One of the most acclaimed bands to have stepped on stage for the Hawke's Bay heats of past Smokefree Rockquest will not be making a sound this year, but Hastings Boys' High School music tutor Justin Lindsay is philosophical about it.

"We've had to pull out — it is a real blow but that's the way things go," he said.

The Bay heats are being staged tomorrow.

As he pointed out, the band Horizon is essentially made up of young Polynesian lads and on Sunday there is a big church event being staged and they are committed to attending that.


While disappointed, as the band has made it to the finals in past events, he understood completely the commitment of the young men, and said it was a mixture of their personal confidence and the approach to music they experienced at their churches which had sparked their growing talents.

"They are usually taught to play something at church and so they arrive here with those fundamental skills."

Skills he is dedicated to honing.

There has been an upsurge in the creation of school bands, Lindsay said.

When he started at the school about five years ago there was a barbershop quartet.

Since then he has steered a course of encouraging everything from bands to groups and choirs, and is presently embarking on a push toward music production and the use of software.

"To allow the boys to potentially compose electronic music, and the next step after that to get some of the boys to actually get up and perform their electronic music.

Electronic music was a major player on the tuneful landscape today and was being embraced by more students.


While the notes were electronically there it came down to composition and timing.

"It is early days but they are picking it up," he said, adding a couple of his boys were showing strong sparks and he believed they would ultimately take it to the stage.

Lindsay said for the young bands today there were good venues on offer like the Common Room, the Paisley Stage and the Cabana.

As well as the development of electronic music, he was delighted to see young people pursuing the traditional drums, keyboards, bass and guitars within the formation of bands.

He said the Smokefree Rockquest highlighted and encouraged the young talent out there.

Hastings Boys' High School, like many schools, had also had a strong association with Prima Volta with many students embracing the classical/operatic path.

"They have been phenomenal for our boys," Lindsay said, and highlighted the remarkable talent of LJ Crichton, who had been vocalist for Horizon and graduated last year.

"His ability before a crowd was about a decade ahead of where it probably should have been," he said.

Much of that was down to his association with Prima Volta and the confidence he took from it.