The orchestral sounds of Sistema Whangārei filled the lounge of Cairnfield House yesterday as the students performed a concert they had planned themselves.

Around 34 residents filled the lounge, along with parents of the young musicians and Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai.

They were entertained by a concert which had been months in the making.

Resident Lottie McMillan claps along to the final piece of music. Photo/John Stone
Resident Lottie McMillan claps along to the final piece of music. Photo/John Stone

Ten-year-old Tui Te Ngahue-Puketo was part of the organising committee.

Advertisement

"We came here and we talked to them about what songs them wanted to hear."

She said the residents asked for things like reggae, country western and jig music.

The students went away, decided on the pieces they would play and got practising. One piece they performed, called Rockin' Robin, they learnt in a week.

As Anzac Day was on Thursday, the committee had also organised for The Last Post to be played by former Sistema tutor Alex Winterton, who was home on holiday from university.

Cairnfield House resident Elaine Fergusson enjoys the concert. Photo/John Stone
Cairnfield House resident Elaine Fergusson enjoys the concert. Photo/John Stone

The students were in charge of all the details, including making sure all the gear got to the venue.

It was the first time the orchestra had organised a performance themselves.

Te Ngahue-Puketo said to see it all come together and to play on the day was "really fun".

Fellow committee member Aurian White said making decisions was "quite easy when you have a team".

Advertisement

The residents and the young musicians enjoyed a morning tea before some of the students provided some further impromptu entertainment on the piano.

Programme director Sam Winterton said she was "really proud" of the students.

"When they own it, and they've got that deep sense of belonging, that's good for them."

Sistema Whangārei's Sebastian White follows the music as he plays. Photo/John Stone
Sistema Whangārei's Sebastian White follows the music as he plays. Photo/John Stone

The performance received a glowing review from resident Russell Matthews.

He described it as "terrific" and "the bees knees, the business".

"They should be on TV."

Matthews said he was "part of the band just about" in his front row seat.

"I can't wait for their next visit."

Sistema Whangārei turned six last week - a milestone it acknowledged during its holiday programme.