Gustav Jooste by St Paul's Collegiate School

Music Camp starts the year off on the right note

Gustav Jooste (Year 13) is just one of St Paul's talented musicians who attended music camp at the start of the year. He writes about the experience for Informer:

Upon arriving at the Music Camp, there were a number of new faces - incoming Year 9 boys and one Year 11 girl. While settling into William’s house, which is where we stayed for the duration of camp, we were able to become well acquainted with some of our new music students. For Day One, we had our first run-through of the Concert Band for the year. With it, we got to know the new incoming students and work with our new Director of Instrumental Music and Conductor, Mrs Ringle. Her past experience in America working with both Concert and Marching Bands were welcomed as we approached new music to learn. Over the course of eight hours, we worked our way through four pieces from various genres. Notable pieces included music from The Incredibles, a piece last played when the current Year 13’s were in Year 9, as well as Precision March, the Concert Band’s first march. With our main goals for the year set before us — obtaining Gold at both the Hawkes Bay and Napier National festivals — we made a very good start to our year for the Concert Band.

After an intense day of work with the Concert Band, the next day’s focus moved to the Big Band. This year’s Music Camp hosted the largest Big Band the school has ever had, with seven saxophones, five trombones, three trumpets and a full rhythm section. With the larger ensemble of players came much greater goals than in previous years, with the aim of having a clean sweep of Gold medals across the threemajor competitions we compete in, particularly, the Tauranga Jazz Festival which will be held at the end of the first term. As a result, we diversified our repertoire by going back to a traditional setlist with Swing, Bossa Nova and Latin. Our standout pieces included: “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, “Bésame Mucho”, and the set-piece for the jazz festival, “Groovemaker”. All of these pieces are more difficult than those that the Big Band have played in past years, and so our progress with them throughout the second day of camp was a very good sign.

The final day of Camp allowed for some last-minute sharpening up in preparation for the concert which was held in the afternoon, where both the Big Band and the Concert Band were able to run a successful programme of the pieces rehearsed during camp. Notably, the Concert Band was able to perform their most difficult piece for the year, “Spitfire”, to relative success, considering a number of missing parts and the inherent difficulty of the piece. The work and assistance put in by staff was greatly appreciated – especially to Miss Jane Spenceley and Mrs Ringle for their organisation of the camp, as well as their effective direction of the Concert Band; Mr Bill Stoneham for his work with the Big Band; Mr Duncan Smith for supporting the band in the brass section, managing the logistics of the camp, and keeping us all in line, as well as Mr Tim Carpenter, whose continued support of anything musical in the school is always greatly valued.