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Singer's juggling act: career and schooling



Saturday, 30 November 2002

YOUNG SENSATION: Singer Hayley Westenra surveys the venue for her next gig, Stadium Southland, in Invercargill.
PETER MEECHAM/The Southland Times

The angst of school exams seems to be pretty much the same for a teenage singing star as for less-recognised students.

Fifteen-year-old Hayley Westenra is in Invercargill this weekend to perform at a sell-out concert in Stadium Southland tonight.

She arrived yesterday having just finished her NCEA exams at school, in Christchurch.Like most other year 11 students she is dreading the wait for results of her six exams.

Unlike most other students, Westenra will be in London adding finishing touches to her international album when the letter arrives.

Dad, Gerald, will be delegated to open and deliver the results to her and mother, Jill, who is travelling to London with her.

This is Westenra's first visit to Invercargill.

She wanted to come last year when she toured the country but the tour had to be fitted into two weeks of school holidays so there was no time, she said.

In January, Westenra and her mother head back to Britain to finish recording an album. They had to leave it unfinished last year so Hayley could go back to school to sit exams.

Parallel seems the best way to describe the two sides of the singer's life.

On one hand she is a regular schoolgirl with good friends and a younger brother and sister who keep her firmly grounded.

On the other she is a singer on the brink of a potentially huge international career.

Mrs Westenra travels everywhere with her daughter.

Confident and articulate, it is hard to remember just how young Westenra is.

While she has been able to stay at school up to now, next year she will probably have a tutor while in Britain and study towards an English school qualification.

It was important to complete her education, Westenra said. "Who knows what might happen, my voice could go, anything could happen. It's important to have something to fall back on."

Westenra will perform tonight with David McMeeking and Brandon Pou accompanied by the Dunedin-based Southern Symphonia.

Story courtesy of 'Southland Timesl', November 2002

Info thanks to Keith S.


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