Budding young star receives national award

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A 14-year-old Oamaru guitarist, who taught himself to play by watching online videos, has recently won an award at a country music competition.

Waitaki Boys’ High School student Joseph Balfe, who start playing guitar when he was 10 and has never had a lesson, was the Intermediate Overall Winner at the Southern Alps Country Music Awards in Timaru over Easter Weekend.

Balfe, who dreams of performing full-time in the future, said he likes to play any sort of genre, including country and jazz.

“If it’s good, then I’ll play it,” he said.

“I’ll keep doing it for a long time.”

He has been performing at many local gigs, including at the library yesterday and at Dot Smith’s book launch on Monday.

His budding career snowballed after he started performing at school, he said.

His friends all think it is great.

He is preparing for the NZ Gold Guitar awards in Gore at the end of May and is also booked to perform and host a workshop at the Wellington Folk Festival in October.

He has also been asked to help test an American guitarist’s online guitar school, which is in development.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

STRUMMING STAR: Waitaki Boys’ High School student Joseph Balfe at Filadelfio’s Pizza, which his parents own, where he often plays.