They might look alike, and share the same enviable gene pool, but Pat and Cass Ward are different beasts when it comes to music.
Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival fans got their first taste for the talents of the teenage brother and sister from Heathcote at the festival’s first showcase for 2013 at the Golden Vine.
Some would already know Cass from winning the regional final of the FReeZA competition in 2011, but there’s another Ward to keep an ear out for, 14-year-old brother Pat, whose solo performance was an early highlight at the Vine.
The younger Ward first played to an audience at a quiz night at the local golf club at the age of seven- not long after he first picked up a guitar- and has been racking up the gigs over the past few years, building an onstage confidence beyond his years.
‘‘For some reason the only place where I get nervous is when I’m playing in front of people I know,’’ Pat says. ‘‘When I am playing in front of a large crowd I not only play better but I also don’t get nervous.’’
Neither parent can lay claim to their children’s talents Cass says, as neither have a musical background, although Mum did plant the seed.
‘‘My first guitar was bought from a local garage sale by Mum for around $12 and was a small nylon that I fingerpainted and stuck Santa stickers on,’’ Cass says.
‘‘I got it when I started school and began having free group lessons with a teacher. The second guitar was originally my Dad’s but he never learnt to play so it had never been used.’’
Cass says the FReeZA experience not only amped up her confidence (‘‘it gave me an opportunity as a young performer, who had never really played in front of a large crowd’’) but widened her music know how.
‘‘It was also a great chance to meet people who were involved in Bendigo’s entertainment for youth,’’ she says.
‘‘A few months after playing at Push Over, I joined Mic Up Productions and was involved in of the other side of the competition, organising and doing backstage work.’’
But it’s out front where both Wards appear destined to shine, even though they go about things quite differently.
‘‘I hate picks, Pat can’t play without one,’’ Cass says. ‘‘The way we play guitar is completely different.’’
‘‘I hate playing lead and Pat loves it. My songs are quieter and I think I’m probably less coordinated in using a stomp or tambourine while playing. (But) I’m sure though as we get older, we will perform more together.’’
Pat and Cass Ward will be part of the program for Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival in 2013