Tauranga scoops Youth Jazz Awards

Tauranga Boys’ College Combo celebrate their win. Left to right: Edward Linton, Kelly Ballard, Eric Begley, Todd Herbert and Milan Wilshire with band director Murray Mason.
Tauranga schools hit the jackpot at the Port of Tauranga National Youth Jazz Band Competition, taking all major awards at the contest.

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Tauranga schools hit the jackpot at the Port of Tauranga National Youth Jazz Band Competition, taking all major awards at the contest held in Tauranga as part of the National Jazz Festival.

Tauranga Girls College Big Band won the New Orleans Trophy for Best Big Band on Friday and Tauranga Boys’ College Combo beat eight other bands from around the country to win the Massey University Award for Best Secondary School Jazz Combo. Tauranga Boys’ College Combo also won the Port of Tauranga Festival Award for Most Outstanding Jazz Band and drummer Kelly Ballard was awarded the George Rawiri Trophy for Most Outstanding Young Musician.

Band director for both bands, Murray Mason said he was overwhelmed with shock at the win. “I’m just astonished. The girls’ win yesterday was fantastic and I’m just so excited for the boys’ combo.”

Mr Mason said the boys’ combo only came together this year. “Until five weeks ago they were just five individuals. I talked to them about playing together as an ensemble and they came together and from then on they have made amazing progress. They have worked extremely hard and put in long hours of rehearsal and that showed.

“I’m particularly proud of Kelly Ballard winning the outstanding young musician trophy – he’s an exceptional young man and I think we will be hearing his name in years to come.”

Tauranga Boys’ College head of music Brenda Oakley said she was “beaming with pride. I’m absolutely delighted for the boys.”

Adjudicator Nick Granville said the Tauranga Boys’ College Combo demonstrated the best ensemble playing of the bands competing and drummer Kelly Ballard was outstanding.

As part of their prize, Tauranga Girls’ College Big Band performed as the opening act for the Jazz Tui Awards concert on Friday night, warming up the audience ahead of the concert by New Zealand’s leading jazz stars Tessa Quayle, Reuben Bradley and Sumo Jazz.

The National Youth Jazz Band Competition is now in its 34th year and this year attracted entries from school bands and ensembles from Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Auckland.

Adjudicator Rodger Fox said the high standard among the bands is encouraging and more school teachers with a knowledge of jazz are teaching and this shows.

Auckland’s Mangere College Jazz Seekers received the Dennis Huggard Trophy for Best First Year Performance Band with their vocalist Valerie Fasavalu winning the Dave Feehan Trophy for Most Outstanding Vocalist and their pianist Sarah Pikaahu winning the Bill Hoffmeister Trophy for Most Outstanding Pianist.

Valerie Fasavalu (16) said it was great to come down from Auckland and win the trophies, adding that she was overwhelmed to have won the vocalist award which had previously been won by Hollie Smith. “It is a bit of a shock. I never thought I would win.”

Other awards at the National Youth Jazz Competition went to: Reuben Jelleyman (Avondale Combo) – Ken Mitchell Trophy for Best Original Composition; Luke Spence (Trident High School) – Rodger Fox Trophy for Most Outstanding Trombonist; Nick Garrett (Trident High School) – Edwina Thorne Trophy for Most Outstanding Trumpet or Flugel Player; Eric Begley (Tauranga Boys’ College Combo) – Tom Bayliss Trophy for Most Outstanding Clarinetist; Michael Howell (Lynfield College A) – Mayers Music Centre Trophy for Most Outstanding Guitarist; Leonardo Coghini (Jazz Tron and the Exploding Camel – Kapiti College) – Bay City Music Trophy for Most Outstanding Keyboard Player; Te Manihera Gay (Trident High Combo) – P&S Penman Trophy for Most Outstanding Bassist; Kelly Ballard (Tauranga Boys’ College Combo) – Hill/Wilcock Trophy for Most Outstanding Drummer; Sarah Pikaahu (Mangere College Jazz Seekers) – Bill Hoffmeister Trophy for Most Outstanding Pianist; and Tyaan Singh (Jazz Tron and the Exploding Camel – Kapiti College) – Yanagisawa Trophy for Best Saxophonist.

Written by

Sally Woodfield

23 Apr 2011

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