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National Youth Jazz Festival

The Big Band and Jazz Combo travelled to Tauranga on Monday 20 June to compete at the 44th annual National Youth Jazz Competition. This competition is part of the National Jazz Festival, which itself has been going for 59 years.

This year the competition has grown to record numbers, with 34 Jazz Combos and 21 Big Bands from all over the country across each section. Each group competing performed a test piece, then three additional tunes from a set category of styles and tempos.

Both groups were extremely pleased with their performances and showcased their talents while entertaining an engaged audience. Each group received a workshop from the national judges at the end of their performances. 

At the prizegiving ceremony, both the Big Band and Jazz Combo received Gold Awards, which reflected the level of playing the groups have met, with an additional five awards given out:

The Big Band was awarded the SOUNZ Trophy for Best Performance of a New Zealand composition for their performance of Just Add Water, an arrangement of a Dave Dobbyn tune.

Form 6 student S. J. Srzich was awarded the Tom Bayliss Trophy for Most Outstanding Clarinettist.

Form 6 student R. R. Ediriweera Wijesuriya was awarded the Lauren Ellis Trophy for Best Big Band Drummer at the competition, as well as the George Rawiri Trophy for the Most Outstanding Young Musician – a truly significant award as there were more than 550 students competing this year. 

The Big Band were also named as the National Big Band Champions by being awarded the New Orleans Trophy for Most Outstanding Big Band.

The Big Band performed their award-winning piece Just Add Water by Dave Dobbyn in assembly on Thursday 23 June. The piece is arranged in a New Orlean’s Second Line style feel and featured solos from three students: Form 6 student W. Zhang-Sun on alto saxophone, Form 7 student M. S. Griffiths on trombone and  Form 6 student R. R. Ediriweera Wijesu on drums.

To view the full performance from the Big Band, click here.

To view with Jazz Combo’s full performance, click here.