Student bands in the spotlight

Oosha and 6 Dimensions. Back row: Ben Wiles, Jessica Schuler, Mya Tohia, Tom Henson. Middle: Ryan Lake, Liam Davis, Cayden Buitendach, Cooper van Dijk, Claire Smith, Jesse Chettleburgh. Front: Damien Enright and Oscar Susilla.

Cambridge Middle School’s budding musical talents are being recognised in more ways than one, having earned a raft of awards and recognitions at recent regional competitions.

Two bands formed under the school’s Performing Arts Academy, “Oosha” and “6 Dimensions”, performed at the recent BandSlam competition on August 4. Then on August 18, Oosha took to the stage once again for the BandQuest competition at the Clarence Street Theatre where they won the Best Original Song Award, winning $100 cash for their school.

The Oosha band members said they had heaps of fun during their performance on Friday night, and credited the earlier performance on August 4 as a chance to cool their nerves and get comfortable with being on the big stage.

Oosha drummer Ben Wiles was awarded 2nd Best Drummer. Photo – Carl Gordon

“I think we improved heaps since our previous performance. We probably could have done a little better but it was heaps of fun,” said the group’s drummer, Ben Wiles. “We were more comfortable with our movement the second time around.”

“It was a little nerve wracking first getting on stage, but then it wasn’t once we started performing. The adrenalin rush was insane,” added guitarist Liam Davis.

The band’s vocalist Jes Schuler originally wrote the night’s award-winning song, “Take Me”, which the band adapted for their performance. Jes was also awarded Overall Best Singer. The group’s bassist, Oscar Susilla, was awarded Best Bassist, and the drummer Ben Wiles awarded 2nd Best Drummer. Also in the band, Damien Enright was awarded Best Keyboardist, and also won 2nd Best Keyboardist at the first performance on August 4. The group was also awarded Best Original Song at the August 4 event, BandSlam. Also in the group is Ryan Lake on guitar.

Jes Schuler wrote the award-winning song, “Take Me” and was awarded Overall Best Singer at BandQuest. Photo – Carl Gordon

Cambridge Middle School’s other up-and-coming band 6 Dimensions said they had a great time performing at BandSlam, held at Hamilton’s Activate Church.

“I thought we did pretty good,” said the band’s cellist, Cooper Van Dijk, “we did get a bit nervous before hand because our instruments got locked in!”

The band was able to “break” their way into the storage space to get to their instruments not long before getting on stage, and said they weren’t thrown off by the initial mishap. “That was enjoyable,” Cooper joked of the off-stage blunder.

“I think we just wanted to get out there,” added the band’s vocalist, Mya Tohia. And once they got “out there” they were fine indeed, delivering an excellent performance and adding a notch to their belt for on-stage public performances. “I liked it, it was great,” said vocalist Jesse Chettleburgh.

In the end Jesse was awarded Best Male Vocalist and Cooper was awarded Best “Other” instrument. Also in the band is drummer Tom Henson and guitarists Cayden Buitendach and Claire Smith.

Ryan Lake. Photo – Carl Gordon, Planet Pix Photography.

Their music teacher Tami Lee Ward said the school was very proud of the two bands and what they had achieved so far. “They’ve worked really hard. They rehearse once a week on Monday afternoons, so they put a lot of time and effort into it. We’re very pleased with their progress.”

The bands will have a few in-house performances at school before going on tour in November, performing at a few Cambridge schools before heading into South Waikato. At the end of November, on the 27th they will also perform at the school as part of a Monday evening performance – which the public will be welcome to attend to. Watch this space for more details!

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