Christmas greetings!

Well, another year has come to an end. A massive thank you to everyone who has made this year a great one. It’s been busy for sure, so much so that my newsletter and blog posts took a forced rest. I hope to write about a few of those things I’ve been up to in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I’m taking a holiday. The car is packed, Christmas Day awaits us tomorrow and summer fun looms.

This time last year my wife and I went to Midnight Mass at Salzburg Cathedral and the absolute highlight was hearing Silent Night sung by candlelight, as it was originally intended, in the town it was written. I took a field recording, have a listen below, it’s extraordinary.

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Preparing for Mahana

Mahana posterI had the great pleasure of working on the Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Tama Waipara score for Mahana – a new feature film opening in cinemas on March 3. It’s directed by Lee Tamahori and based on the Bulibasha book by Witi Ihimaera. The best place to read more about it is probably the movie Facebook page, so check that out.

I was doing the music preparation, some orchestration and also flew to Wellington for the main day of recording to ensure everything worked a treat.

The score is really stunning, has a unique New Zealand flavour and it’s so great to see new voices coming through in New Zealand film scoring. It was my first time working with Mahuia and I definitely hope not the last.

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Orchestrating ‘Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses’

I was delighted to recently orchestrate Rhian Sheehan’s score for ‘Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses’ – a new film premiering at this year’s NZ International Film Festival.

The film is about the 2007 Wainuiomata mākutu lifting of Janet Moses. I haven’t seen the film myself yet but everything I’ve heard is that it is an impressive production.

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‘The Forest Room’ reaches Auckland finals

The 48Hours film-making weekend is always one to look forward to and this year we struck ‘mystery’ as our genre – good fun. Compared to previous years, the team was cut to only four crew and rightfully so one of those was a composer!

This year we managed to make the Auckland finals and the guys picked up an award for best editing. Yay.

The film has very little dialogue and so I managed to create a single piece of music to last the whole film. Here’s how it was looking in Logic:

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Going digital with forScore

While conducting the wind band at the recent Bay of Plenty Music School I finally had the chance to test using digital scores. I’ve always been intrigued – have already blogged about it twice – but only with a new iPad have I had the chance of taking the full digital leap. Here are my thoughts…


An iPad Air 2 sits, charged, ready for action. I already had some of the scores as PDFs which was a great start. Then I scanned the rest using Scanner Pro which kindly then drops the file into my Dropbox. Then in comes forScore – a sheet music reader app and the absolute hero of the equation – I import the files straight from Dropbox and then it’s all ready to go.

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Bay of Plenty Music School, Taupo 2015

Last weekend was the Bay of Plenty Music school and what a great weekend to be in Taupo making music. It was my fifth year conducting the wind band and it was perhaps the biggest band we’ve had yet.

We focused on these beauties…

  • Arabesque – Samuel R. Hazo
  • Earth Song – Frank Ticheli
  • The Great Locomotive Chase – Robert W Smith

…and had a few others in the mix also. While we were a bit short on full band rehearsal time this year, we managed to pull together a great sound and have loads of fun doing so.

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APO 4 Kids – ‘Rainbow Connection’

Have you got some little scallywags intrigued by music? And perhaps rainbows? You’d better get them along to the APO’s latest concert for pre-schoolers, “Rainbow Connection”.

I’ve been working away at the arrangements and it’s going to be a great show. Here’s what this show is about:

The colours of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky! The Little Rainbow is especially lucky, because he can wear all of them at once. But one sad day the colours disappear and the Little Rainbow just cannot find them anywhere. He asks his friends, the Rainbow Sea Creature troupe and four APO musicians, who each have one colour, to come and help him…

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