Brothers' lip fitness

Getting down to brass tacks

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014
bewley brothers
ROBYN EDIE / Fairfax NZ
BRASS DUET: Brothers Liam, 14, left, and Jack Bewley, 16, of Whakatane, perform in the junior duet section at the National Brass Band Championships in Invercargill.

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It might sound like the latest Hollywood exercise fad but lip fitness is serious business for the Bewley brothers.

Jack, 16, and Liam Bewley, 14, travelled from Whakatane to compete in the National Brass Band Championships, which are being held in Invercargill this week.

The brothers increased their practice to several times a week in the lead-up to the championship to keep their lips fit enough to perform in a brass band.

Playing a brass instrument required a lot of effort, Jack said. Aside from practice and working on lip fitness, the boys had to give their instruments a bath once a month to keep them clean, he said.

The instruments they play cost more than most teenagers' first cars. The brothers estimated Jack's baritone horn, if new, would cost about $7000, while Liam's euphonium could cost $12,500. Luckily for their parents, the boys borrow their instruments from their band, Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass.

Both brothers began their brass journey through the Whakatane School of Music but it was the community atmosphere of brass that kept them playing, Jack said.

"It's something a little different. It's interesting how big a brass community there is in New Zealand."

Twenty-six bands from throughout the country are competing in the championships. About 500 musicians will march along through the city centre today, beginning in Spey St at 1pm. Marchers will then travel along Kelvin St and Tay St. Solo and ensemble competitions have now wrapped up but band events continue today and tomorrow.

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- The Southland Times

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