Last year's vintage . . . A new-look version of the National Youth Brass Band will be in Oamaru next Thursday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A selection of New Zealand’s best young musicians is performing in Oamaru next week.

The National Youth Brass Band will take the stage in the St Kevin’s College auditorium on Thursday night. Although there are no North Otago musicians in the line-up, there are four from Otago and seven from Canterbury.

All 38 are aged under 23. Some are third-generation brass band players, while others are the first in their family to take up the practice.

They have been selected for the 2020 band from nationwide auditions.

This is the 61st incarnation of the youth band. It toured Queensland to celebrate last year’s 60th birthday, and has previously toured China, Japan and England.

Many former members have gone on to careers in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and services bands, or become professional conductors, performers, composers and teachers.

Once chosen for the band, members attend a five-day summer training course working with reputed New Zealand and Australian musicians, followed by a concert tour.

This year’s band is assembling in Christchurch tomorrow before its concerts begin in that city on Wednesday.

Oamaru is the second stop on the tour on January 23.

It moves on to Roxburgh the next day and concludes in Invercargill on Saturday, January 25.

Brass Band Association of New Zealand executive officer Helen Lee said the last time the tour came this way was 2014. It was a good opportunity to “boost banding in the area”.

The musicians will stay overnight at St Kevin’s College.

“They’re really amazing,” Ms Lee said.

Some are studying music at Victoria University and others are in the New Zealand Army Band.

“It’s pretty fantastic.”

Their concert programme includes two pieces composed by 22-year-old Jack Bewley, who was in the band six times from 2012 and studied composition at Victoria. His younger brother, Liam, is in this year’s band.

“Two other pieces have been arranged by Daniel Dalgleish, a member of this band,” Ms Lee said.

The programme mixes highly technical pieces with lighter ones aimed at audience appeal, she said.

Guest soloist Byron Newton, known as Buzz, was originally from Ashburton and has studied in Britain. Among his many awards are the Best Euphonium Prize at the British Open Solo Competition in 2010, and he received a mark of 100% for his final master’s degree recital.

Since 2013 he has been an artist teacher at the New Zealand School of Music and principal euphonium in the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band. He also held that role with the Wellington Brass when it was named New Zealand champion seven times and Australian champion three times.

The Oamaru concert starts at 7pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. Children under 12 have free admission.

  • The Oamaru Mail has two double passes to the National Youth Brass Band concert to give away. Email with your name and phone number to be in to win. Winners will be announced on Tuesday at 12pm.

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