Intermediate school jazz band wins gold in high school competition

SUCCESS: The Chisnallwood Intermediate Jazz Band received a Gold Award in

Chisnallwood Intermediate’s talented jazz band has won another top award after competing against some of the country’s best high school bands.

The band, which is made up of pupils aged 11 to 13, was awarded a gold certificate in the big band category for the  Ara Institute of Canterbury’s JazzQuest competition.

The school was competing against 12 other high school big bands.

To win a gold certificate the band needed to be graded between 85 to ­100 per cent and were judged on intonation, balance, presentation, tightness in musical phrasing, repertoire and improvisation.

Music programme co-ordinator Judith Bell said it was amazing for the pupils to meet the gold standard criteria at an intermediate age.

The band performed a varied repertoire of seven songs including Neal Hefti’s Splanky, Louis Prima’s Sing Sing Sing and Billie Jean by Michael Jackson.

Pupil William Kao performed an original song titled Never Enough Brass. William has been playing trombone for a year and a half. He also plays piano, the Irish bodhran drum and cello.

Since 2008 the band has won several awards at Jazzquest – ­four bronze, nine silver, four gold and one “best combo” award.

It has already taken part in several music competitions this year including the Steampunk NZ Festival in Oamaru and the New Zealand School of Music Annual Jazz Festival in Wellington.

The band is planning to take part in the Christchurch Big Band Festival in October and have been invited to perform at music in the summer air festival youth summer music camp in Shanghai next year.

It is also planning to perform at the Christchurch Santa Parade and to record an album at the end of the year.

“The band is vibrant. They look and sound like they enjoy themselves, and they enjoy rising to challenges and achieving great levels of playing,” Ms Bell said.

Ms Bell said the band has been performing for more than 19 years after an international student from Thailand asked if he could join.

“I thought well I have got nothing to lose and it just grew from there,” she said.