The New Zealand Ukulele Festival says aloha to ukulele superstars

There’s just one month to go until The New Zealand Ukulele Festival takes over Vector Arena for its 10 year celebration, with teen Hawaiian YouTube sensations Honoka and Azita announced today as the festival’s international guest act.

The New Zealand Ukulele Festival

The New Zealand Ukulele Festival

New Zealand Ukulele Trust Chairperson Mary Cornish says she’s thrilled that Honoka and Azita agreed to play at the festival.

“Honoka and Azita are superstars of the ukulele world and internet stars, but what excites me most about having them on the line-up is that they are young, they showcase how much fun music can be – and  that it can take you places.”

The festival will be hosted by MC Jackie Clarke and will also feature Malcolm Lakatani’s Creative Souls Project, The Nukes, a Teen Talent Showcase, workshops, free lessons, face-painting, pop up performances, competitions and giveaways.

But the headline act is the Kiwileles massed ukulele orchestra of 2500 children who will perform a 75 minute set of mostly New Zealand music from the Vector Arena stage.

Mary Cornish says that Saturday 3 December marks the culmination of months of preparation and rehearsals for the Kiwileles who each year rise to the challenge of learning to sing and play to an audience of thousands.

“We released the CD and songbook and started running teacher workshops for this year’s festival in May. Ever since then, teachers and children from 122 schools from all over New Zealand have been practicing for the big day. “It’s a huge undertaking for our volunteers and the teachers, with schools from out of Auckland fundraising throughout the year to allow them to come to Auckland to take part.

“We’re very proud to be celebrating 10 years of this wonderful programme that has seen 24,000 primary school children not only discover music, but learn to sing and play the songs that bring New Zealanders together.

“Every year we witness a new batch of children become confident singers, instrumentalists and performers as part of the Kiwileles initiative. It is a transformational experience for these children and audiences are blown away by how good they sound. Rehearsals are all but completed and our 2016 Kiwileles are sounding better than ever and they can’t wait to say “I performed at Vector Arena!””

The New Zealand Ukulele Festival 
Saturday December 3
11am – 4pm
Vector Arena

Facts and Figures on the festival

  • In ten years the festival has worked with 304 individual schools, starting with 32 in 2007. Registrations for 2016 currently sit at 122 from 31 towns and cities.
  • There have been over 1000 school engagements with the festival to date and over 1200 ukuleles donated to schools by the New Zealand Ukulele Trust to assist schools to deliver a music programme free to students.
  • Approximately 24,000 students have been involved in the Kiwileles massed schools ukulele orchestra, and in recent years, an estimated audience of 10,000 people attend the festival annually.
  • The official songbook for 2016 features 17 songs including Kiwi pop songs by Avalanche City, SIX60 and Jordan Luck, traditional,  Maori and Pasifika songs, the Kiwi Ukulele theme song and a ukulele mash up of Beethoven tunes.
  • The registration cost for the festival per school is $138 which covers the songbook, a rehearsal CD,  teacher workshops and rehearsals. The festival is free for participants, families and music fans who attend on the day, although gold coin donations are welcomed.

About The New Zealand Ukulele Trust

  • What we do: the New Zealand Ukulele Trust wants to make sure music is a part of every child’s education. We support schools to teach children how to play, sing and perform with confidence.
  • The songs  we use find their way into classrooms, playgrounds, assemblies, cars, buses, camps, and homes around the country so we choose them carefully.  The songs become part of children’s lives forever! We consult with experts in music education and the music industry to help us prepare the highest quality resources that are relatable and relevant to Kiwi kids.  Why the ukulele? It is portable, cheap, easy to learn, easy to teach and encourages singing!  The ukulele is great for song writing and kids love it. It is the perfect gateway instrument too.
  • Why we do it: Making music delivers a range of tangible benefits that endure for a lifetime. Research tells us again and again. But above all, music brings us together, inspires, develops tolerance and empathy, tells our stories, expresses our  identity, feelings and humanity. Music helps grow great kids, strong communities and brings happiness that should be part of every child’s day.
  • How we do it: Our activities rely on securing donations, contestable grants, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, drive, passion and goodwill from many incredible people who share our vision.

Thank you to our major supporters for 2016: Creative Communities, Auckland Council, Vector Arena and Foundation North.

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