After a 40 year gap the NZ Championships returned to Hamilton. St Kilda Brass under the baton of Peter Adams were there too.
The band’s accommodation split over two motels was ‘interesting’, familiar to many of Hamilton’s emergency housing recipients, and perhaps unchanged since that 1979 contest.
The contest as usual opened with the solo and party events. Saints achieved a trio of 3rd placings: Kerry Wood (Amateur Cornet), Keenan Buchanan (Eb bass) and Tony Van Alphen (Bb bass). After intensive rehearsals with Drum Major Kerry Wood the band were disappointed that the heavens opened just in time for the Friday Parade of Bands.
This was probably the best organised contest I’ve attended in my own 38 years of playing. Held at the Claudelands Event Centre, the raised stage was (personally) a pleasure to play on – not too dry, not too bouncy, and provided no worries of proscenium arches and disappearing percussion and tubas. The chief adjudicator seemed to hear all the notes, particularly any of the less than totally outstandingly beautiful ones. The warm-up rooms and pre-performance spaces were magnificent, and marshalling personnel friendly and efficient. Final results were at the wrong end of the placings, but not egregiously unfair in a large and difficult field.
Particular thanks due to Peter McHenry for his amazing organisational skills, assisting musicians Jamie Lawson (Footscray Yarraville) and Mark Close (APO), and our regular out-of-towners: Kerry Wood (Auckland), Keenan Buchanan (Palmerston North), and David Froom & Matthew Toomata (Christchurch).
Onwards to Christchurch 2021…