With the Beat Girls at the Greytown Arts Festival, the Carterton Oversew Fashion Awards and several events at Toast Martinborough under his belt, up and coming lighting and sound technician Cole Garrett is one to watch for the future, even at the age of just 14.
When most teenage boys glue themselves to Xbox or Playstation screens, Cole spends his spare time working on a different kind of console – the one which controls light and sound in the auditorium at Kuranui College.
This week, Cole will begin Year 10, but he already has ambitions to become the next Chip Monck or Al Gurdon. “Although some aspects of lighting and sound are taught at NCEA Level 2, there’s no practical course you can do, you just have to learn on the job,” explained Cole. “One of our teacher aides, Caroline Finlay, is giving me a bit of a hand, but I’m looking to enroll on the National Youth Drama School eight-day course in Hawke’s Bay later this year. It costs $465 plus accommodation, so I will have to fundraise to cover the costs.”
Fundraising is nothing new to Cole, having used his immeasurable initiative to raise more than $3,500 to upgrade the lighting and sound for Kuranui’s auditorium. “Firstly, Greytown Lions Club donated a trailer of split pine and we spent a day raffling the firewood outside Fresh Choice in Greytown. With the help of fellow students Deavin Kenning, Olivia Winter and Emily Morison, the raffle brought in $528,” he said.
“I was then approached by my Deputy Principal, Mr Hall, who said there was stuff in the soon-to-be demolished B-Block that needed to be sold. A lot of it was old science equipment, so we gave items such as microscopes and other little science things a $1 reserve, put them up on Trade Me and ended up getting $50 or more for them. We even sold two old fume cupboards for $1300.
“As part of my Year 9 Enterprise course, I also put together a hamper with my own money and then raffled it off outside Fresh Choice and around the college at lunchtime,” added Cole.
Cole has certainly put his enterprise skills into practice, managing and using the funds raised shrewdly. “We bought things like microphone cables as we couldn’t run a microphone successfully before. With the new soundboard, I worked the seller down from $600 and got it for $400, because it was the perfect board for us, it’s digital, it’s got all the latest controls and it’s just what we wanted. They’re about $1600 new, but we got it as new in its original box, so we were very lucky,” he acknowledged.
“We also bought things like a strobe light and disco ball, which I along with fellow Kuranui students and lighting and sound assistants, Ned Phillips and Nick Ariel, used at the Greytown School disco at the end of last term. They will be used again at the forthcoming Kuranui Disco,” he said.
Kuranui Principal, Geoff Shepherd, is delighted with the contribution Cole and his team have made to improving the light and sound in the college’s auditorium. “We are very fortunate at Kuranui to have a number of highly-resourceful students who are committed to help improve our facilities, but Cole’s contribution is certainly one of the most impressive. He has been selfless in his drive to repair and replace the sound and lighting equipment in our auditorium and both the technical and fundraising skills he is displaying will stand him in good stead for the future.”