Jazz Band-It Big Band Competition

By John Dodd | Posted: Wednesday November 9, 2022

In June the LPHS Jazz Band (the Little Steps Giant Band) entered a nationwide competition (the Jazz Band-It big band competition) run by Rodger Fox and the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington.

To enter, our band needed to record a film of us playing a Dave Dobbyn chart (selected from 10 tunes supplied to us). Out of 46 applicants our band was selected as a finalist to compete against ten other school bands in Wellington on the first Saturday of the October school holiday. 

We flew to Wellington on the last day of term 3, and on the following day competed in the wonderful auditorium at the New Zealand School of Music on the Victoria University campus. There were bands from Auckland to Dunedin, so it was great to see what the top standard is for North Island bands (we don't see this at the Marlborough Jazz Festival). On the day we needed to perform four charts, two being Dobbyn tunes from the list. Naturally(!) we played well, however there were several other groups who we thought were pretty amazing. We were not placed in the top three.

Our two most experienced players, Isaac Randel (tenor sax) and Jack Ta (piano), had also been selected as finalists in the solo improvisation competition, running alongside the big band comp. This was an absolute honour, and demonstrates the abilities of these two, as they were selected out of almost 60 performers to make the top eight. They each performed two pieces with a top flight Wellington rhythm section. Jack was placed third.

Some of our band busked in Cuba Street mall. We all went ten pin bowling, visited Te Papa, and got some time to hang out in central Wellington before flying home on Sunday night.