Eight schools instrumental in Jazz Fest

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 30/10/2012
Jazz Fest
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
TUNING UP: Jazz Fest co-organiser Ross Ogilvy, with students Celia Blaas, 17, Tom Khanom, 19, and Nicole Jensen, 17, rehearse for Thursday's Jazz Fest.

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It will be a battle of the saxes when Jazz Fest hits Invercargill this week.

Eight secondary school bands from as far afield as Wanaka will perform in the annual competition to be crowned best jazz group in the region.

Jazz Fest co-organiser Barbara Jones said this year was the first time Mount Aspiring College had entered a group into the contest, and pupils would also travel from Queenstown, Alexandra and Gore for the show.

"They come down in big buses with their parents. It's very competitive."

A more than $1500 total prize pool will be on offer. Prizes will be awarded not only to the best bands in show but also to individuals, such as best saxophonist.

"It just lets the best musicians in the schools really show their talent," she said.

After 15 years of the competition, Jazz Fest had attracted a loyal audience of music lovers, and a good turnout at this year's show was expected, she said.

Co-organiser Ross Ogilvy said the jazz genre, more improvisational than other kinds of music, allowed pupils room to add their own spin to the music. "It gives them a platform to be creative. It's good for them to get out there and perform this sort of stuff."

All bands were required to play a piece by jazz composer Thelonious Sphere Monk, but, because every school would arrange their own version of the song, each performance could sound very different, he said.

Jazz Fest will be held on Thursday, starting at 7pm, at Ascot Park Hotel. Tickets for adults are $5, while student entry is $2.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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