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Play It Strange To Celebrate 20 Years Of Songwriting

The Play It Strange Trust will celebrate 20 years of transforming lives through creativity in song writing and performance with a concert “Twenty Strange Years”. The evening will feature ten performances by secondary school students, and special guest presenters including Peter Urlich, Jordan Luck, and past alumni Annah Mac on Thursday the 9th of November.

Established in 2003, the trust exists to provide pathways of creativity through song writing. Song writing is an essential creative endeavour that reflects and develops New Zealand’s cultural identity. Play It Strange believes that writing songs, recording and performing them helps young people to find their own voices and grow their sense of belonging and connection with others, and contributes to mental wellbeing. There are a number of programmes and competitions in place to achieve these goals, and feedback from parents, teachers and studio personnel have clearly indicated this.

Since the inaugural competition in 2004 the trust has strived to provide secondary students with a platform they can use to pursue their musical adventures. To date, almost 7000 original songs have been written and entered in its songwriting competitions and over 1,100 songs have been professionally recorded, written by young songwriters.

Founder and CEO Mike Chunn said “We've held concerts, workshops and competitions, all with the intentions to provide the right environment from which students can gain confidence, self-belief and an impetus for a career path they would like to follow.”

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“Songs written by young New Zealanders forge a national voice, a summation of who they are and with that, it’s clear that they are telling us who we are. Listening to the hundreds of songs that we receive at Play It Strange is like opening a window into the hearts and minds of our youth. And there is much to learn.”

“Over the past 20 years we have discovered many incredibly talented songwriters. Our activities support them to articulate their feelings and build confidence, which in turn helps them traverse their adolescent years.

After the anniversary celebration, Mike is taking a well-earned break and will step away from the CEO role to focus on the creative aspects of the trust. He will continue to act as chief judge, and work in a mentoring role with young songwriters.

Stephanie Brown has accepted the role of CEO and is excited about ensuring our Kiwi youth continue to tell their stories through songwriting for the next 20 years.

The trust is very grateful for the generous support of sponsors, patrons and all those who have donated and will continue to support our work.

For more information about Play it Strange, visit

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