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Jazz students visit Wellington


Our jazz students enjoyed a 4-day trip to Wellington to experience a new level of Jazz. We watched competitions, concerts and strolled around Wellington for an immersive and up-close experience.

The first impression of Wellington was the rainy weather, but it did not stop us from having fun. We rested in Trek Global Backpackers for a while before walking to Victoria University, where a ‘Jazz Project’ competition was held for Jazz Combos and Big Bands from around the country. We were privileged to have our students perform that day. This included players such as Jenna Aspeling, Peter Brzozowski, Andrew Botting, and Jeremy D’Cruze from the combo ‘Midnight Quartet’ and Minju Kim, Adrian Vargas, Peter Brzozowski, Phoebe Kong, Andrew Choi, Rad Atienza, Patrick Dempsey, and Daniella Joven from the combo ‘The Octatonics.’ They amazed the judges with their musicianship, confidence and solos. Each combo received feedback on what they had to do to improve and made us really proud for nailing their performances that day. After watching the other performances from different schools, we headed back to our hotel and had Dominoes for dinner.

Day 2 we had our breakfast, and walked to Te Marae, Te Papa Museum, where a concert was held by ‘Jazz’ in the 21st Century by “The Committee” featuring Mat Fieldes. It was satisfying to listen to each of the members perform their pieces with confidence and detailed playing. After the performance, the students were given a break to eat lunch and explore the area, and later met up again in front of the museum. We then walked to the Michael Fowler Centre, where they announced the Jazz Project prize winners. Even though the students did not win big awards, Mr Cho was proud of them for having fun and enjoying listening to music with the people we love. A few hours later, we watched the ‘Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet’, starring Ambrose Akinmusire. He is a famous jazz trumpeter who came all the way from America to perform a new type of jazz called Contemporary Jazz. I never knew that one note played repeatedly throughout the whole piece could leave an audience mesmerized.

On the 3rd day, we walked back to Michael Fowler Centre, where a workshop was held by music students from the School of Music. Ambrose Akinmusire was also there to give feedback on their playing, and how they can sway their audiences more by playing better solos. Shortly after watching 3 talented groups perform, another group of skilled music teachers took the stage to perform their songs. They executed their playing very well and caught my attention with one of the songs they performed. It was soothing to hear, and the audience enjoyed every bit of the performance. Long after the performances, everyone had their free time to either eat out or rest. After the break, the teachers treated the students by going to Nando’s. Everyone was free to order whatever they wanted, and some us enjoyed it too much.

As the day ended, we watched our final concert in Wellington. The Ghost Notes played that night and got us grooving with their music. This involved a six-time Grammy Award winning duo of Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth. The band played funky jazz tunes, and used phrases from the ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown. It was fun to watch people swaying their bodies and dancing their hearts out, which really made it an enjoyable trip. After the concert ended, everyone was tired and went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

On the 4th and final day, everyone packed their bags and headed to the airport around 10:30am. We landed back in Auckland at 2:45pm on Saturday.

On behalf of the students who came, we would like to thank Mr Cho and Ms Du Blom who took care of us during the trip and made the trip far more enjoyable than we expected. We would also like to thank our parents/caregivers who gave us the opportunity to be part of the jazz experience and opened new chapters of our life towards this music genre. We hope that more students are inspired by the music of Jazz, and hopefully take part in the trip next year.

Lorenzo Cruz