Shaqaila Uelese, a Massey University student and Hastings musician from New Zealand, has already started making plans for the sequel to the Piano Marathon for Cancer charity event she had organised. She came up with the idea after being inspired by Moapi Uelese, her late father and Pacific community leader. In all, Shaqaila played a total of 24 hours of music over six weeks. She played in locations such as Wellington, Levin, Palmerston North and also in her home town, Hastings.
Her performances were every Saturday, from August 31st all the way to October 4th. She did not make use of any music sheets at all during that entire period. She basically relied on improvisation, memory and a repertoire of contemporary pop piano, jazz, classical, big band, gospel music as well as requests that were made from visitors. Just last week, she completed her marathon of performances at Cranford Hospice in Hastings.
During the entire period, she was able to raise and exceed the funding goal of $5000 which she set set for. The money that she was able to raise will be split between the Cranford Hospice in Hastings as well as the Wellington Cancer Society, in recognition of her father who passed away a year ago, losing his 18-month battle against Multiple Myeloma cancer. “We have raised $5412, and we’ve got the fundraising website going until the end of this week. I am going to present the money to the Wellington cancer Society first and then Cranford Hospice in early November,” she stated.
Cranford Hospice has a special place in her heart as it was where her father was nursed at during his last few months. “As a family every day we had a room where we could sleep, a room we could meet as a family to sing songs, a kitchen that had a cupboard with food donated from other families and what I remember most, is a room where I could play the piano whenever I wanted. I would like to give back to the Cranford Hospice. They are an amazing charity who have volunteers from all walk of life who helped us as a family cope and I know they continue to do so today,” said Shaqila. For more of the story, you can read it here.
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