NZSM Jazz Project

The annual New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī Jazz Project was held earlier this month. Dr Dave Wilson and Dr Rodger Fox led the two-day event.

Lecturer Lance Philip alongside the Sancta Maria College Big Band, winners of the Jazz Project Most Outstanding Big Band.
Lecturer Lance Philip alongside the Sancta Maria College Big Band, winners of the Jazz Project Most Outstanding Big Band.

This year’s annual NZSM Jazz Project was held at Victoria University of Wellington and provided multiple opportunities for students​​​ and audiences to experience ​jazz music making at the highest levels.

The Jazz Project is an opportunity for staff and senior students of the NZSM Jazz Performance Programme to work alongside visiting guest artists (international guests, in non-COVID years), resulting in performances in a number of venues including an evening concert as part of the Wellington Jazz Festival.

The event also incorporates an educational outreach to New Zealand secondary school jazz ensembles providing performance, workshop and competition opportunities to support and inspire both the next generation of jazz musicians, and their band directors and teachers.

The NZSM Jazz Project has a partnership with the Wellington Jazz Festival, which takes place at the same time.

Dave Wilson and Rodger Fox led the two-day event attracting high school students from across New Zealand. Students performed in combo small groups and in big bands, and participated in workshops with leading New Zealand jazz musicians and educators immediately after their performances. The Combo Competition and Workshops on Wednesday were adjudicated by Callum Allardice​​, Mike Taylor, Eilish Wilson and Jasmine Lovell-Smith, and ​on Thursday the Big Band Competition and Workshops were adjudicated by Oscar Lav​ën, Lance Philip and Bryn van Vliet.

The Wednesday evening concert at Memorial Theatre featured NZSM Big Band One, directed by Rodger Fox, with guest artist saxophonist Oscar Lavën in a thrilling performance for the hundreds of students, teachers, parents, and community members in attendance. The NZSM Festival Combo opened the concert, and featured current students Nicholas Baucke-Maunsell (saxophone), Akash Dutta (piano), Jack Harré (trumpet), Jamie Pye (guitar), Harry Scholes (bass), and Baileigh Sparkes (drums).

This year’s well-deserved awards for outstanding musicians were presented to the following students:

Jenna Aspeling (Sancta Maria College) - saxophone

Harry Blyde (Aotea College) - drums

Eden Brown (Palmerston North Girls High School) - voice

Andrew Choi (Sancta Maria College) - guitar

Tyler Diprose (Avondale College) - bass

Maia Eketone (Avondale College) - most outstanding musician, and best original arrangement for "Aataganamenet"

Louis Holland (Wellington High School)- trombone

Miro Holland (Wellington High School) - trumpet

Lucas Kewell (Avondale College) - piano, and best original composition for "Poor America"

Kevin Zeng – (Sancta Maria College) - big band drums

Sancta Maria College Big Band - best big band

Avondale Quartet (Avondale College) - best combo