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Play in a Music Group

The Music Department at Auckland Grammar School maintains a wide cross section of performance music groups, for which auditions are held every year. Students interested in joining one of these groups should either speak to their core music teacher or contact the group directors, as listed below.

All groups, with the exception of the Pipe Band, perform competitively and members must be fully committed to rehearsals, learning their parts thoroughly and making good progress throughout the year. Click here to read Frequently Asked Questions about performance groups at the School.

Performance Uniform and dress code

All students in performance music groups, except for the Pipe Band, require a music uniform comprising of the following:

  • Music Blazer to be purchased from the School Shop for $175
  • White Shirt (pressed and clean) – this is available from the School Shop for $35
  • School tie – to be purchased from the School Shop for $30
  • Black Trousers (pressed and clean) can be purchased from the School Shop for $73
  • Black socks and shoes (polished)

As representatives of Auckland Grammar School, all performance group members are required to maintain a high standard of dress at all times.

Attendance

Representing Grammar is an honour, and exemplary standards in preparation, punctuality and performance are expected of each and every member. If an absence from a music lesson at short notice is unavoidable please contact Mrs Mackenzie, the Music Administrator, via email and she will ensure the appropriate staff are informed.

For a planned absence from a Performance Group rehearsal, permission must be sought in advance via email, from the respective Group director. Unplanned absence(s) or illness must also be communicated via email to the respective Group director as soon as possible.

Performance groups

The Symphony Orchestra is the School’s largest and most varied music group. The group consists of musicians from all four families of instruments:

If you are able play any of the following instruments you are strongly encouraged to audition, although players usually need to be at least Grade 6 standard (depending on the instrument). We will be able to give you constructive feedback and advice if you’re not yet ready for the group.

  • Strings: violin, viola, cello and double bass
  • Wind: flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon
  • Brass: trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba
  • Percussion and piano: depending on repertoire, a wide range of percussion instruments are used. Players must read music and have percussion skills

Grammar Virtuosi is Auckland Grammar School’s elite, award-winning chamber orchestra.

With additional tutoring by Mr Kipnis, the Grammar Virtuosi consists of violin, viola, cello, double bass and harpsichord/piano. It provides an opportunity for advanced string players to extend their performance and musical skills. Entry to Grammar Virtuosi is by audition, players are usually playing at grade 6 level or above.

The Premier Concert Band, led by Head of Performance Music Mr Wasson, uses instruments from three ‘families’:

  • Wind: flute, oboe, clarinet (including the alto and bass), saxophone (including alto, tenor and baritone) and bassoon
  • Brass: trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Guitar and bass guitar

The band practices twice a week, they perform at various music events and compete in the annual KBB Music Festival. Their repertoire consists of exciting, energetic music.

The School’s Wind Band is the precursor to playing in the Premier Concert Band, and is also directed by Head of Music Mr Wasson. Made up of brass, wind and percussion instruments, the band develops players to the standard required for senior performance groups.

They practice once a week and perform at some annual music events, including the KBB Music Festival and the Winter Concert Series.

The Auckland Grammar School’s Big Band is directed by Head of Performing Arts Mr Hare. The group consists of auditioned musicians who play the following instruments/performers:

  • Saxophone (Alto, Tenor and Baritone)
  • Trumpets
  • Trombones
  • Rhythm Section (Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano/Keys)
  • Vocalists

The Big Band has a history of high achievement spanning 20 years, with awards both regionally and nationally, at festivals such as the Auckland Jazz Competition, KBB Music Festival and the National Jazz Festival. The band practices twice a week. Their repertoire consists of a wide variety of styles including Jazz, Blues, Swing, Funk, Latin, and other contemporary styles.

The Auckland Grammar School Pipe Band has been a part of the Music Department since 1997. Students learn to play either the bagpipe or side drums through the Itinerant Music scheme to support their involvement in the Band. No prior experience is required. The band rehearse weekly and perform at a range of events including in School assemblies and Music Department concerts.

The band has its own uniform and wears kilts of the Clanranald tartan which were generously donated by Old Boy Harold McIsaac ’51.

Grammar Voices is the School’s choir for all ages, with around 80 members. This group practices twice a week and participates in the annual Big Sing competition and some School-run music events. This group is managed by Mrs Roxburgh.

Grammarphonics, the School’s auditioned Chamber choir, is also managed by Mrs Roxburgh. The group practices twice a week and participates in the annual Big Sing competition. In 2019 Grammarphonics were selected to compete against other quality school choirs at the regional (Upper and Central North Island) Big Sing Cadenza finals, held in Rotorua.

Chamber Groups – chamber groups are formed each year to extend advanced students. Students are expected to already be actively involved in extra-curricular music groups at the School. Groups compete as part of the National Chamber Music Competition. Students are encouraged to talk to the Music department staff if they are interested in being involved.

Songwriting/Composing – there are a number of national competitions, such as Play it Strange and NZSO Todd Young Composer Awards, that are run each year for students who are interested in writing their own material. These opportunities are advertised in the Music Department – speak to the staff for further information.