Far North High School Jazz Ensemble Places Third at High School Music Festival
Jazz group Waka from Kaitaia College received a bronze award at the KBB Music Festival 2022. Photo/Supplied.
The musical talent of a Far North high school continues to draw accolades, after an outstanding performance by its newly formed jazz ensemble at a high school music competition in Auckland.
Kaitaia College Jazz Band Waka was awarded bronze in the Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Bands division of the 2022 KBB Music Festival last week.
The nearly 40-year-old festival features high school orchestras, concert bands and jazz bands from Auckland and beyond.
It was the first time the Far North jazz band had competed since forming a few weeks prior.
Kaitaia College was the only school in Northland to take part in the festival under new Director of Arts and Music Teacher, Dr Opeloge Ah Sam.
Ah Sam said the group of 14 was the smallest in the competition and did well to compete with schools with more resources, more funding and more emphasis on the arts and music.
“We won a bronze medal, which matched some of the most experienced and well-regarded schools in the competition,” said Ah Sam.
“A special mention was also made by the judges to our three singers, Noah McBirney, Summer-Breeze Hoani and Waiwai Perene.
“Our rhythm section has also been flagged as one of the best in the competition.
“The students loved the experience and saw the level of other students from across the country of similar ages.”
The Jazz Waka group is made up of students aged 15 to 18 who have only had the last six weeks to practice together.
For the competition, they performed ‘E te Ariki, ‘On Broadway’, ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and ‘Spain’.
Ah Sam said there are many famous jazz tunes that the general public are beginning to recognize as jazz and a growing number of jazz festivals in New Zealand.
From there, Jazz Waka began to prepare for their next performances and even considered international opportunities.
“We are working towards an even better result next year and preparing to perform at the next Pasifika festival.
“There has already been an invitation to attend a jazz event in Brisbane and Samoa to consider.
“But our most immediate goal is to maintain the momentum and continue to build the band in terms of numbers and other instruments.”
The KBB Music Festival is administered by the Auckland Secondary Schools Music Festival Trust and is managed by a wider committee of volunteers known as the KBB Music Festival Committee.
The Festival started with a few schools combining for performances and has since grown in size and stature.
The groups perform in professional venues, competing for prizes and a place in gala concerts.
“Since 1983, the KBB Festival has attracted many of New Zealand’s finest young musicians performing in secondary school orchestras, concert bands, jazz bands and chamber orchestras from across the Auckland area”, said chairman Trevor Thwaites on the KBB Music Festival website.
“From the small numbers of the original Auckland Secondary Schools Music and Orchestra Festival, the KBB Music Festival has now grown to see over 4,500 students in 145 bands taking part in over 50 schools across the large Auckland region and beyond.”
Ah Sam wished to thank the continued support of friends and local businesses like Kaitaia Plumbing who helped students get to KBB Music Festival this year.
The group Kaitaia College Jazz Waka will perform at the next Pasifika festival in November.