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:

May was a busy month, so in June I talked about what I had been up to - writing 31 microscores and the premiere of "blimp":

In July I posted the video I worked on with Sideways Productions:

In August and September I covered my involvement in the KBB Music Festival and some composition tutorials that I held in Kerikeri:

October was the kick off of the Rugby World Cup here in New Zealand, I talked about my involvement in the opening ceremony and also made a post about what exactly I do when "preparing music" and why you would need someone like me to do it:

December means Christmas and I posted some Christmas carols that I prepared for my students. I also composed a new "holiday" piece for my Christmas post:

Happy New Year everyone, bring on 2012!

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:

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.

KBB Festival 2009

It was another great year at the Auckland KBB Music Festival. I had three groups in, the Kristin Symphonia, the Carmel College Chamber Orchestra and the Carmel College Senior Orchestra. Both of my full orchestras received a bronze award. Well done to David Squire and the organisers for another fantastic event. Kristin Symphonia at KBB 2009

Kristin KBB 3

Kristin KBB 2

Kristin KBB 1

Carmel College Senior Orchestra at KBB 2009

KBB 5

KBB 6

KBB 1

KBB 2008

Well the craziest week of the year for Auckland school orchestras, chamber orchestras, jazz and concert bands, is that of the annual KBB festival. Gosh, it is busy. Last year I had the Kristin senior orchestra in, and it was my first year ... so everything is still a little bit of a blur. I remember being just so horribly nervous. BUT we got a bronze award, something the orchestra had never received before. This year I had three orchestras. WHAT FUN!! The first was the Carmel College Orchestra:

Carmel at KBB 28.08.2008

These guys were awesome. They were playing some tricky pieces and it all went fantastically well. My second biggest disaster of the day happened when I gave a very distinctive cue to the first violins at a place where I know they don't count and it's not clear what's going on musically - they just wait for the cue, a whole two bars early. But thank goodness they entered correctly.

Next up was the Kristin Symphonia.

Kristin at KBB 28.08.2008

 I had such a blast conducting these guys. With one down, I just relaxed and I could tell the players were also just having a great time on stage. Their programme also went wonderfully well.

Afterwards I was whisked away to the Carmel Chamber Orchestra who was warming up. While I was putting my favourite baton away ... it snapped!! DISASTER!! It was my favourite baton, which I only use in concerts, got it from America, and has my name engraved. I couldn't believe it. I sulked for a while, but since then however, I have had the superglue out, and it is like new ... well maybe just a little bit wonky.

Well finally was the Carmel Chamber Orchestra. Was number three for me, it was 4:40pm and they had been there since 9:30am. But we got up there and gave it everything. Luckily we had some light numbers ... a piece by Silvestri and one by the Beatles. They did very well and were well received by the audience, but maybe, like us, they just wanted to go home.

Well I was happy to get out of the venue at the end of the day. Being sandwiched in by hundreds of school kids all day is not to be desired. But was happy also that all my groups had done wonderfully well. Now I look forward to the results ...