The smooth and powerful sounds of jazz music filled the streets of Picton yesterday during day two of the Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival.
Jazz bands from Marlborough Boys' College, Hagley Community College in Christchurch, Wakatipu Ensuite, St Andrew's College and Marlborough Girls' College, all vying for the title of overall festival winner, stopped people in their tracks outside Cafe Cortado in Picton.
Marlborough 4 Fun chief executive Katrina Lange, who organised Southern Jam, said the first two days of the event had gone very well.
"We've had great attendance at all of the venues . . . it's also fantastic to see the students' improvements from last year."
There was a lot of talent among the 22 bands performing over the four-day event, Lange said.
"The students really appreciate their time performing to the public . . . if they become proper musicians afterwards this is what they will look back on. It's a very unique experience for them."
The students all supported each other at the different venues and their love for jazz definitely showed, she said.
"It's a group of like-minded students coming together to share music."
For Marlborough Girls' College student Amy Tempero, yesterday was her second performance.
Amy, who plays the saxophone, said Wednesday's performance had gone really well, but it did not stop the nerves from getting to her yesterday.
"But it's good fun going around the other schools and seeing what they have to offer."
The 17-year-old year 13 student started playing the saxophone in year 10.
"I've always liked jazz but I've grown to love it. I listened to it more and I've grown with it."
Musicians from 15 South Island secondary schools have travelled to Marlborough to compete in the four-day event.
Lange said that, after each performance, students were taken under the wing of one of the six judges, who held masterclasses, or instrument-specific tutorials.
This year's judges were: jazz piano and rock/pop keyboard player Darren Pickering, jazz and contemporary drummer Luke Smillie, trombone player and composer Scott Taitoko, jazz saxophone player Gwyn Reynolds, double bassist and electric bassist Michael Story, and jazz vocalist and vocal coach Kate Taylor.
In previous years, the master classes had been taken by members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band and the Rodger Fox Big Band, Lange said.
The final "jam" will take place at Marlborough Boys' College hall at 7.30pm tomorrow and the All Star Band, a group of the best individual musicians from each category, will perform. Tickets for the show cost $38 for an adult and $24 for children under 15 years, students and over-65s.
Is the region better served by having multiple events over one weekend or spread out throughout the year?Related story: (See story)