Additions to band welcomed

From ODT 11 October 2019

A prizegiving concert last night was especially significant for St Kilda Brass as a new musical director was officially welcomed and four new copper timpani drums were put into use.

New musical director Shane Foster, formerly of Alpine Energy Brass in Timaru, had been working for both bands for the last 12 months but was now officially full-time with the Dunedin-based band.

St Kilda Brass co-chairman Peter McHenry said the “Friends and Family” concert was also the band’s first performance with four timpani drums, which were bought with the help of grants from the Lion Foundation and Otago Community Trust and together cost $30,000.

The drums sounded “fantastic” and opening number Through the Plains, by percussionist Paul Lovatt-Cooper, showed them off to great effect, Mr McHenry said.

“Our old ones were not of the quality that we need for our performances; we needed copper ones that are just that next level up,” Mr McHenry said.

“It’s a pretty major investment for us.”

The band had managed to sell its old set of timpani fibreglass drums to a group in Christchurch.

The concert was “really good” and was attended by 60 or 70 people.

Prizewinners were soloist of the year Harry Smith, who played the euphonium, bandsman of the year Mr McHenry, and the cornet section, which was named best section. Player of the year was Ian McCabe, on bass trombone.

Young Dunedin musicians selected to play among the top brass – ODT

Otago Daily Times 23 August, 2019

Four Dunedin brass musicians have blown away the judges, earning themselves recognition as some of the best young players in the country.

They have been selected to take part in the 2020 National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand.

University of Otago pharmacy student Logan Ford 20) will be the principal cornet player while computer science student Harry Smith (21) has been selected as the principal euphonium.

Both are St Kilda Brass Band members and have been selected for the band before.

Two Kaikorai Metropolitan Brass Band members, statistics student Anna Redmond (21) and Kavanagh College pupil Sebastian Hook (17) have been selected for the first time.

Miss Redmond plays the cornet and Sebastian plays the trombone.

The national band members are all under 23 years old and are selected from nationwide auditions.

All four said they were looking forward to a camp in Christchurch in January and a tour which would follow.

As the principal cornet player Mr Ford was not only the leader of his section but also looked to as the leader of the whole band.

“I guess it’s about knowing all your parts as well as you can and I’m probably expected to be a role model for some of the younger members of the band.”

The youngest of the group, Sebastian, said he was looking forward to playing alongside and learning from more experienced brass players.

After the camp. the band will tour the lower South Island, playing in Christchurch, Oamaru, Roxburgh and Invercargill.

From: Otago Daily Times, 23 August, 2019 (https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/young-dunedin-musicians-selected-play-among-top-brass)

Review – Brass shines and voices sparkle in firmament

Knox Church
21 August 2016

St Kilda Brass Band under the direction of Peter Adams, performed an exciting array of brass arrangements and contemporary compositions before a medium capacity audience in Knox Church yesterday afternoon.

The band shared the stage with St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir and soprano Sophie Morris. Knox’s acoustics seem to mellow the sound of all performers except when Morris brought out the microphone.

In a programme titled “Among the Stars”, all groups are celebrated for the stars among them and best wishes for the competitions ahead. In an afternoon replete with highlights, sadly only the super novas get a mention here.

Arrangements of orchestral works for brass can present many extreme technical challenges.

But St Kilda Brass is admirably up to the challenge, if not equal to it.

The blurred moments in Roberts’ fiendishly difficult arrangements of Holst’s Mars and Jupiter are almost forgiven.

The band and its soloists fully redeemed themselves, however, with enchanting performances of Peter Graham’s swirling and sparkling Shine as the Light, and Cooper-Lovatt’s lilting Enter the Galaxies.

The items chosen by St Hilda’s Madrigal Choir, under the direction of Michael Grant, highlighted their soulful well-modulated sound for Anthony Ritchie’s He Moemoea, Britten’s Balulalow and Jenkins’ Adiemus.

They showed rhythmic energy in Banja’s Traditional Serbian Folk Song, though it could be improved with more slide than that encompassed by a Church of England sound.

Sophie Morris’ performances just keep on getting better.

She now has an impressive voice range and stylistic range, going effortlessly from the belle canto required in Dvorak’s Rusalka’s Song to the Moon and Puccini’s O mio babbino caro to Bernstein’s soaring Somewhere, Webber’s guttural Memory and Kander and Ebb’s raunchy All That Jazz.

Morris is definitely the ascendant star.

