Students fine tune skills on Aust tour
A two-week tour has seen a Palmerston North band perform in caves and meet some of the legends of jazz.
While most students were relaxing during the recent school holidays, the Palmerston North Boys' High School stage band was trekking across Australia.
Band leader Neville Lauridsen said the trip saw the 16-strong band perform outside the Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains; in Melbourne's Federation Square; and have a rehearsal with Monash University's Big Band.
There were opportunities for sightseeing as well, but Mr Lauridsen said the aim of the tour was to improve the students' playing skills.
While performing was part of that, the band also had private workshops with trombonist and arranger Ed Wilson - who was a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra - and drummer John Morrison, brother of famed trumpeter James Morrison.
Mr Lauridsen said meeting Wilson was especially good for the band, as they played some of his charts.
"Both of them said really encouraging things about our band."
Tours often create friction between band members or burn people out, but stress-relieving events were held to try to avoid that, he said.
"We tried to have a mix of playing and doing the touristy things, because you just wear them out otherwise.
"It was their holidays after all."
Mr Lauridsen said the benefits of the tour were already showing.
"Even now, they are playing far better than before we left."
The higher standard of playing was something he said he wanted the band to carry on with next year, especially as the group will feature six new faces due to some pupils leaving school.
"Hopefully, next year we will be set up well enough to say ‘this is the level we want to start at'."
The band celebrated their successful tour with a fundraising concert last night, with all money going towards Project Indochina.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?