They're called The Quarter Pounders and they are quite probably the first string quartet from Whanganui to go through to the regional competitions since their tutor, Annie Hunt, played cello in such a group when she was at school in the 1970s.
Hideki Yutoku, Katie Chan, Bethany Crosse and Isabella Li took their violins, viola and cello, and their extraordinary talent through to second place in the recent NZCT Schools Chamber Music Contest, playing movements from Dvorak's American quartet.
They are now going through to the NZCT Chamber Music Contest Central Regional Final in Wellington on Saturday, July 2, in the Adam Concert Room at the NZ School of Music.
"There are 12 groups performing," says Annie.
The groups are all from the lower North Island. After all the regional competitions have been held, eight groups will go through to the national final.
The Quarter Pounders join the winning group, from Whanganui Collegiate School, the Slavenian Trio (violin, flute and piano), of which Hideki is also a member. Isabella also plays in a winning Palmerston North group.
"They are a group from four different schools," says Annie. "I was teaching Isabella at Nga Tawa and I teach Katie at Nga Tawa, but Isabella is now at Palmerston North Girls' High.
"They came together because I run a string group here in town. They've been part of the Whanganui Schools String Ensemble so they've got to know each other through that."
Katie's mother brings her over from Palmerston North, once a week.
"So we've had a tremendous amount of parental support."
Their ages vary considerably, with Isabella just 13, but in Year 10 ... "And she's a fine young cellist."
On the weekend she played in the Manawatū Area Badminton Competitions.
"She also plays piano very well. Bethany, the viola player, is also a fine pianist, and Hideki is an absolute one-off, probably the best young violinist I heard in all my 28 years of teaching."
He started learning from 3 years old.
"He and Bethany both got accepted for the National Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra this year."
Hideki has also been selected for the National Youth Orchestra which is holding its annual weekly course in July.
The Quarter Pounders will close the day at the regionals.
"A lot of effort has gone in by a lot of people to bring them collectively together," says Annie. "Whanganui has had two groups go through before: that's not unusual. The unusual thing is that it's the first string quartet to represent this district for a long time."