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Wine and winners as bands get ready for New Zealand Nationals

The wine making area of Marlborough prepares to host the 138th New Zealand National Championships.

nEW zEALAND
  The New Zealand National Championships take place in Blenheim

28 bands will compete in the oldest National Championship contest in the world later this week, when the 138th New Zealand National Championships take place at the ASB Theatre and adjacent Convention Centre in Blenheim in the celebrated south island wine making area of Marlborough.

Pre-dating the National Championships of Great Britain by 20 years, the first contest took place in Christchurch in 1880, alternating between the north and south islands ever since.

Memorial highlight

This year it commences on Wednesday 11th July with the start of the keenly contested solo and ensemble events. A highlight of the first day will be the Junior Champion of Champions competition as well as the Invitation Slow Melody event which has been renamed in honour of the great Riki McDonnell, who won the title on five occasions.

Over the next few days titles in different individual, duet and ensemble classes, as well as the prestigious Champion of Champions accolade will be decided, culminating on Saturday 14th, when the Championship Section National title and Gold Cup trophy will be presented to the 2018 winners.

The final event is a gala concert on Sunday 15th entitled, 'Premiere Brass in Concert' featuring Bras & Brass — the Pink Ladies conducted by assistant chief adjudicator Mareika Gray, and All Stars Bandwagon Brass directed by chief adjudicator Russell Gray, with guest soloists Harmen Vanhoorne and Byron Newton.

Parade of Bands

As well as giving their best on stage on Friday, competitors will take part in the famous 'Parade of Bands' along the streets of central Blenheim.

Over Friday and Saturday, 10 bands will then compete in the triple discipline (Sacred Item/Set-Work/Own-Choice) top section event, with 8 in the B Grade, 6 in the C Grade and 3 in the D Grade. There is just one youth competitor this year.

Possible double

Former champion Wellington Brass will be looking to make it a musical Bledisloe Cup 'double' after winning the Australian Championship Section title earlier, whilst past champion Woolston Brass (who won their first 'National' 99 years ago in 1909) will be keen to regain the trophy for the first time since 2012.

Newly promoted Hamilton City Brass joins the A Grade for the first time, whilst there is a welcome return after a three year absence for St Kilda Brass. In the absence of 2017 champion Brisbane Excelsior, the Australian challenge is lead by Darebin City Brass — Preston Band from Victoria.

39th Parallel

The set-work this year is Peter Graham's 'The 39th Parallel', first performed in competition by the National Band of New Zealand at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade in 2017.

There should be plenty of fine playing on show for Russell Gray (who will judge the A and B Grade events) as well as Mareika Gray (C, D and Youth) with an eclectic set of own-choice repertoire in all sections to go with the selected test-pieces (B Grade: 'Ouroboros' by Todd Rohan Smith; C Grade: 'A Theme Fading' by Jack Bewley: D Grade is own-choice with set hymn).

The action from the individual and band events will be will broadcast live on-line at: www.brassbanned.com

For more information about the Championships go to: http:/­/­www.brassbanz.org/

Pre-dating the National Championships of Great Britain by 20 years, the first contest took place in Christchurch in 1880, alternating between the north and south islands ever since4BR

Competing Bands:

A Grade:

Adjudicator: Russell Gray
Set-work: The 39th Parallel (Peter Graham)

Darebin City Brass — Preston
Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass
Hamilton City Brass
Leopard Coachlines Canterbury Brass
Marlborough District Brass
North Shore Brass
St Kilda Brass
Waitakere Auckland Brass
Wellington Brass
Woolston Brass

B Grade:

Adjudicator: Russell Gray
Set-work: Ouroboros (Todd Rohan Smith)

Addington Brass
Alpine Energy Timaru
Whanganui
Deco Bay Brass
Hutt City Brass
Nelson City Brass
The Devon Hotel New Plymouth Brass

C Grade:

Adjudicator: Mareika Gray
Set-work: A Theme Fading (Jack Bewley)

Trust Porirua City Brass
Howick Brass
Levin & Districts Brass
Mosgiel Brass
Te Awamutu Brass
Westport Municipal Band
Woolston Concert Brass

D Grade:

Adjudicator: Mareika Gray
Set-work: Own- choice
Set Hymn: Repton (arr. Peter Maunder)

Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass
Motueka District Brass
Nor'west Brass

Youth Grade:

Adjudicator: Mareika Gray
Own-choice plus stage march and concert piece

Nelson City Brass Academy

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