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Christchurch’s Burnside High School Jazz band has won the Essential NZ Jazz Band Competition, the top award at the Young Jazz Band-it school jazz competitions held at the New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī, Victoria University of Wellington on Saturday, 23 September. 

The Young Jazz Band-it initiative is a joint venture between Youthtown and the Aotearoa Jazz Education & Performance Charitable Trading Trust (AJE&PCT). Young Jazz Band-it receive valued support from Musicworks NZ and the New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī. This year, more than 700 students entered the competitions, either as members of bands or individuals, with over 200 competing in the finals on Saturday. 

Ten high school big bands contested the Essential NZ Jazz Band Competition finals, with Burnside again winning the top prize last year and receiving $6,000 of musical equipment from Musicworks NZ, plus a recording and music video. 

Second place went to Palmerston North Boy’s High School Big Band, winning $2,500 from Musicworks, and third place to Tauranga Boy’s College Big Band, receiving a $1,500 prize from Musicworks. Pukekohe High School received a Judge’s Commendation and $500 from Musicworks. 

The NZ Drum Improvisation Competition, with a $750 prize from Musicworks, was won by Thomas Christie from Green Bay High School in Auckland. 

The NZ Jazz Composition Competition for the best jazz piece composed by a New Zealand school student or students and performed by a school jazz band, and with a $1,000 prize, went to William Kao from Burnside High School.

Jack Ta (Piano) from Dunedin’s Logan Park High School took first place in the NZ Jazz Improvisation Competition with a $750 prize from Musicworks. Sylvester Green (Trumpet) from Tauranga Boys High School was second, picking up the $500 prize, and William Kao (Trombone) from Burnside High School was third, receiving $250.

Rodger Fox, Director of the Young Jazz Band-it Competitions, said: “What a fantastic day. It was both encouraging and inspiring hearing these young musicians perform, making great music together in a supportive environment.

 “A big shout-out to all the music teachers, band directors and family members who helped make it all possible.

 “Huge kudos to Youthtown for funding the Young Jazz Band-it competitions via the Aotearoa Jazz Education & Performance Charitable Trading Trust Inc., to Musicworks NZ for providing the generous prizes, and to the New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī for hosting the event.

“Congratulations to the prize winners, to those selected as finalists, and many thanks to everyone who entered the competition.

“We now look forward to the Young Jazz Band-it 2024 Competitions with entries opening towards the end of November.”



Burnside High School win NZ Jazz Competition for a second year in succession



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