Wearing a bright red wig while singing One in a Million at the age of five on the Coastlands Star Search stage, then just a karaoke competition, was the start of Hunter Meek's singing career.
Now, after years of training and developing the voice, Hunter has been offered a solo at the Nelson Civic Choir's November concert featuring Faure's Requiem along with a number of pieces by New Zealand composers.
Hunter, a young treble from Kāpiti College, will sing the treble solo in Faure's Requiem, Pie Jesu.
"I was so happy when I found out. It's exciting being my first ever paid concert."
At 16, Hunter has been classically trained for six years and sings for the love of it.
"Singing is just enjoyable to me. I totally just love music and singing. I can't say why I love it, I just do. I love the way it makes me feel, it makes me feel really good inside.
"It's a great release, it's alway sort of been my friend."
Looking for a soloist, the Nelson Civic Choir approached Kāpiti College music teacher Bridget O'Shannassy who recommended Hunter for the job. Hunter is trained by local opera singer Moana Pember.
"You have to be careful when you're still growing to protect your voice so we didn't push my voice too hard early on.
"I've been practicing with Moana and am feeling pretty good.
"I'm almost fully prepared for the performance, there will be a couple of rehearsals beforehand so it'll be great to meet everyone."
With an impressive CV for a 16-year-old, Hunter has been in several Kāpiti College chamber music groups and gained valuable performance experience entering in the NZCT secondary schools chamber music competition.
Hunter was one of the youngest people to be accepted into the classical voice stream of the NZSM Young Musicians Programme at Victoria University, attending for four years.
Also enjoying other performing arts disciplines, Hunter won the Outstanding Young Actor Cup in the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Regional Festival last year.
Hunter has plans to study music after school.
"At the moment what I'd like to do is a Bachelor of Music at Victoria University and then go to a music conservatorium somewhere in Europe."
Hunter is excited to have this opportunity to sing and work with Nelson Civic Choir.