams out of the hall.
"Many of these performers have NCEA exams this coming week."
She said the concert was "an expression of love", which was positive for everyone.
The weekend's concert was the second official fundraiser for the Michael Pilaar Memorial Music Fund. The first was held a couple of weeks ago and raised $5000.
Pilaar said she would likely know how much had been raised from the concert by the end of today but hoped for between $6000-$7000.