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Ukulele orchestra to help quake-hit kids

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Former Split Enz star Mike Chunn is set to help Christchurch Methodist Mission brighten the spirits of Christchurch kids affected by the earthquakes.

Mike heads up the Play It Strange Trust, which is working with the Methodist Mission and local musicians to provide a range of fun activities that will build a sense of hope among the city's children and young people.

The Methodist Mission has recruited Mike and the Play It Strange Trust he heads to work with local musicians to create ukulele orchestras and other fun activities in schools.

"The Methodist Mission played a major role in the emergency response to the earthquakes and the initial recovery period. We have been providing a range of services in schools but now we want to offer children some activities that are all about having fun.

"Children who have a positive outlook about the future are more likely to cope with adversity and change," Methodist Mission executive director Mary Richardson says.

"Play It Strange wanted to do something to support Christchurch recovery. We run a number of programmes designed to stimulate the imagination of young people through a love of music," Mike says.

"Through music young people gain life skills, such as self-confidence, reliability, responsibility, communication and leadership. And they can help build a vibrant tradition of New Zealand music."

Methodist Mission will provide 420 free ukuleles to 20 low decile and quake-affected schools in Christchurch. Celia Stewart, a local music educator, will provide training workshops for teachers.

The activities Play It Strange and Methodist Mission will hold in Christchurch this year include:

Ukulele Orchestra Programme in schools with an end-of-year ukulele festival for all;

Lyric Competition in which primary school students can write words about being 'Proud and Strong'. New Zealand star Annah Mac will write the music and perform the song with the winner of the competition.

Mobile Recording Studio where young people can experience the process of recording and producing their own songs.

Music for Pre-schoolers that will feature travelling musicians who will visit early childhood centres with musical instruments that kids can play and sing to. Mayor Bob Parker will launch the initiative at Chisnallwood Intermediate School on April 2nd. The programme at the launch will include live performances by singer-songwriter Natalie Slade and the Chisnallwood Ukulele Orchestra.

Mayor Bob Parker says the initiative is a wonderful way to put some fun back in young people's lives.

"These musically-themed activities will foster children and young people's resilience and hope, which will assist them in feeling more positive about their own future as well as their city's."

We offer our thanks to the schools that have joined the activities and all the local musicians, student radio RDU and many others who will support them plus the sponsors who are supporting the initiative financially, Mary said.

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