By Helen Martin
To the credit of many young local musicians and their staunch supporters and mentors, of the 12 bands successful in making it to the regional finals of the Smoke Free Rock Quest this year, four were from Kaipara College.
Even better – every band had a win. Rock ‘n’ roll band Flintwater Express took out the prestigious first prize and alt/punk band O-Boy! was second. The Best Musicianship award went to metal/rap band Token and the Ghosts’s bassist Teone Wilkinson and Best Vocalist was jazz/soul group Bosco’s singer Beth Stewart.
The next big challenge for Flintwater Express and O-Boy! is to produce a 15-minute performance video, which will compete alongside the other Rock Quest regional winners for one of just six places in the finals.
Talking about their success and the support they receive musicians Bianca Bailey, Teone Wilkinson, Taine Ngatai and Quinn Hart were unequivocal in their praise of Deputy Principal Nick Roberts, who has nurtured a vibrant music culture at the school for many years, and Head of Music Daniel Barrett, a muso himself, who is an excellent mentor. It’s evident that while eyes are definitely on the prize, especially the opportunity to record a single, it’s the culture the students value most. In their words, “We’re a music family.”