Whilst the brass band movement in the UK contemplates the first signs of a return to rehearsals and ultimately concerts and competition, the banding movement in New Zealand has continued to enjoy performance opportunities.
In the latest issue of 'Mouthpiece', the official journal of the Brass Band Association of New Zealand, they have reflected on the last few months in which their National Youth Brass Band has enjoyed its annual course under the baton of MD Alan Spence and guest soloist Tyme Marsters.
The concerts in Hamilton and Auckland were well received and gained a worldwide audience thanks to the Hamilton event being live streamed (one viewer being composer Oliver Waespi to enjoy a thrilling rendition of his major work, 'Hypercube').
Band Manager Emily Richards thanked everyone involved for being inspired by the course ethos of 'Ka mua, ka muri: Walking backwards into the future'.
"We are very lucky in New Zealand to be able to live relatively normal lives for the most part and be one of the few places still able to hold rehearsals and concerts in person, and the band definitely made the most of the opportunity,"she wrote in her review of the events.
"We had a lot of viewers from overseas tune in to our livestreamed concert, and it was wonderful to be able to share our music with our international brass band family."
That was also something Association President, John Sullivan highlighted in his address in the latest issue, although he also pointed-out that investment is required to carry on the outstanding commitment to the musical development of the next generations of New Zealand's banding youth.
"The challenge for us now is to help drive this representation through to all levels of our organisation,"he said.
"From our management committees to the National Band we must identify barriers, remove them and then encourage participation so that everyone in our diverse society has the opportunity to experience the joy of performing in a brass band."
However, obtaining funding in a highly competitive and shrinking market requires us to present our organisation to grant bodies, the government and the broader community from a different perspectiveAssociation President, John Sullivan
He added: "However, obtaining funding in a highly competitive and shrinking market requires us to present our organisation to grant bodies, the government and the broader community from a different perspective.
What we must highlight is the significant broad role brass bands play in the community."
Interestingly the forthcoming 'Gig Guide' shows that New Zealand will continue to enjoy an increasing brass band performance presence with a growing list of engagements for bands starting in March onwards, including the 160th anniversary celebrations of Marlborough District Brass Band based in and around the city of Blenheim since 1861.