Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Golden Music


The New Zealand National Concert Band Festival was held in New Plymouth on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of July. Francis Douglas Memorial College entered this event for the first time this year with two ensemble groups and a combined SHGC and FDMC concert band.

Our community playout was at the Baptist Church Hall on Liardet Street at 9.00 am on Friday morning and I would like to sincerely thank Trevor and Janet Randall for helping us move the huge array of equipment such as Timpanis, drumkit, congos, amps, etc. They were at FDMC shortly after 8.00am and without their help we would have struggled to be setup on time.

The playout at this venue was a good practice session for the band as we had few onlookers at that time, although Pukekohe High were the next group so were a good audience for the last two pieces.

Our adjudicated performance was at 11.45am on the main stage at the TSB Showplace, so at 10.45am all the gear had been shifted to the venue and the boys and girls were getting their uniform in order, instruments warmed up and ensuring music was ready. We warmed up in the Alexander Room and then were on stage.
‘Fusion’ Concert Band is the combined band of SHGC and FDMC students. It has been ably conducted by FDMC Music Teacher Sonya Newton, and also by Stewart Maunder who has had input into all of the Taranaki Concert Bands that competed at the national event.
It was a real cue for these teachers and students to be adjudicated by three international judges; Sam Sanchez, Robert Hollingshead and Grant Pitcher, and to be credited with ‘Gold’ at their first competition. We were thankful for the support provided by Mr Warren Orr and Mrs Jocelyn Beath who helped provide further depth in the trumpet and flute sections.

At 3.20 pm FDMC’s ‘Jazz Combo competed at the Operatic Society clubrooms in the ensemble section. They are taught by Robin Wellaway and perform at many school and community functions. It was somewhat painful lugging drums, keyboard etc. up the stairs into the venue but well worth it! This group has some of our most passionate and capable musicians. It came as no surprise that the adjudicator, Winston Hoare, gave them a Gold for their polished performance. It was totally deserved.

The final ensemble ‘2 Early 2 Jam Band’ taught by Simon James was the last to compete at 3.50 pm. By this stage the adjudicator had fallen well behind and the performance time was closer to 4.15 pm. We were appreciative of Simon’s performance skills and his unflappable nature which enabled him to set up a required vocal mic. when it was not supplied. The boys performed well and were judged ‘Silver’ for their performance.

Fabulous results were achieved by all those involved and it was an absolute cue to be the highest finishing local band at a national open event.
Full credit must be given to Mrs Sonya Newton for her encouragement, passion and tireless effort in preparing our students and enabling these opportunities to go ahead.

The next competition will be the Waikato Secondary Schools’ Band Festival on August 5th in Hamilton and we hope we can continue our winning streak there.

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