Drum­ming up mil­i­tary storm

Kapiti News - - News -

Lead­ing Air­craft­man Sam MacKen­zie is ea­ger to drum up a storm when he per­forms in the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band’s an­nual con­cert in Welling­ton.

“I’m most look­ing for­ward to our drum line pieces, one of which is new and we’ve spent a lot of time work­ing on.”

This year the band’s pop­u­lar Air Force in Con­cert, on Satur­day, has been moved to the larger Michael Fowler Cen­tre in Welling­ton, which also pro­vides im­proved acous­tics on pre­vi­ous venues.

The con­cert will fea­ture a range of mu­si­cal styles from John Wil­liams to John Farn­ham, and from Sousa to Puc­cini, led by out­stand­ing vo­cal­ists Lead­ing Air­craft­men Bar­bara Gra­ham and Stephanie Paris.

Ta­lented piper Flight Sergeant Mur­ray Mans­field will get the feet stomp­ing with some Celtic melodies, while the band’s Drum­line are promis­ing dra­matic in­no­va­tion on last year’s elec­tri­fy­ing per­for­mance.

The 65-mem­ber band is made up of New Zealand De­fence Force Re­servists, many of whom are ac­tive in Welling­ton’s mu­sic scene.

MacKen­zie, 20, who lives in Waitarere Beach, knew lit­tle about cer­e­mo­nial guard drum­ming be­fore join­ing the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band in 2016.

Af­ter at­tend­ing Western Heights High School in Ro­torua, he en­rolled to study Jazz Per­for­mance through the New Zealand School of Mu­sic in Welling­ton, where he met some of his cur­rent band mates, who were also en­rolled.

“It’s a mu­si­cal path I didn’t think I’d be in­volved in so soon, but when pre­sented with the op­por­tu­nity, I grabbed it.”

“I at­tended one of the band’s re­hearsals, and be­came more and more in­volved in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, such as catafalque guards.”

Ear­lier this year he trav­elled to France and Bel­gium for An­zac Day com­mem­o­ra­tions, where the band played at the Last Post Cer­e­mony at Menin Gate, Ieper.

Recit­ing the ode in te reo be­fore the band played in front of the en­tire cer­e­mony was a high­light.

“Ini­tially I shied away from the idea, be­cause pub­lic speak­ing is not my forte.”

How­ever, with en­cour­age­ment and sup­port from his peers, he em­braced the once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity.

“I’ve had no re­grets at all — it’s a mem­ory that will last a life­time.”

The con­cert is in the Michael Fowler Cen­tre on Satur­day from 2.30pm. Tick­ets from Tick­et­mas­ter.

PHOTO / NZ DE­FENCE FORCE

Lead­ing Air­craft­man Sam MacKen­zie is look­ing for­ward to the pop­u­lar Air Force in Con­cert.

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