One of the youngest trios to sing with the OnStage Manawatū swing band will feature at the band's annual gig at Summerset on Summerhill on Sunday, February 28.
The Harmonettes comprise Mahnoor Hussein, 19, Amy Mae Sorrell, 18, and Amelia Williamson, 19.
The three will be at Summerset under the auspices of renowned jazz artist and vocal tutor Erna Ferry. All are graduates of Palmerston North Girls' High School.
Erna teaches at the school and after a time introduced them to jazz. They're no strangers to the city's performance scene, singing from venues as small as the Hokowhitu Farmers' Market to big audiences in The Square.
It isn't, however, quite as easy to get together as it was when they studied at Girls' High. All are in their second year at university, and while Amy Mae and Mahnoor are still in Palmerston North Amelia is studying in Auckland.
She happily flies home from time to time, and will do so for the Summerset concert.
The three have varying backgrounds. Amelia is Palmerston North-born, but Amy Mae hails from Robin Hood country, Nottingham in the UK, and Mahnoor from Pakistan. Their study choices are equally diverse.
Mahnoor is doing a bachelor of science in psychology; Amy Mae is studying business leadership and management; and Amelia's course combines music and global studies majoring in human rights.
Her plan is that the two will merge. Her ambition is to work for a better deal for New Zealand musicians. She plays piano and guitar and like Amy Mae writes her own songs as well as performing the standards that are the band's staple diet. In addition she is a member of the National Youth Choir's reserve choir.
Mahnoor has been in the city since she was 3. Her first language is Urdu and she is well-known as a performer at Pakistani functions. Her relationship with the band almost follows the well-worn path of the understudy stepping in when the principal can't fill the bill.
It goes back to August 2019 when band director Alan Horsfall invited Erna Ferry to sing at a Manawatū Jazz Club gig. Erna wasn't available but recommended Mahnoor.
"Mahnoor was a big hit with the crowd," Alan recalls, so when he found Erna wasn't available for this month's Summerset concert he called on Mahnoor again.
"We're delighted she wants to sing with the band. It's always a delight to work with young talented performers and Mahnoor certainly fits that description."
Mahnoor will choose from a range of numbers that include Summertime and The Lady is a Tramp.
The Harmonettes will select from Don't Sit under the Apple Tree, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, Girl Talk, Hit Me with a Hot Note (and watch me bounce), the Dean Martin standard Sway and the Christine Aguilera version of Candyman (not to be confused with Sammy Davis' The Candyman, a much more staid affair).
The concert also features Colombian singer Aleyda Mina Garcia and Simon Grant on vocals.
Guest instrumentalists include lead trombone Nick van Dyke, Errol Christiansen on flute and trombone and Dave Edmonds on trombone.
What: Summerset on Summerhill
When: Sunday, February 28, 2pm
Where: 180 Ruapehu Drive, Palmerston North
Tickets: Gold coin donation for Alzheimers Manawatū