Honouring Les Green – Our Senior Saint

Les Green achieved sainthood when he joined St Kilda Brass as a tenor Horn player in the mid-1950s and over the past 65 years has been a corner stone of the band and the New Zealand Brass Band movement. Les has been Committee member, secretary, treasurer and president of St Kilda, served as president of OSBBA,  served on national Contest Committees,  the National Executive and as treasurer of BBANZ. Les could play a bit as well. He was solo horn in St Kilda’s golden era in the 1960s, a prominent national soloist and a member of the 1965, 76, 80, and 89 National Bands.

Les popped his tenor horn in its case for the last time quite recently. He and Maureen have moved to Christchurch to be close to family. A lifelong Dunedinite, Les has taken his blue and yellow Otago kit with him!

Being awarded life membership of the Band in the mid-1970s didn’t slow Les down and he continued to contribute in a multitude of ways. The Band has decided to honour Les’ lifetime in the movement with establishment of the Les Green Brass and Percussion Scholarship.

The Scholarship will be awarded on an annual basis to a Brass or Percussion player from beyond Dunedin who is commencing study at the University of Otago or Otago Polytechnic. Its value is $1500.00.  St Kilda has been the musical home of many students over the years while they have been gaining qualifications and Les will be remembered by most because of the interest he took in their progress and wellbeing. The selection process will involve a recorded audition. Details of the audition requirements will be forwarded to those who email an expression of interest to chairman@stkildabrass.org.nz  by 15 November 2022 and applications will close on 15 December 2022.

John Edgecombe – in memoriam

John won his first NZ trombone title at the age of 15 in 1954. He arrived in Dunedin from Te Awamutu in the very early 1960s at the invitation of the Roslyn Mills Kaikorai Band. His early contributions included teaching, conducting their junior band and playing as principal trombone before taking up the baton in 1966 at the age of 27. Under John’s direction the band won National Championships in 1969 and 1970.John was appointed as Conductor of St Kilda Brass in 1975. He took a break in 1979 and took up the baton again between 1984 and 1989. He was Band Chairman in 1981 and 1982. And while with St Kilda won three NZ trombone titles in 1978, 79 and 84. He won Champion of Champions in 1978John set the standard for trombonists in New Zealand with 8 Championship wins over 30 years.

His leadership and influence within the Dunedin brass band scene and with St Kilda Brass cannot be underestimated.Condolences to Jenny, Nicola, Kathryn and their extended families.

New Life Member – Errol Moore

At the recent AGM, 24 June 2021, the band voted to award a new life membership to Dr. Errol Moore.

Peter McHenry awarding life membership to Errol Moore. June 2021

Errol joined the Band in 1990. Set out below is a summary of his wide-ranging contribution to the Band since then.

  • As one of New Zealand’s top Euphonium players representing St Kilda in winning National Solo Championships in 1993 and 1994 and as a member of National Bands of New Zealand in 1995 and 2003.
  • Providing considerable artistic support to Peter Adams in the early 1990s as a rehearsal conductor and in coaching individual players and sections in a period of significant contest success for the Band. Also willingly acting as a ‘fill-in’ conductor whenever asked in a variety of circumstances over the past 31 years.
  • As Musical Director from 1996 to 1998 guiding the Band to placings in New Zealand A Grade Championship events and stepping in again in 2021.
  • As a committee member through the mid-1990s and as Chairman of the Band in 2014/2015.
  • As a willing and reliable contributor of time and effort to a myriad of non-musical tasks.
  • As a willing participant in fund raising efforts with such organisations as DCC and Community Trust of Otago.
  • As a tutor working with promising young Band members both in a professional and a voluntary capacity. 
  • Establishing and running “All Brass Class” which currently has around 30 learners across all brass genres. Two players from this programme joined the Band in 2020; both of whom were selected for the National Secondary Schools Band.

Congratulations Errol – let this fuel the fire for another 30 odd years.

It’s all happening in 2021

Goodbye 2020 and welcome 2021 and the chance the perform!

The Saints have lined up an exciting start to the New Year making up for the cancelled events in 2020. We start the year with something different:

“The Rat Pack Gig”

The Saints will join up with guitar, piano, dancers, and singers to provide cool entertainment at the Dunedin Town Hall on the February 12. The event is to support the Otago Medical Research Foundation.

