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National Youth Jazz Competition brings Success

On the 31st of March, Sancta Maria College entered the National Youth Jazz Competition for the very first time, thanks to Mr Cho, who originally organised the trip. It was held in Tauranga with two of our current bands, The Fantails and The Keas, where they visited the Jazz Village while attending this event.

The Fantails performed four pieces. They went on stage first, starting with ‘Crooked Creek’ by Brian Blade as their first song, the second being ‘I Know You Know’ by Esperanza Spalding, ‘Mr. P.C.’ by John Coltrane and lastly ‘Bad Kids to the Back’ by Snarky Puppy. The Keas had three pieces in their set: ‘Nica’s Dream’ by Horace Silver, ‘Boplicity’ by Miles Davis and ‘Grown Folks’ by Michael League and Snarky Puppy.

The next day, 1st of April, the SMC students were present for the competition’s Prizegiving after the big band performances, with The Fantails winning the Dennis Huggard Trophy for being the best first year performance band, and both combos receiving gold awards. As there were several more first year bands competing in this event (what used to be around 150 bands to over 400 now), the search for a recipient of the trophy was extremely difficult, though our band becomes the final decision. It’s astonishing how despite the lesser chances they had, they were still picked out as one of the best performers in the competition. A well-deserved achievement in the music department as a part of Sancta Maria College.

Mr Cho mentions his highlight of the trip during the Jam session at the ‘Our Place’ on a rainy Wednesday evening when our SMC students show their unwavering encouragement towards the other competitors: “the two SMC bands played right before the last band from St Andrew’s College. By the time St Andrew’s got up on the stage, everyone had left, except for the SMC students who sat right at the front and cheered the last band on until the end. This was mentioned by the MC at the prize giving as “one of the most generous acts of supporting another band that I’ve seen.””

“To be honest, I did expect the two combos to win gold awards. As someone who is actively in the jazz scene in Auckland, it was clear that the level of our premier combos showed during rehearsals was well above an average high school jazz combo.” From these experiences for young musicians in SMC, it is clear that we are capable of doing great things, from giving positive support to fellow competitors to achieving rewards no matter how slim the possibilities may be.

The following link below is where you can find the SMC jazz performances from these two talented bands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjKKWsEHZ0o&t=31290s&ab_channel=NationalJazzFestivalTauranga

The Fantails’ performance

4:49:20 – 5:17:03

The Keas’ performance

6:29:49 -6:51:25

Koyuki Ho

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