Final accolades go to the band’s performance of Barry Gott’s lightly exuberant and sweetly fluffy Lightwalk.

Marian Poole
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (August 22, 2016)

Caversham Community Action – ODT

Courtesy of ODT – 8 November, 2015

At the site of the former Carisbrook stadium, Dunedin artist Aroha Novak had created temporary art installation The Brook Project, which will be on display for eight days.

The installation included more than 100 embroideries relating to the economic, social and political history of the Carisbrook site. They were attached to the wire fence that surrounds the site.

About 60 people turned out for an event that featured everyone from Tahu and the Takahes to the St Kilda Brass Bandits, who used items including road cones to make their music.

Ms Novak said she was pleased “all these people have come together to help produce this vision that I’ve had”.

Review – Virtuoso in the school hall absolute treat

Kavanagh Auditorium
23 May 2015

There was prolonged applause and a standing ovation from the capacity audience in Kavanagh College Auditorium at Saturday evening’s concert by St Kilda Brass (conductor Peter Adams) and its magnificent guest, internation tenor Simon O’Neill.

Now considered by many to be the best Heldenenor of our time, O’Neill began studying voice at the University of Otago in 1990, when he also played in St Kilda Brass, so this was an occasion to return for a concert night out with his old band.

The band opened strongly with La Forza del Destino Overture, then O’Neill gave a taste of what was to come with Pucini’s aria Che Gelida Manina.

Informal chat and introductions to items endeared him to his audience, and no doubt also helped relax John McAdam (baritone horn), who stepped out front to provide solo companion passages for another popular Italian aria, Una Furtiva Lagrima.

Four great Wagner arias followed. Winterstrume, from Die Walkure, and Brunhilde! Helige Braut! were accompanied with brass band arrangements by Adams, generally matching the intensely powerful drama of the texts.

Big brass fanfares and speeding scalic cornets launched the second half of the concert in a thrilling arrangement of Festive Overture, by Shostakovich.

The remainder of the programme featured O’Neill with popular songs such as Panis Angelicus, Maria from West Side Story, and Danny Boy.

O’Neill in his original red jacket and cap, delighted with a solo baritone horn spot as the band rocked out I Got Rhythm. But the surpreme highlight came with Puccini’s Nessum dorma – not once, but twice for the enthralled audience.

What an unbelievable and absolute treat to hear O’Neill singing in a local school auditorium with the same drama and passion he would accord performances in the world’s greatest opera venues.

Elizabeth Bouman
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (May 25, 2015)

Review – New Zealand International Early Music Festival

Knox Church
27 February 2015

St Kilda Brass and Da Capo Vocal Consort collaboration set the tone for the second New Zealand International Early Music Festival.

The concert, performed to an audience of modest size, opened with David Burchell’s crisp and articulate rendering of Gabrieli’s Intonazione on the church organ. Thereafter, Cantate Domino for voices and brass conveyed the jubilant Psalm 96 with control and poise. The accompanying brass quartet backed the singers sensitively.

Gabrieli’s two ensuing canzoni for brass showed keen understanding of the Venetian style, punctuated by moments of insecurity peppering the otherwise crisp texture.

Morenzio’s Caro dolce showed fine expertise from the voices; Chiaro segno amor displayed the skilled singers growing in conviction, delivering a thoroughly captivating “morte” cadence towards the close of this poignant madrigal. Susato’s three ensuing Renaissance Dances for brass were preceded by splendid, jocular anecdotes regarding the Renaissance delivered by conductor Errol Moore.

Gesualdo’s exquisitely preformed madrigal Baci soave e cari displayed the hallmarks characterising the anguished harmonies of Gesualdo’s vocal writing, conveying the sadness which surrounded his curious personal life.

The subsequent brass works by Gabrieli and Palestrina displayed real grandeur; through their seamless composure, they became quite transporting, achieving halcyon visions of distant Venice. The introduction of the organ, in combination with the brass, made for a refreshing blend of timbres. Moving to Monteverdi, Da Capo’s singing of Anima mia was spendid, its composition startling with its tonal shift; the performance was delivered with sublime proficiency.

The concert concluded in a similar vein to its opening, with great embellishment on the organ. Thereafter, Gabrieli’s Hodie complete sunt, in celebration of Pentecost, experimented admirably with antiphonal placement of musicians and concluded a largely captivating performance

George Chittenden
Review taken from the Otago Daily Times (March 2, 2015)