Music programme leads youths to university

A Hawke's Bay music programme has so far helped 14 teens go on to study music at university.

The Fonoti-Fuimaono brothers are the next wave of Samoan opera singers inspired by Samoan trio Sole Mio.

Their love for music was ignited through singing Samoan hymns with family. Now four brothers have taken that passion, completed a teen music programme, and two are studying music at university. The other two will join them next year.

"I actually thought volleyball was the way to go or like somewhere else, like being a doctor or a dentist but PPV's changed that. Now we're all doing a Bachelor of Music," Jordan Fonoti-Fuimaono told Newshub.

Project Prima Volta (PPV) helps Hawkes Bay teens develop their love of music and puts on a full-stage opera each year.

"We got to join their first opera, Marriage of Figaro, and after that experience it was pretty much like when you finish the show and everyone's clapping and you come out and do your bow, that's what caught me, it's the best experience," Alfred Fonoti-Fuimaono said.

And it's not just the performance skills that participants learn.

"Music can be a great healer and a really good vehicle for understanding how to collaborate, and how to lead and how to take really healthy risks," Anna Pierard, Project Prima Volta co-founder, said.

The brothers thought they knew what it was all about, having watched plenty of Sole Mio videos.

"We done what everyone else thinks opera sounds like, like your funny-sounding eyebrow raising," the brothers explained.

They soon found out it wasn't so straight forward.

But they managed to adapt to singing in different languages relatively easily, with their Samoan language and the rolling the letter R in Maori.

"It's all good singing at gigs until there's that one Italian or Spanish guy who knows what we're saying," Jordan said.

They perform regularly, have their goals set high but remain humble and hope to sing alongside their role models once more.

"I don't want the fame and the lights, if I do get there, I don't want all that kind of stuff to change who I am," Nu said.

"Performing alongside the Sole Mio boys would be quite the dream, even though we already have."

One dream accomplished, next stop, the world stage.