Singing with a legend

The Leamington School choir sang Parihaka with Tim Finn at the town hall on November 8.

Eleven-year-old Taye Purdy didn’t know who Tim Finn was two months ago – now he’s shared a stage with him.

Taye’s mother Deb was amazed when her son came home from school at the start of term and told her he would be singing with the legendary Kiwi musician in the Leamington School choir.

She said it was “absolutely awesome” watching the 57-strong group perform ‘Parihaka’ at the town hall with Finn on Friday evening, November 8, at a fundraiser for Cambridge Community House, “An Evening of Stories and Songs”, which also starred celebrity cook Allyson Gofton and musician Harry Parsons.

“It was an amazing performance and a once in a lifetime opportunity and I reckon the kids will forever remember this,” Deb Purdy said.

Taye, who had never performed in front of so many people and rates it as the coolest thing he’s ever done, said he was nervous when the curtain was about to rise but the scariest moment was stepping forward to lead a haka after the song was over.

His voice was still hoarse two days after the performance. He said the highlight of the night was meeting Finn and getting his autograph on his t-shirt and both arms, which he was not planning to wash.

Debbie Vanderhorst, who supports Petra Gilbert to tutor the Leamington School choir and is a “massive” Finn brothers fan, said Finn had visited the school to rehearse and had been “lovely” to work with.

She said watching the choir perform on Friday night had been “just mindblowing – and as usual the students exceeded our expectations”.

Taye Purdy led a haka performance after the Leamington School choir performed ‘Parihaka’ with Tim Finn.

New Zealand musician Harry Parsons, who went to school in Cambridge and now lives in Auckland, volunteered his time to set up the town hall sound system.  He also played his own songs and performed with Finn.

“Tim actually emailed me and said, I’d like to get you up for a couple of songs, so I got to play the guitar for ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Dirty Creature’,” Harry said.

“I’d had a couple of weeks to prepare, but on the third song on the night he just said would you like to come up and jam on that one too, so it was pretty cool.  He’s such an inspiring, passionate player, so seeing all the effort he was going to right next to me and being able to support that was pretty surreal,” he said.

Parsons released a song a couple of months ago and is hoping to release two more, available on iTunes and Spotify, in December.

Cambridge Community House general manager Harriet Dixon was grateful to everyone who had supported the fundraiser, which she said had been “a huge success”.

“The performers did what they do best and the audience was in awe of their talent,” she said.

“The funds raised are still being counted but it will all be going back into the community to fund the many free services we provide. Without local support like this we couldn’t keep our doors open.

“We are currently fundraising for a much needed extension to the Community House.  We still have a way to go but hope that we can reach our target by the end of December.  If anyone  wants to donate services, materials or money to help us make this project a reality, please get in touch on 029 201 4369 or email harriet@camcomhouse.org.nz.”

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