The Burtones’ “extreme talent” showcased in Whitianga

11 Jan 2022

The Burtones’ “extreme talent” showcased in Whitianga


Many people would agree that watching a school band perform can all too often be a bit humdrum, of course due to a lack of experience, which is to be expected from someone still learning. However, if there were a band to completely and utterly turn this stereotype onto it’s head, it would be The Burtones.

Travelling from King’s College in Auckland to the Coromandel to perform a few gigs as they usually do every year, The Burtones well and truly showcased their extensive musical talents at Grace O’Malley’s Irish Inn in Whitianga last Saturday night, covering the likes of Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley and several other crowd favourites, as well as their own original songs. Consisting of a baritone, a tenor and three alto saxophones, two trumpets, a keyboard, a bass and a rhythm guitar, drums and three vocalists, this standout band, aged 14 to 18, played each instrument with a mastery that would normally only be associated with someone many years their senior. 

As the audience boogied the night away, one figure who might have out-danced the rest of the crowd was the band’s mentor, Gary Burton. Although not a music teacher himself, but rather the head teacher of technology at King’s College, Gary has been a part of The Burtones from when the band was founded 10 years ago. “I’ve always had a passion for music, playing myself as well as being involved in glee clubs and musicals,” he said. “Funnily enough, not being a music teacher makes me feel that’s why I am just so passionate about these kids’ music because it still allows me to be enthusiastic about it without regarding it as a job. It’s actually going to be The Burtones’ 10th anniversary this year on 18 January, which makes this gig just that bit more special as it’s so close.” 

Along with celebrating an exciting 10 years as a band, The Burtones are also releasing their second album on Spotify in a month's time, named “10”.

“We love that Whitianga is where we are performing right now in such a monumental moment for us, we’ve been coming here for years and the kids love it here,” said Gary. “One of the singers actually got his leg out of a plaster two days prior to coming to Whiti just to be able to come and be on stage here today.”

As the band picked up the pace on Saturday night, the claps and whoops only got louder while more and more people joined the dance floor, up until everyone was on their feet, unable to stop themselves from grooving to The Burtones’ beats. “We come here every summer for good reason, the crowds in Whitianga are always a highlight for us, we love to play to them,” said band leader, Mackenzie Langiell-Read. “We have a very good relationship with Grace O’Malley’s that we’re super appreciative of, so we are able to plan to keep coming back each year and sharing our love of music.”

Similarly, Peter Jones, owner of Grace O’Malley’s, said, “I always look forward to having The Burtones perform each year and I know my staff do too. Just an incredible group of young people with extreme talent. In all the times they have performed here, there has always been a great turnout, which really does say enough by itself.”

The band will perform two more times this week at Grace O’Malleys - at 12 noon on Tuesday and 6:00pm on Thursday.


Pictured: The Burtones in action at Grace O’Malley’s Irish last Saturday night.