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Musical prodigy recognised

Winner of the Masterton District Council Youth Award Nicki Thomson Schulz, with principal of Chanel College Debi Marshall-Lobb. PHOTO/SUE TEODORO

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A quietly spoken, unassuming and modest student from Chanel College in Masterton has won a coveted Masterton District Council Youth Award for services to his school and the community.

Year 13 student Nicki Thomson Schulz was nominated by school principal Debi Marshall-Lobb.

“For us, Nicki has achieved so much,” she said.

“On a day-to-day basis at the school he is up the front when we have karakia, assemblies, functions and school events.

“He is always there with the school band, guiding, mentoring the younger ones, leading. He does such an amazing job, but he’s a humble person,” she said.

“With all the talent that he has, he never puts himself forward. I and the rest of the staff thought he would be a very deserving nominee for the award.”

Marshall-Lobb said he was the stand-out student from the school for student musical leadership and was always willing to help others and share his talents and knowledge.

“He has many interests and a great deal of potential,” she said.

“He has many options available to him when he leaves Chanel College. I’m pleased he has been able to be involved in music at a high level and enjoy himself while he’s learning. He has contributed to the wider school culture in a positive and inspiring way.”

Thomson Schulz was nominated for his contribution to the community in arts and culture through sharing musical gifts in public performances and working with community groups.

He has an impressive list of achievements to back up the nomination, having been involved in music most of his life. He is now a composer and musician, regularly playing guitar, cello, electric bass, double bass and piano.

In 2020 alone, Thomson Schulz had a full schedule of appearances and accomplishments, including winning first prize at the intercollegiate solo music competition and composing and performing a piece called “The Hunt” with the Wairarapa Community Orchestra.

He regularly performed in a musical group that plays at St Patrick’s Church mass and tutored guitar, cello, bass and vocals.

He had a similar record over the previous three years, including winning second prize in the Wairarapa intercollegiate solo music competition in 2018 and 2019.

He regularly performed in the Schools Martinborough jazz concert, Rock Quest, and others.

As well as extensive involvement in music, he is a cultural prefect at school, a portfolio that supports the arts. He is also a general prefect and mentors other students and helps run events.

He is characteristically modest about his achievements, including winning the youth award.

“I feel quite overwhelmed that I’ve been picked. At the same time, I feel privileged that I got selected but I can think of a lot of other people who would be just as deserving.”

Surprisingly, Thomson Schulz is not planning a career in music when he heads to university next year. He is considering studying engineering at Canterbury.

“I’m leaning towards the sciences.”

His advice to other music students is to be diligent.

“Just practise. That’s how you get better.”

He practises almost every day for at least one hour.

Thomson Schulz’ father, Stephan Schulz, is a music teacher at Chanel College and his mother, Sue Thomson is a biology teacher at Wairarapa College.

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