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Kiwi Kids Keen To Prove They Are The World's Largest Ukulele Orchestra

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Kiwi Kids Keen To Prove They Are The World's Largest Ukulele Orchestra

New Zealand children claim to have the biggest ukulele orchestra in the world - and they are about to pull a stunt to prove it.

There have been at least three attempts this year to break the world record for ukulele playing, including one here in New Zealand, but London's tally of 851 players is the current record.

The Kiwileles orchestra which can now boast over 1200 players will again form to play at the BNZ Ukulele Festival 2009 on November 21st. "The children were getting rather miffed at hearing about these other record attempts they knew they had unofficially beaten, so we are going to set the record straight once and for all," says

The Giant Ukulele: On Friday November 13th the Kiwileles will gather at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland for a pre-festival rehearsal. At 10.30 am they will take a break from strumming, form a giant ukulele and hold their colourful ukes skyward.

An aerial photograph will be taken to back their claim that New Zealand in fact has the biggest ukulele orchestra in the world.

Festival a cornucopia of local and (truly) international uke acts: Alongside the Kiwileles who will play three sets on the mainstage will be Australian artist Rose Turtle Ertler who plays her ukulele with a distortion pedal and Tongan Sione Aleki, known to play his with his teeth.

Local headliners the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra will face a bit of tongue in cheek competition from rival group the Auckland Intergalactic Panpacific Ukulele Orchestra, aka The Teachukes, who in an unlikely collaboration, have convinced Andrew Fagan to join them to perform his 80's Mockers' hit Forever Tuesday Morning.

Uke Art Competition: Festival sponsor BNZ is holding a Uke Art competition for budding artists keen to take to a ukulele with a paintbrush.

Thirty nine 'naked ukes' are up for grabs for winners at participating BNZ stores - full details available on the festival website www.bnz.co.nz/ukefest Strumming

For Schools: Despite the exponential growth in ukulele playing in New Zealand schools, the programme is now in jeopardy. With recent cuts in Education funding to core-curricular areas such as music, next year the schools will no longer have a co-ordinator.

Determined to keep the programme going and growing, Auckland's ukulele acts are coming together for a fundraiser at the Gables Tavern on November 7th. Money raised will go the NZ Ukulele Festival Trust to fund this role.

''Learning an instrument enriches children's lives, and the skills involved enhance all areas of learning. The Trust wants every Kiwi kid to have this chance," says trustee Miranda Rocca. Featuring an eclectic mix of Auckland's ukulele ensembles, last year's pre-festival fundraiser was a sell-out.

BNZ Ukulele Festival 2009: Saturday 21 November, 10 - 4 p m, Mt Smart Stadium. Strumming for Schools: Saturday 7th November, Gables Tavern, 7.30pm, $10 on the door More info at www bnz.co.nz/ukefest

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