St Andrew’s win ‘tempered with sadness’

PERFORMING: St Andrew’s College year 12 students Lewis Edmond (L) and Jenna Wells playing at the 41st national youth jazz competition where the school’s big band was awarded the title of the 'Most Outstanding Big Band' which was "bittersweet" as it's bass player tragically passed away a day before the competition started.

The St Andrew’s College big band had extra incentive to win at the National Youth Jazz Competition – bass player, Tom Fastier, collapsed and died the day before the competition began.

“Tom was a bass player from Cashmere High School who was playing with our big band this year. He had a strong chance of winning best bass player at the festival as he was a very accomplished musician,” head of music Duncan Ferguson said.

“We were delighted to win, but it was bittersweet,” he said.

St Andrew’s won the most outstanding big band title at the competition in Tauranga.

The band dedicated its set to Tom, who died while on his way to Cashmere High on March 27. His death was possibly related to a medical event.

Mr Ferguson said schools sometimes share musicians
to play instruments that they are lacking.

“For the first time in the festival’s history, organisers and judges allowed the band director/teacher to play in place of Tom on the bass,” he said.

St Andrew’s also won a combo silver award and a big band gold award.

Serge Beaton won the Rodger Fox Trophy for the most outstanding trombonist and Angus Rainey won the Edwina Thorne Trophy for the most outstanding trumpet or flugel.

Said competition director Liam Ryan: “We had a record number of registrations – 320 students from 21 secondary schools as far and wide as Christchurch and Wellington. Due to this we added an extra day to cater for the 18 combos and 14 big bands performing.”