Friday 24 August saw 45 students from Year 9-13 load themselves, and over 20 different types of instrument, into vans and head out for the day.
The event was the Waikato ITM Music Festival, an annual event for secondary school music groups held at The University of Waikato. St Paul's had five groups participate during the day. The guitar ensemble was the opening performance, with six young men, led by guitar tutor, Mr Derek Shaw playing three numbers, including an original composition by Derek. They received a bronze award for their performance.
The string orchestra, led by Mr Timothy Carpenter was next to play. The group of nine students, performed three challenging pieces, and the adjudicator commended their dynamic control and rhythmic accuracy. They were awarded a silver award for their performance.
The final group of the morning session was the Big Band, directed by Mr Bill Stoneham. The crowd boogied in their seats as the boys blasted out both classic big band numbers and pop music favourites. Solos on alto saxophone and Trumpet were well received. Of the eleven groups who played in this section, only three received gold awards. Tauranga Boys’ College took out top spot, along with Otumoetai College and St Paul's! The Big Band, being a bunch of perfectionists who can always find something they should improve on as individual players, were ecstatic to receive gold, and are looking forward to challenging Tauranga Boys’ for top band next year.
The drum line, led by Drum Tutor, Mr Adrian Hayward, only formed at school this year, and this was the first festival they have entered, were next up. The group of five took on heavy competition, with many schools having very established groups, with double the players. The adjudicator commented on the accuracy of their playing, but he would have liked to see a longer set played. The students received a bronze award for their performance, and are looking forward to returning next year with bigger numbers, and more repertoire.
With their courageous leader, Mrs Flint, on extended sick leave, the concert band had had three different conductors during term three and were feeling the pressure after a disappointing bronze award in May. With the promise of donuts and pizza if they got gold, they took the stage at the end of the day to a small, but enthusiastic crowd. The four pieces, conducted by Jack Walters (Year 13), and Miss Jane Spenceley, went off with almost no hitches. The band walked off the stage knowing they had played the best they could, and the anxious wait for results began. Only three gold awards were handed out among the twelve concert bands in the section. Bethlehem College took out gold and top Band, along with Tauranga Girls’ College and the St Paul's Concert Band! Who also received a merit award for the most inclusive and diverse programme.
All five groups performed admirably, and would like to thank their teachers, and parents for supporting them in their musical pursuits. It was quite an incredible result for St Paul’s to gain such great placings for all performances at this festival and as a school, we are collectively proud of our young musicians.