Passion for music rewarded

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INVERCARGILL-based children’s musician and animator Peter Weatherall has been nominated for best album at this year’s Children’s Music Awards.
His latest release Lollipop Man features 14 original, animated songs and is up against two other finalists. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on Tuesday.
Weatherall has been creating children’s music for about 20 years and sells his products all over the world.
Songs are about everything from fire engines to the solar system, with age groups ranging from preschoolers to Year 12 and 13 chemistry pupils.
‘‘That’s part of what keeps me going. The scope of what you can do is huge.’’
Although he originally set out to write stories for children, he developed a talent for making music and also discovered a strong market for educational songs.
One of the keys was to combine humour with the educational material, he said.
‘‘You can insert the educational content into something that’s humorous or fun. If kids find it funny or fun, then bingo, you’ve really got the kids.’’
Weatherall said he learned the basics of animation while living in Japan and it’s a skill he was still keen to develop.
Throughout Weatherall’s tenure, he has also seen a lot of changes in technology, adapting along the way. He started by recording on to cassettes, but now creates DVDs.
Some of Weatherall’s tools are a keyboard, guitar and video gear, along with his latest acquisition — a green screen.
‘‘[Technology] changes so fast, that’s the scary thing. You’ve got to be constantly on your feet learning if there’s some new technology which comes along.’’
Originally from Dunedin, Weatherall also lived in Oamaru for a time and retrained as a teacher in Australia. However, Southland captured his attention while he was here on a library tour.
‘‘It’s spectacular… I really love it down here.’’
He moved south at the beginning of the year with his family and is teaching part-time.
And even after two decades he said he still loved making music.
‘‘I’ve done a lot of stuff, but I still really have the passion for it. It’s turned out to be my thing really.’’
Still relatively new to the community, Weatherall said he would be keen to connect with others interested in the industry.
‘‘I’d love to be more involved… and get out and about.’’
Í For more information go to www.kidsinglish.com, or search Peter Weatherall on YouTube.

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