The Central App

Kiwilele jam comes to Central

The Central App

Anna Robb

01 July 2024, 5:00 PM

Kiwilele jam comes to CentralRaising the roof with ukuleles; Central students come together for a fun musical morning in Alexandra. PHOTO: Central App

A small instrument delivered a big noise when 150 ākonga (learners) from Alexandra Primary School and St Gerard’s School collaborated on the first Kiwilele jam in Alexandra yesterday.

A Kiwilele jam is when students learn to play the same songs on the ukulele and then join forces uniting with music having fun.

The students in Year 3 to 6 have been learning the nine songs since the start of the term and many have practised alongside their teachers, classmates and with the support of their families. 

Watch a seven minute highlight video of the jam here. VIDEO: The Central App

Alexandra Primary School (APS) were one of the recipients to get ukuleles through the New Zealand Ukulele Trust (NZ Uke Trust), who supports hundreds of New Zealand children to play the ukulele every year and provide an online Kiwilele songbank for educators, including song sheets, videos, tips and practice tracks.

Music teacher Liz Conway wrote the song ‘Tomayto Tomahto’ which was part of the jam, and she donned a tomato costume, together with the support of students in carrot and banana outfits.

Chords and lyrics were up on the big screen to assist students to follow along, there was ghost strumming, foot tapping and action options for certain waiata (songs).

St Gerards School teacher Ollie Yeoman put on a seagull costume for the Seagull Song in another surprise for the participants. 

The band, made up of school parents from both APS and SGS included Hamish Dunn (drums), Kim Froggatt (rhythm guitar), Liz’s husband Jono (bass guitar) and Paula Brown (keyboard) together with Ollie and Liz. 

The winners of a ukulele art competition were also announced, and Sintya from room eight at APS won the first prize, a ukulele donated by Alexandra’s Central Appliance Plus.

Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan attended the jam and borrowed a ukulele to play. PHOTO: The Central App

Liz has previously organised Kiwilele jam in Dunedin, and said she hoped to grow it in Central to include more schools in the future.

The jam held at Alexandra Community Hall on Skird St went for one and half hours. 

Students left buzzing, excited and happy after the musical experience, unperturbed by the rainy wet walk back to class. 

For more information see the NZ Ukes Trust website.