Porirua children’s orchestra wows SI

Virtuoso Strings members (from left) EJ Roebeck (12, violin), Avia Lemisio (12, viola) and Atonio...
Virtuoso Strings members (from left) EJ Roebeck (12, violin), Avia Lemisio (12, viola) and Atonio Kemp (17, cello) outside the Dunedin Railway Station yesterday. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A former Dunedin woman has brought an orchestra of Porirua children to perform in her "old stomping ground''.

In 2013, Virtuoso Strings musical director Liz Sneyd, of Tawa, began teaching children from Porirua East to play classical music.

The Dunedin-raised woman approached two principals in the area with a promise of providing classical instruments and tuition for 10 pupils from each school.

The orchestra has since grown to about 120 members.

About 40 members are on a South Island tour and performed in Dunedin yesterday.

‘‘It's great to show the kids the South Island and see it through their eyes. ‘‘They are having a ball,'' Mrs Sneyd said yesterday.

The orchestra will perform a lunchtime concert at Larnach Castle today before relaxing in the city and spending some busking revenue on a movie and a meal.

Volunteers and players Joyce Fuatavai and Nikki Tamaiva said the orchestra played to about 120 people at Oamaru Opera House on Sunday.‘‘It was amazing,'' Mrs Tamaiva said.

In Dunedin yesterday, the orchestra played at Knox Church in the afternoon and King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre last night.

The members were enjoying experiencing Mrs Sneyd's ‘‘old stomping ground'', Mrs Tamaiva said.

Ms Fuatavai said the tour was an ‘‘eye-opener'' for the children and allowed them to see ‘‘where music could take them''.

The children, aged between 6 and 17, had responded well to the ‘‘gruelling'' tour, Ms Fuatavai said.

The songs the children played ranged from Bach to Lady Gaga.

Violin player EJ Roebeck said his favourite song to play was Legend, by David O'Fallon.‘‘It's lively and strong,'' EJ said.

He was in his third year of playing the violin after discovering a love for the instrument in Mrs Sneyd's class.


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