I survived 2012. This is how it was!

The New Year means it’s time to have a look back over the past year and see, through my blog posts, what has taken shape and what I have to say for myself!

January started with a very well deserved “Shout-out to VaultPress” after they marvellously got my website back up and running after a meltdown!

3100508059_5c99a0f9e1_zFebruary is the start of the school term and I posted about the preparation work I do for schools.

My typing fingers must have been tired at the end of March – it started with two popular posts, iOS apps for music professionals and Digital music stands vs iPads, following on from, again, two very popular posts I did in 2010.

Continue reading “I survived 2012. This is how it was!”

2011 through the eyes of a blog

And just like that, another year is gone! Here is a look at my posts for the year.

thinking web picThe blogging year started in March with my favourite book arriving, “Behind Bars”, which I preordered in 2010. It is definitely the most used book on my shelf! I then talked about two approaching projects:

In April I introduced my new work, “blimp”, and reviewed two projects – a song I helped a friend create and my work at the BOP music school: Continue reading “2011 through the eyes of a blog”

KBB Music Festival stretching its legs

This year the KBB Music Festival stretched its legs and was held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral and St Mary’s Church in Parnell. It was one again an absolute hit, even considering it had to move for two days due to the state funeral for Sir Paul Reeves!

I was on the committee this year, so it was great to spend some more time at the festival and help to organise it beforehand. Being the new venue there were a lot of extra things to think about and teething issues but the many thousands of students who came through during the week had a wonderful time and some outstanding music was made.

Part of my role on the committee was to create and maintain the festival website – of course something I know well and enjoy. Check it out!

I had five groups in the festival this year (sorry, no photos this year!), the Diocesan School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, the Carmel College Orchestra and Chamber Orchestras and the Kristin School Symphonia. They all did very well and I look forward to another good year at the festival next year.

KBB Music Festival 2010, thumbs up

As of last night, the 2010 KBB Music Festival is officially over. Today I’m sure many musical directors are joining me in breathing a well-earned sigh of relief.

If you’re wondering what I am talking about, here’s what the festival website has to say:

“For the past 25 years, the KBB Music Festival, in association with The Edge® Public Programmes, has been showcasing the best in secondary school orchestras, concert bands and jazz bands in Auckland. From the small numbers in the original Auckland Secondary Schools Band and Orchestra Festival, the KBB Music Festival has now grown to see over 100 groups competing from more than 40 schools across the greater Auckland region.”

It was a fantastic few days of music. I saw two full days out of the four days of the festival. Always interesting to see what others are doing, taking a mental note of ideas for next years’ possibilities and also observing how others lead their groups.

I had three groups competing in the festival this year – the Carmel Chamber Orchestra, Carmel Orchestra and the Kristin Symphonia. All did reasonably well and each picked up a Bronze award at last night’s (three hour epic) gala concert.

On the last day I had the pleasure of working with four groups at the Fringe Festival. These are groups under development or not quite meeting the full festival requirements. The whole point is to provide encouragement and constructive feedback to get them primed, pumped and ready for year ahead.

Big thanks to administrator and chairperson David Squire for another seamlessly run festival and for his eighteen years on the committee. This was his last year of involvement with the festival. Also, of course, much thanks to these two:

Wild Daisies premiere

Last year Kristin School commissioned a piece from me for their amazing award-winning choir, Euphony, to include in their 2010 repertoire. They premiered it at the Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday 16th June 2010. See the video below:

It uses the text from Bub Bridger’s poem, Wild Daisies.

The choir was once again successful in getting through to The Big Sing Finale, along with many other choirs from around New Zealand. You can see the full list of these choirs at The Big Sing website.

Wild Daisies is notated for SSA choir and if anyone is interested in buying a copy please let me know.

Conducting – 90% perspiration, 10% exhilaration

Schools have just started again and that means my orchestras have also. Sensational! I have been reminded, however, of the huge amount of preparation required to get them underway. Repertoire, auditions, photocopying, sweet-talking, begging, music sorting, rehearsal setup and pack down, chasing up students, score preparation, rehearsal camps – by the time I hit the podium ready to do some real work I’m more ready for a nap than a rehearsal. Still though, every time the tuning A sounds and a hush filters across the ensemble, I, amongst the exhilaration, seem to remember exactly why we are there, why we love it and why all of this perspiration is all of a sudden completely and utterly worth it.

Pen to paper

… or rather, finger to keyboard! Here is an update on three pieces I am currently writing.

Wild Daisies

This is a piece for the award winning choir, Euphony, from Kristin School. After a lot of hunting I found the wonderful poem “Wild Daisies” by NZ poet Bub Bridger. It was hard to find something suitable for school-aged students, something on a happier rather than sad note, and something that would allow lots of musical additions … perhaps I’m just not well acustomed to hunting down texts. Anyway this is going to be a fantastic piece for unaccompanied choir.

Tiraki

There is a flute player I want to write for, a viola player has been begging for a piece, and I have been wanting to write a piece for tuba for a long time. So, this is it. A suite of solo pieces, one for each of these instruments. I’m trying to get some of the movements done before the trip to Brazil, as then I can workshop the pieces with the players there.

I was thinking how to tie these three pieces together and had a great idea about clouds as they are categorised into high, mid and low clouds. So the three pieces are based on:

  1. Cirrus – flute (high)
  2. Altocumulus – viola (middle)
  3. Cumulus – tuba (low)

The title, Tiraki, means to clear the sky or lift away the clouds.

Taupo

Don’t worry, that’s not the actual title – I’m still deciding. This piece for wind orchestra and choir is well underway and will open the 2010 ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival. This project is possible thanks to the very generous funding by SOUNZ (The Centre for NZ Music) and their SOUNZ Community Commission.

We put a call out for texts to use and so they are flowing in. Have started drafting some ideas and have got a good idea of how it’s going to turn out. It’s going to be a 15 minute, or thereabouts, piece but it is going to be able to be performed as a 5-6 minute piece later in it’s lifetime. This, along with the fact that it is suitable for younger players means hopefully it will have a healthy future. As soon as I get back from South America I will be full on writing this piece.