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Hijiri Yamamoto —

Here’s to another successful year for the Burnside Orchestra.

 Our year began with our annual music camp at Living Springs, where we had an intense three days packed with rehearsals, sectionals, camp chores, hot chocolates and of course, we cannot forget the “dim five” expanding to the “glorious seven”, sorry about that. We were blessed this year with the absence of gym freak Mr Cain Hood’s “world of pain” and instead it was replaced by Canta-music. The “runners” were only able to speed walk so that the fragile music students were still in one piece looking forward to our first concert of the year.

Due to the Aurora Centre being under construction and the majority of M Block crumbling apart, Christ the King kindly offered their school hall for us to rehearse during this hard hard, hard time. Despite this, our weekly practices continued every Thursday lunchtime and after school. In the first half of the year, the lunchtime rehearsals consisted of sectionals that were student run with the help of the tutors, Mr Dimitrov, Mrs Clarke, Mr Petch and Mr Renaud. During these intense sectionals we would focus on the nitty-gritty note learning, phrasing, breathing, articulation, ensemble work and specific techniques required for us to be able to learn the difficult repertoire. I will never get tired of asking my section whether they had the bowing or not, and being disappointed but not surprised by the shaking of heads. Thank you violin ones.

For the first time, in August the orchestra stormed the city of Wellington to take part in the WEBO competition. The orchestra was lucky enough to have a masterclass with Kenneth Young at Victoria University where he took the Destiny overture by Verdi faster than we ever had. Even with scrambles from the first violins and the violin twos being half a bar behind, there was a new energy in the ensemble that I believe we all felt. Later we were joined by Gareth Farr, a NZ musician who composed the piece “ Te Papa” - a piece written for the opening of the Te Papa Museum which the orchestra were privileged to perform.

Having to take such a big group of musos was a mission the teachers tackled very well. Taking care of the massive food orders, transport, rehearsal venue, the very much loved Waterloo hotel and patiently waiting for the few students who struggled reading the time as they frantically ran across central Wellington with their tank juices in hand. A huge thank you to the teachers, we hope it was still an enjoyable trip despite this.

As well as a successful performance in Wellington, the orchestra looked forward to our annual Orchestral Showcase. This concert is one of the highlights of the year for everyone involved as we perform all our repertoire for the year. Although this time can be stressful with orchestral festival and school exams happening at the same time, it is a gratifying performance.

I’ve been in the Burnside orchestra for the past 5 years. Starting off at the back of the seconds playing the Huapango by Moncayo strumming our violins to the mexican groove, and now ending my time co-leading the orchestra with Alex Zhou under the most understanding conductor Mrs Renaud, I have learnt a lot. I’ve learnt not to scribble and play noughts and crosses in the back of my orchestra music, I’ve learnt that you have to count like mad when playing Stravinsky, but most importantly I’ve learnt that ensemble work is about the people.

And whether students did orchestra because their parents forced them to, or whether they wanted service hours or to stack it on that CV, I would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Renaud, the Orchestra members of the past 5 years, but especially the Burnside Orchestra for 2018.

For the last time, signing out from

Hijiri Yamamoto