In an electric finals event, Auckland's top young talent left the Stand Up Stand Out audience and judges buzzing at Vodafone Events Centre on Saturday 14 September.
Stand Up Stand Out is Auckland's premier music and dance competition for secondary school-age students.
The Auckland Council-run event saw singers, dancers, bands, choirs, and musicians battle it out for a share of $6000 in prizes and the mana synonymous with SUSO amongst Auckland's secondary school music fraternity.
First up was the group vocals category, which invites a wide range of vocal styling, including a barbershop quartet What the Fourth from Aorere College, performing a comedic number about their teachers. Their tight act took out the win, with Avondale Gospel Choir coming in as runners up; both schools continuing their history of vocal and choral excellence.
Meanwhile, the solo instrumentalist category was a tough call for the judges with stand-out performances from powerhouse drummer Joeta Fuimaonon and Ozarius Tu'ua, but multi-instrumentalist Risnm Tangianau from Quality Education Services stole the show, using guitars, drums and a loop pedal. His proficiency across multiple instruments wowed the crowd and the judges. He is the first student from a private training establishment (PTE) to not only compete, but win, at the finals.
The hotly contested solo vocal category saw performers including year 9 phenom Reikura Boyd from Aorere College, fellow 14-year-old Janayah from Takapuna Grammar and Delores Lesatele from Avondale College take on reigning champ Silika Isaia from Papatoetoe High School. However, it was star in the making Sione Tahavalu of De La Salle College who took the win.
In a captivating dance round, contemporary dance group Careless Whispers from Marcellin College gave an emotional performance which gained them the win. Chapter.63 from Aorere College led the charge among the slew of hip hop crews, with Pasifika Mai bringing a refreshing cultural presence to the dance category; the diversity of genres becoming a signature of the SUSO dance section.
Ending the competition was the high-octane bands category, where the gauntlet was well and truly thrown down through a selection of stunning original compositions from Sacred Heart College's Black, White & Brindle, Papatoetoe High School's 78 District and Northcote College's Nomadic. Runner up Pocket-8 from Aorere College performed a deeply political original song about feeling undervalued in New Zealand. However, it was first time finalists C6, from Otara's Tangaroa College who won over the judges with their good times medley mashup of Earth, Wind & Fire's 'September' and Kool & the Gang's 'Celebration'.
It was a difficult decision for judges Cherie Mathieson, Bella Kalolo, Joash Fahitua and Diana Hu.
For the second year running, contestants had the opportunity to polish their performances in workshops run at Otara Music Arts Centre (OMAC) which included advice from Pacific Music Award winning mentors, singer-songwriter Tommy Nee and Charlie Pome'e of Three Houses Down for the musicians.
Stand Up Stand Out was brought to you by Auckland Council and supported by Flava.
Winners and Runners-up:
Winner: What the Fourth - Aorere College
Runner-Up: Avondale College Gospel Choir - Avondale College
Winner: Risnm Tangianau - Quality Education Services
Runner-Up: Joeta Fuimaono - Pacific Advance Secondary School
Winner: Sione Tahavalu - De La Salle College
Runner-Up: Silika Isaia - Papatoetoe High School
Winner: Careless Whispers - Marcellin College
Runner-Up: Chapter.63 - Aorere College
Winner: C6 - Tangaroa College
Runner-Up: Pocket-8 - Aorere College