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Paul Hobbs: An unexpected gem

Published: 4:33PM Wednesday November 07, 2012 Source: ONE News

"Most times we go out and shoot a story and get what we expect. On rare occasions, we uncover an absolute gem and today was one of those days.

I went out with cameraman Charlie Vlassoff to St Joseph's School in Otahuhu, South Auckland.

Our story was of the announcement of a Lyric Writing Competition organised by Mike Chunn and Play It Strange - a trust established to encourage young people into music.

The competition is for low decile primary schools in the central and northern part of the North Island.

The cool thing about the competition is that Play It Strange has enlisted the help of online fundraising agency Social Angels, who have sourced celebrity signed ukuleles to auction on Trade Me in an effort to raise funds for the competition. People like Ozzie Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Flight of the Conchords, Green Day, Barry Gibb, Dan Ackroyd and more. They are fantastic and would be wonderful pieces to own.

But the unexpected gem we found was a high school girl, just turned fifteen who is herself a songwriter and was going to talk to us about the benefits to youngsters of this competition.

She spoke wonderfully but when she played her song With You, Charlie and I were spellbound. It was a pitch perfect aural symphony of beauty and honesty. Khona Va'aga-Gray sat on the edge of the stage in the empty old St Joseph's school hall and sung her song with just her guitar to accompany her.

Charlie kept rolling and the tears welled up in my eyes as I held the boom pole for sound.

Khona (pronounced "Connor") from McAuley high school in Otahuhu told me she wrote the song as a fourteen year old for her music teacher who was celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary.

Have a listen. You won't be disappointed.

Khona will feature in a Play it Strange CD featuring a number of high school songwriters. If they are just half as good as Khona, it'll be a CD to treasure"

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