Region's pupils prepare to rock out at Smokefreerockquest

Purveyor Of Fine Meats band members (from left) William McLauchlan, Bailey Phizacklea, Tom Gold and Julian Hamilton (all 16) rehearse for the upcoming heat of the Otago regional Smokefreerockquest in Mosgiel. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Purveyor Of Fine Meats band members (from left) William McLauchlan, Bailey Phizacklea, Tom Gold and Julian Hamilton (all 16) rehearse for the upcoming heat of the Otago regional Smokefreerockquest in Mosgiel. Photo: Peter McIntosh
With a line-up of names like Purveyor Of Fine Meats, Crinkle Cut, Bee's and T's, and even Band Substance, you could be forgiven for thinking they were a collection of stalls in a market place, rather than bands in this year's Smokefreerockquest Otago heats.

But these are among 34 bands and nine solo/duos gearing up to perform in the competition at Taieri College early next month.

During the next four weeks, about 3000 pupils are expected to compete in regional heats and finals, in 24 towns from Invercargill to Whangarei.

Founder and director Glenn Common said during the past 30 years, there had been tremendous support from schools who valued the framework the event created for their pupils to strive for success, express themselves and gain NCEA credits.

''This is often mentioned as the motivator that keeps kids engaged in the school system.

''Teachers can see the benefits that being in a band brings. Kids learn to co-operate, to negotiate around their differences, to express their thoughts and emotions in words, to front up on time, to promote themselves and their ideals.

''And performing live on stage is a great boost in confidence - it requires a lot of skills that are not just musical.''

First and second place in the solo/duo competition, and the winner of the Tangata Beats award, will be announced at the heats.

However, the winning band will not be named until next month, when the top 12 bands from the heats perform in the Otago final on June 21.

The top regional bands and solo/duos will then submit video footage of their performances, in a bid to be selected as a finalist in the Smokefreerockquest national final on September 14.

Musical successes from the competition over the past 30 years include Broods, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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