Music Leaders and Performing Arts Awards
The following students have been appointed to a leadership role in a Music Performance group at Auckland Grammar School. They will support staff and colleagues through the management and artistic leadership of their groups, and will take an active role in building collegiality and a productive creative environment.
The 2023 Pipe Major of the Pipe Band is W. A. Wedde.
Wedde has been a member of the Pipe Band since Form 3 and was the previous Pipe Sergeant. He brings important leadership qualities to the band and his enthusiasm, dedication and contribution makes him a key member of the pipe corps.
Wedde successfully led the Pipe Band at the recent Auckland Centre Pipe Band Contest where they won the Juvenile grade.
2022 Performing Arts Awards
Auckland Grammar School has a proud history of excellence within the Performing Arts. The school offers a variety of pathways within the arts for boys to develop and showcase their skills and talents.
From Theatre to Drama, Cultural to Music groups, Debating and more, the Performing Arts are a fundamental component of our school and allow boys to reach the pinnacle in their chosen field. It was a privilege that last year we could institute the Performing Colour and that tradition can continue with recognising individual excellence from within the Performing Arts.
Each year Auckland Grammar students perform on a variety of Performing Arts stages and contexts both within the school and externally. To individually excel at the highest level of their chosen field requires considerable dedication, commitment, practice and rehearsal.
On Monday 5 December 2022, during the Colours and Performing Arts Assembly, six students received Performing Arts Awards. There were also three special Performing Arts awards for Excellence, Contribution and Outstanding Performance of the Year.
Yao has been devoted to the debating programme at Auckland Grammar for the past five years. His team was runner-up at the Auckland Regional Debating Tournament, runner-up at the Auckland Impromptu Cup. He was individually ranked the third best speaker at the Impromptu Cup and ranked second at the Auckland Schools Debating Premier Advanced Tournament.
Nationally, he was the leader of the Auckland White team that won the New Zealand National Debating Tournament. Individually he was ranked as best reply speaker in the country at that Tournament. His team was runner-up in the New Zealand British Parliamentary Debating Championship 2021 (which occurred after the Colours Assembly in 2021). He also represented New Zealand at the World Ethics Olympiad, which was held online.
Yao was the Captain of Debating in 2022. He has led by example within the Premier team, through coaching, and also judging to the school’s junior debating squads. He initiated the School’s participation in the Ethics Olympiad this year, which led to a team representing New Zealand at the World Ethics Olympiad in the school’s first year in the competition.
He has excelled to the highest level in his chosen Performing Arts field of Debating.
Fraser has been an outstanding contributor to the Performing Arts at Auckland Grammar over the past 5 years. During this time, he has performed at a high level in an extraordinary range of disciplines.
He has been a member of the school’s Symphony Orchestra, Grammar Virtuosi, Chamber Music Groups, the piano accompanist for Grammarphonics, Grammar Voices, and school singing.
He has advanced to leadership roles in many of these endeavours including being a Leader of the Symphony Orchestra and Grammar Virtuosi.
This year, Fraser also took on more responsibility through conducting the Symphony Orchestra, both within rehearsal, assembly performances, school concerts, and the KBB Music Competition.
He has been fully committed to the Performing Arts which has been visible through his conscientious, diligent and focused demeanour. His talent combined with excellent time management have meant that he has achieved at a consistently high level across all disciplines. He sets high standards for himself that he maintains and balances with his studies. His qualities have made him a role model for younger students and a leader amongst his peers.
Ediriweera Wijesuriya is the lead drummer for the School’s Big Band and Jazz Combo. In 2022, he has achieved considerable success both as an individual and a member of those groups.
He achieved Gold with the Big Band at the Auckland Jazz Competition, KBB Music Festival and National Jazz Festival, with the group also receiving the New Orleans Trophy as the best Big Band. With the Jazz Combo he received a Platinum Award at the Auckland Jazz Combo, where he was one of three Outstanding Soloists recognised. The Jazz Combo also received a Gold Award at the National Jazz Festival.
His performance of the year, as an individual, was at the National Jazz Festival in June. The competition this year featured 34 Jazz Combos and 21 Big Bands from all over the country. It was the largest festival in the 59 years on the competition. From a field of over 400 students, Ediriweera Wijesuriya received the George Rawiri Trophy for the Most Outstanding Young Musician and the Lauren Ellis Trophy for Best Big Band Drummer. Being recognised as the Most Outstanding Young Musician amongst a field of diverse, high calibre and talented young jazz musicians is truly significant.
His has self-disciplined approach to practicing, developing his sound, and finding new and inventive ways he can further his drum playing. His role as drummer and soloing within the context of his groups has inspired both his fellow musicians and audience members alike.
Performing Arts Colours for 2022
M. Ahuja for Guitar
Ahuja is a highly talented, proficient, and creative guitarist for the Big Band and Jazz Combo. In his external performances opportunities this year he has been a noted performer from within these groups.
At regional and national competitions, the judges have made special mention of his playing and how he has elevated the players around him and music he is contributing towards. He has the ability to be both a supporting musician, and also a featuring individual soloist.
This year at the Auckland Secondary School Jazz Competition both the Big Band and Jazz Combo were selected for the final. Four bands are selected in each category. At the final three students are recognised as outstanding soloists. With eight bands competing, totally more than 90 students across a range of instruments, Ahuja was one of three recipients and the only guitarist. This identifies him as one of the top Jazz Musicians in the Auckland Region this year.
R. R. Ediriweera Wijesuriya for Drums
In 2022 Ediriweera Wijesuriya has performed as part of a variety of concerts, competitions and events as a member of the Big Band and Jazz Combo.
At the Auckland Secondary School Jazz Competition final he was a recipient of one of three outstanding soloists, and the only drummer.
At the National Youth Jazz Festival in June he was awarded the Lauren Ellis Trophy for Best Big Band Drummer and the George Rawiri Trophy for Most Outstanding Young Musician at the competition.
This award is truly significant given this year’s competition was the largest ever in the 59 years on the competition and featured over 400 students across a range of instruments.
E. D. Findlow for Debating
In 2022, Findlow, has achieved considerable success across regional, national, and international competitions. He is a member of the School’s Senior Premier Debating side that were runners-up at the Auckland Regionals Debating Championship and Semi-finalists in the Auckland Schools Debating Premier Advanced Competition.
He was individually ranked third in Auckland at the Auckland Schools Debating Premier Advanced Competition. Findlow was selected as a representative on Auckland Blue ranking him in the top six students across Auckland.
Nationally, Findlow is the leader of the Ethics Olympiad team that were placed second in the North Island Ethics Olympiad. He also represented New Zealand in the International Ethics Olympiad, which were held online in 2022.
C. T. T. Meek for Tuba
Meek is a member of the School’s Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra and Wind Band where he is lead Tuba. Regionally, Meek is a member of the North Shore Brass Senior Band, which is made of adult musicians.
In 2022, Meek auditioned and was selected for the National Secondary School Brass Band. Musicians selected enter into a music training course, practice regime, full band rehearsal and then a performance schedule across local communities throughout New Zealand.
S. J. Srzich for Clarinet
Srzich is a member of the School’s Big Band, Jazz Combo and Concert Band. Across these groups he plays Bass Guitar, Clarinet and also plays Piano for Music Assessments.
At the National Jazz Festival in June, Srzich was a member of the Big Band and Jazz Combo that received Gold Awards, with the Big Band receiving the New Orleans Trophy as Best Big Band. As an individual, Srzich was awarded the Tom Bayliss Trophy for Most Outstanding Clarinettist at that national competition.