Artillery band has busy time ahead
No members, no music.
The Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, or Royal New Zealand Artillery Band, desperately needs some new blood in its ranks.
The band has a series of parades and concerts lined up to mark its 150th year of service to the New Zealand Army in 2014.
It also has a busy few years ahead of it as centenary anniversaries marking the start of World War I and the various campaigns that followed take place.
Bandmaster Dennis Schofield says an extra 10 members are needed to join the existing 26.
But brass players are hard to find these days and Mr Schofield says that could be a problem that makes it difficult for the band to meet demand for its services over the next five years.
‘‘Schools provide excellent music programmes, and some do continue,’’ he says. ‘‘But most, once they leave high school, go to university, get jobs and don’t make the time for it any more. There is some great musical talent developed from these programmes and by joining a band or orchestra this can continue and improve throughout life.’’
Mr Schofield says younger musicians are more interested in playing tunes they hear on radio, iPods and other devices.
‘‘But I encourage them to get out and hear what a brass band is all about. Some have come back saying ‘it’s really neat’,’’ he says.
Mr Schofield joined the band in 1987 and attended the Brisbane World Expo in 1988 where he played at the New Zealand Pavilion for two weeks. He stayed with the band until 1999 before being appointed by Auckland City Philharmonia as its music director in 2000.
He was appointed to the position of the NZ Artillery Band’s bandmaster to replace the conductor who resigned in 2002.
It is the military aspect of the band that he enjoys.
‘‘There’s both the discipline and drill involved in it, and it gives you more focus,’’ he says.
Band members are provided with instruments and uniforms. They receive reimbursement for travel expenses to engagements, free mentoring and tutoring help.
Practice is 7.30pm to 10pm every Tuesday in Panmure. Call Mr Schofield on 09 428 6555, or 021 292 6439, or the band secretary on 413 5322 if you are keen to join.
Help wanted: More musicians are needed in the Band of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, which includes, from left: Caroline Filimoehala, deputy bandmaster Peter Downey, Paul Davison and Nick Harris.