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Ashburton-grown singer and actor Layna Hunt will represent New Zealand at the talent Olympics in the USA later this year.
Ms Hunt, 28, will be part of the Kiwi contingent at the World Championships of Performing Arts and is busy fundraising for the trip.
The championships have been running for 24 years and attracts performers from over 60 countries; they compete for medals, cash and scholarships. The event will be held at Disneyland in late July.
The talented local performer attended the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art after leaving Ashburton College in 2009. She was part of the New Zealand team in 2017 and went to Long Beach, California, with 25 others ranging in age from 5 to 29 years. She bought home a silver and a bronze medal.
“This year will be the last year I can apply to attend as the age cuts off at 29,” she said. “Being one of the eldest members of the team was nice as I felt that I could lend a helping hand to the younger team members.”
Ms Hunt said she loved acting and dancing, but singing was her main strength and she will only be competing in singing categories at the championships.
After grading with a Bachelor of Performing Arts from the national academy in 2012, she has performed in musicals in Mid Canterbury and worked at the Court Theatre in Christchurch, where she now lives.
“As well as musicals I have been singing with my partner’s Dad’s rock bank Odyssey, who have been together for over 45 years.
“We play good, old school rock music and perform often at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton.”
Tapping into her creativity, Ms Hunt started her own photography business Kaleidoscope Eyes Photography; when she is not working fulltime as a receptionist at Argus Heating, she is out capturing special memories for others with her camera.
She is fundraising to attend the world championships and is planning to do sausage sizzles in both Christchurch and Ashburton. She has also started a Givealittle page where supporters can help her cause: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-layna-get-to-la-for-the-world-championships
Ms Hunt will be back in Ashburton this week to take part in a special alumni choir at the Mid Canterbury Summer Singing School. The school will be marking 20 years.
“I have so many special memories of performing in Ashburton. Singing at Christmas in the Park, the summer singing school with Jo Castelow and Alice Sollis and Mid Canterbury Children’s Theatre.
“The Ashburton Operatic Society productions hold very dear memories to me. My all-time favourite memory was performing as Eponine in Les Miserables in 2009. Getting to perform in the brand new event theatre was an absolute pleasure and something I will treasure for life.”
By Linda Clarke © The Ashburton Courier - 20 January 2020
New Ashburton College social science teacher Patrick Sandrey is a former college old boy.
It isn’t too many years ago that Patrick Sandrey was in school uniform and a student at Ashburton College.
For the start of the new school year, he’s back, this time at the front of the classroom, and as a teacher.
The 22 year-old returns to his alma mater to teach social science, in a maternity cover role.
Since leaving school, Patrick has completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Canterbury, majoring in history, and also earned a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning.
Teaching is his chosen profession and he’s excited by the prospect of starting his journey at his old school.
“Before the interview for the job, I hadn’t actually been back to Ashburton College since finishing as a student.
“Instinctively, I probably thought I was going in for a detention rather than a job interview.”
Patrick said there was the obvious sense of familiarity with the school, but coming back as an educator would present a raft of new challenges and opportunities.
“It’s only natural to have a few nerves mixed in as well, but generally I’m really looking forward to seeing the future-focused direction that the school is heading in and I’m eager to contribute where I can.”
Patrick said he fondly remembers playing in the school football team and travelling to away tournaments, even though the results were sub par.
He also really enjoyed school house events.
“I think Ash Coll’s house culture is second to none. Events like the prelims and Festival of the Spoken Word were always a great chance to represent the house colours and to show off some skills.”
As an emerging educator, Patrick will be working towards completing his two years registration.
He follows in the footsteps of former Ashburton College students, Tom Kitchen and Jack Hanrahan, who have both been recruited in recent months to teach German and drama respectively, and former head boy Michael Clark, who is now the assistant head of the English department.
By Mick Jensen © The Ashburton Courier - 20 January 2020
Another promising debut from a young Mid Canterbury cricketer is a small silver lining after the side lost their Hawke Cup match against North Otago by 117 runs.
A home game for Mid Canterbury being played at the Aorangi Oval in Timaru, North Otago won the toss and elected to bat.
James Southby had a strong start to the game, taking the first three wickets of the day, dismissing North Otago’s top three batsmen.
With North Otago 90/3, it was debutant Tom Middleton’s time to step up with the ball, taking four wickets from his seven overs, only conceding eight runs in that time.
Middleton had been set to make his debut earlier in the season until flooding saw the side’s clash against South Canterbury cancelled.
The visitors were eventually able to sneak through to 185 all out, with Shaun Stagg, Will Graham and Jay Houston chipping in with one wicket each.
Mid Canterbury got off to a slow and steady start with the bat until Cameron Grubb was thrown the ball, with the bowler eventually going on to take seven wickets in the innings.
He dismissed both James and William Southby and Des Kruger via lbw, bowled Matt Tait while C. Drew caught the other three dismissals.
Kruger top-scored for Mid Canterbury with 39 from 35 balls, while Stagg hit a quick 31 from 17 balls as they limped through to 128.
North Otago then asserted their dominance in the match in their second innings with the bat, with Jeremiah Shields notching up a fine 61 before being stumped by Cameron Jopson off the bowling of Angus Jemmett.
North Otago cruised through to 202 before declaring to set their sights on bowling out Mid Canterbury a second time.
Chasing over 200 runs with less than two sessions to go in the match, fast runs were needed from Mid Canterbury and youngsters Jemmett and Devon Flannery managed to put together a 22-run opening partnership before Flannery had to return to the sheds.
William and James Southby followed with four and eight runs respectively before Des Kruger top scored for Mid Canterbury once again.
He scored quickly, amassing 46 runs off 38 balls before being caught off the bowling of Scott Kitto.
Graham and Jay Houston offered some resistance with 17 and 18 respectively, but the total was always going to be too big a mountain to climb, with Mid Canterbury eventually falling short by 117 runs.
By Jaime Pitt-MacKay © The Ashburton Guardian - 20 January 2020