SIT music students team up

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Southern Institute of Technology third-year music students (from left) Svetlana Reshetnyak, from Russia, Dee Jazzaz (Debbie Watts), of Invercargill, and William Zhao, from China.

BLUES, country, jazz, pop, rock and classical – two free music concert evenings will be held at Upstage at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) Downtown Campus next month.

Third-year music students William Zhao, from China, and Jacob Bielski, of Invercargill, have teamed up and will be performing on Thursday, October 11, and Dee Jazzaz (Debbie Watts), of Invercargill, and Svetlana Reshetnyak, from Russia, will perform on Thursday, October 18.

Dee Jazzaz, one of the organisers, said the concerts were part of the students’ music degree, and they organised everything from song scores, rehearsals, marketing, venue lights and sound.

“We all have themes and will be performing a mix of genres, including classical, jazz, blues, pop, rock and country.”

Zhao and Bielski’s combination of saxophone and vocals on October 11 will cover a variety of contemporary genres.

A graduate of the Conservatory of Music in China, with a major in classical saxophone, Zhao had studied playing the saxophone since primary school, with a short break during his intermediate years, before taking it up again at high school, and graduating later.

Although he said playing contemporary music was new for him, as he only played classical music in China, Zhao was excited to take on other genres including rock, pop and country, with his co-performer guitarist Bielski, who will be singing at the concert.

Dee Jazzaz and Reshetnyak’s duo on October 18 will add to the international flavour.

Originally from Russia, Reshetnyak said some of the songs she would perform during the evening would be in Russian, as well as some in English.

“When I was young, it was always my biggest dream [to be a singer], but it didn’t happen till I was 28-years-old in Russia. Then I had lessons, and sang a little bit in restaurants and cafes, but because it was Russia, they wanted Russian songs.”

Since joining the SIT in February, she had also been part of the backing vocals in the recent Invercargill Musical Theatre’s production of Grease: The Arena Spectacular Live, and hopes to have her own band and record her own music in the future.

Dee Jazzaz, who has been performing for more than four years at various venues including Centrestage Theatre and Louies Restaurant and Bar, has undertaken a jazz paper at SIT, and plays the guitar and keyboard, as well as sings.

She will also be singing two songs from her recently released original jazz EP, Moments of Love, on music streamer Spotify and iTunes, as well as another two of her originals.

The doors will open at the Downtown Campus level one entrance at 25 Don St at 7pm, with a 7.30pm start.

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