Ar­tillery band has busy time ahead

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By MICHELE ONG

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.

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