Favourites steaming along

A capacity crowd was kept happily entertained for three hours as the Great Taranaki Steam Band made its popular annual appearance at the Taranaki Jazz Club and presented a programme brimful of favourites.

Heaps of the great jazz standards were there, along with jazzy arrangements of other popular pieces. W C Handy, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Herbie Hancock - they all featured along with Henry Mancini, Kurt Weill, Irving Berlin and of course trad.

About 40 musicians are both getting and giving great enjoyment from this concert band, started just over a decade ago by Stewart Maunder, one of Taranaki's treasured teachers of music.

You just turn up, instrument in hand, saying "I want to be in the Steam Band".

A few expert lessons and quite a bit of dedicated practice later, there you are, getting great fun, challenges and satisfaction from making music.

Stewart Maunder not only trains and conducts - he did a great job of compering with a light, humorous style and just the right snippets of information.

Two singers added variety. Damon Ritai put down his saxophone to give us two ballads with his appealing, genial voice, and guest Juliet McLean, accompanied by splendid pianist Matt Sagen, charmed the audience with her laid-back style, compelling clarity of lyrics and fireside-warm voice.

Risky I know, but my favourites from the 30 items on the programme were Amazing Grace, Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Georgia on my Mind and Fantasy on an Irish Air.

Taranaki Daily News