April 17-18 Dunedin will hold the annual Art Festival and the The Saints will be involved in street art music for:

“The Java Dance Gig”

What’s happening in the band room?

This year our conductors’ team will include Kenneth Young (Leading NZ conductor and composer, and current Mozart Fellow at the University of Otago), he will lead St Kilda in the Otago / Southland Provincial contest, April 10-11 in Invercargill.

Associate Professor Peter Adams will make a welcome return to lead the Rat Pack Gig.

They will be supported by Dr. Errol Moore in what is shaping up to be an impressive triumvirate of musical leadership.

This year we are inviting new and returning students to join St Kilda Brass, the premiere Brass Band in Dunedin and the only A grade Brass Band in NZ to have retained it’s A grade status since its inception ….The Saints.

We also invite any current or new Dunedin based Brass and Percussion players wishing to play at an A grade level to please get in touch

We offer top quality Instruments and tuition to fully develop your playing and have an exciting and interesting year of new music making to look forward to.


Email: chairman@stkildabrass.org.nz

Phone: Peter McHenry (021 283 8611)

Review – Moving, stirring music – marking on Armistice Day

Armistice Day Concert

Dunedin RSA Choir and St Kilda Brass

Knox Church

Wednesday, November 11

After such a difficult “Covid year” for all music and sporting groups, Dunedin’s RSA Choir and A Grade band St Kilda Brass gave their first proper concerts of the year in Knox Church on Wednesday evening, with focus on Armistice Day – such an important date in world history.

Directed by Karen Knudsen and Shane Foster, with organist David Burchell, Johnny Mottershead at the piano and excellently compered by Scott Bezett, the large audience enjoyed a well-chosen programme of music, which began Eric Coates’ spine-tingling Dambusters March. This dynamilcally punctuated, forward-moving brass favourite was a perfect opener, then the choir responded with Sound Ye Trumpets gilded with trumpet obligato.

There many highlights, mostly with impressive solo passages by guest soloist University of Otago first-year performance vocal student, Alexander McAdam – I Vow to Thee My Country, Cohen’s Hallelujah and Bring Him Home from Les Miserables.

Brass items included an innovative arrangement of The Girl I Left Behind Me, Evening Hymn and Sunset with stunning legato blends and outstanding trumpet passages (Ioan Fuller), warm mellow tones for the thematic lyricism of Benedictus by Karl Jenkins and Battle of Britain March. Five cornet players delivering Leroy Anderson’s Buglers’ Holiday at top speed was a crowd favourite.

The choir dedicated a moving performance of The Lord’s Prayer to Colin Challis – their last World War 2 veteran choir member, who died earlier this year. A very significant Ceremony of Remembrance included reciting the Ode, Charge (Jenkins) and Last Post sounded by Shane Foster on a bugle handed down from his grandfater, who had played this vintage instrument at Somme during World War 1 – so special.

Anthem from Chess with McAdam confident and secure in solo highlights ended a really enjoyable feast of music with voices, brass, organ and piano in perfect combinations of music-making.

Elizabeth Bouman

Review taken from Otago Daily Times (13 November 2020)

Do you look good in red?

Do you look good in red? Perhaps you see yourself as virtuous? Sounds like you need to be a Saint, just sayin’.

St Kilda Brass have a newly appointed musical director, Shane Foster and we’re excited about the new phase for the band. We’d love for anyone with aspirations to be a Saint (or just join us to play) to contact us and let us know.

Email: musicaldirector@stkildabrass.org.nz
Phone: 027 312 2017 (Shane)

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.

Musical Director – Expressions of Interest

Expressions of interest are invited for the position of Musical Director of St Kilda Brass in Dunedin

The Musical Director will lead the band in it’s annual contest and concert programme which is based around the university calendar year and will also train and develop current and future players

The successful candidate should be suitably qualified and experienced for the role, be forward thinking and innovative and have great people and leadership skills

The role will commence at the beginning of 2020

Expressions of interest are to be directed by 30 September 2019 to the Chairman, St Kilda Brass, email Chairman@stkildabrass.org.nz, phone 021-283-8611

Also advertised in the Otago Daily Times, BBANZ and the St Kilda Brass Facebook page.

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)

First report: 2019 National Contest, Hamilton 8-12 July

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…