St Andrew's College graduate Mia Fraser reacts after Stairway to Heaven guitar solo goes viral

Story by RNZ

A New Zealand high school guitarist whose impressive fretwork wowed the world this week says the response has been "quite unbelievable".

More than 100 students were involved in the performance of Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven' at the St Andrew's College end-of-year prizegiving, mixing rock and classical in front of a crowd of 3500.

The highlight was year 13 student Mia Fraser's guitar solo, nailing Jimmy Page's five-decade-old original note for note. 

The performance was filmed in late November, and went viral after being put online earlier this month - shared on social media, guitar forums and even on the Led Zeppelin website

"Honestly it's been quite unbelievable, the amount of people that I've been able to connect with because of this has been amazing," Fraser told RNZ's Sunday Morning. 

"I had a look a few days back and saw a website that said '.za' and I was like, where is that? Is that South Africa? Like, the amount of places people have been commenting from is quite amazing."

She said it was a great song to do, with so many kids her age at the Christchurch school into rock music - though many of them had never heard the song, released in 1971 on Led Zeppelin's eponymous fourth album, before their teacher suggested they tackle it - using Heart's famous cover version as a template.

It has now been viewed more than 320,000 times on YouTube alone, not counting other platforms.

"I wasn't really thinking very much when I was playing it," Fraser said. "I was just so overcome with nerves, but it was really awesome just hearing the crowd. It did take me a few months especially to get that little last fast bit quite right. But, you know, been practising my guitar moves in the mirror.

"It'll be the lasting memory that I'll have in my time here."

Fraser plans to study engineering at university, but also keep playing in bands.

St Andrew’s College Rector, Christine Leighton, explained the work that goes into such a performance - listen to the audio above for the full interview with both.