New Zealand banding has been reflecting on the success of their recent National Championships held in Christchurch in July.
After the event was cancelled in 2020, it returned not only with a sense of rejuvenation, as packed audiences were able to enjoy the competitive live action, but by also seeing a record number of band entrants take to the stage. Over 1300 players took part.
In his column in the online August edition of 'The Mouthpiece' journal, Brass Band Association of New Zealand (BBANZ) President, John Sullivan congratulated the local Festival Committee for making the "contest such a success"at what he called "a perfect venue"at the refurbished Town Hall which was badly damaged during the 2011 earthquake.
BBANZ Contest Manager & Executive Officer Helen Lee also added her congratulations in adding that there was little doubt that it was a "memorable contest"for all who attended as well as enjoyed the live stream broadcast to the rest of the banding world.
And whilst there were congratulations for the major title winners — led by Wellington Brass who claimed the Blue Riband Championship Section title for a seventh time, it was the infusion of a new generation of young players in solo, ensemble and band events that will have given New Zealand banding a huge boost of confidence for the future.
17 year old Liam Wright from North Shore Brass won the Junior Champion of Champions solo event for the second time, whilst talent spotters will have certainly noted the playing of cornet player Stephen Mosa'ati of Hutt City amongst others.
it was the infusion of a new generation of young players in solo, ensemble and band events that will have given New Zealand banding a huge boost of confidence for the future4BR
A number of bands also showed that their investment in youth was starting to pay off, with Woolston Concert Brass winning the C Grade event (one of three bands the local organisation entered at the event), whilst there were great debut appearances from the likes of Kaperiera Hughes who led D Grade title winners Matamata and Byron Newton who led the brilliant Buzzing Brass Wellington Youth Band in the Youth Grade.
There would have been few who would have disagreed with Helen Lee's feelings that everyone was "fortunate to have organised, attended and enjoyed a feast of brass banding."