Local and international success for Musical Island Boys

Tawa’s Musical Island Boys are absolutely positively ecstatic after being recognised for their world-beating achievements in Wellington today.

The barbershop quartet of brothers Will and Jeff Hunkin, Matthew Gifford and Marcellus Washburn, have been presented with an Absolutely Positively Wellington award by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

The local recognition comes after winning gold at the International Barbershop Quartet in Las Vegas this year.

The group said winning the world champs and being recognised in their home city was final vindication after years of hard work.

“That’s the one goal that we wanted to achieve when we first started,” Will said.

His brother, Jeff, said quartet are “champions for life” after having their name retired by the international competition.

Musical Island Boys are now planning a gold medal year including tours to Australia, China and parts of the US.

“It’s kind of a once in a lifetime thing. I think we’re going to put together a few CDs and do some shows,” Jeff said.

Charlotte Murray, the quartet’s mentor, said the Musical Island Boys set the goal to be world champions back in 2003.

Murray also received an Absolutely Positively Wellington award and she filled in for one of the quartet today when they serenaded the council with their winning song from the competition.

“They wrote it down on a piece of paper, that they were going to win the world champs one day,” she said.

Former Life Flight trust chairman Bill Day was the other recipient of an Absolutely Positively Wellington award today.

Day dedicated his award to those who had put work into the trust over the years and paid tribute to those working in the health sector.

He said they were often forgotten about and worked in the area because they “love the job and helping people”.

Wade-Brown said Day had been an important part of the trust’s success.

“He has been involved with the service since 1980 and has seen the service extended to include vital Air Ambulance services.”

Day also spent six years as general manager of the New Zealand Community Trust and played a large role in establishing the Wellington Hospitals Foundation.

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– The Dominion Post