Opononi Summer School 07

Hey everyone, here goes a sum-up of this years summer school. Before I start, anyone wondering what on earth I'm on about? The Opononi Music Summer School is for wind, brass and percussion players. We rehearse eight hours a day starting at 6am, then on the final night present a large concert of music for wind orchestra. I have been conducting there since 2006. It's set at a great location at Omapere, in the Hokianga, Northland in New Zealand. Photo below:

Opononi Photo Two

Well as I'm sure most of you know, I was commissioned to write a new work for them this year. It was quite a workload, so at the beginning of the week I was lacking quite a lot of sleep. But thanks to the early 'lights out', I got back on track pretty quick. The first few days went as usual, rehearsing lots and lots of music. It was a little more relaxing this year as last year I took a tent up, but then a bad storm tore it to bits. So this year I slept inside and it was great.

It was interesting watching the development of my piece, Guardians of the North, with the players. The main point of the commission was really to introduce the players to new music, which almost all had not played before. So of course when they first saw the music, although it wasn't too technically challenging, there were a few raised eyebrows. But we began by discussing it a lot and gradually everyone started to understand how things were working. By the end of the week they were really enjoying it, and they did a great job of giving its premiere.

For some reason, we seemed to run out of time this year. We got to friday and still had heaps of things we wanted to rehearse. But nevertheless, we made it to the concert and it sounded great. This year we recorded the concert live and have made a CD which I know a lot of the players are really excited about. In the concert we played popular classics like, Les Miserables, Star Wars: Phantom Menace Suite, and scores from other films, as well as works by Holst, Wagner, Faure and Bernstein.

Anyway it was another successful year. Below are a few photos, the first being a photo of everyone, the second being me conducting in the concert, and the last being a group shot from during the concert ... sorry about the light quality in this last one.

Bye for now...

Opononi Photo One

Opononi Photo Three

Opononi Photo Four