Opononi 2009

Hey everyone, well another Opononi Summer School has finished (... for those who don't know it's for wind orchestra, and I conduct). 32 hours of rehearsals, 32 kilometers walked to and from rehearsals, and a final two-hour concert to conclude the week. Mostly due to the early mornings, you wonder what on earth you are getting yourself into in the weeks beforehand. Of course, once you're there it's just what you do and it's good "fun"? Due to a few clashes with other events, the numbers were a little down than usual. But this was music to my ears as we had everything covered (french horns, tubas, bassoons, bass clarinet, oboe, piccolo, euphonium, etc) and the right forces, AND they were all good strong players. Often with more players you just have excess flutes, clarinets, trumpets and alto saxophones ... which often leads to a complete disaster. Anyway so this meant that we could take the pieces further than usual, and the sound they created this year was fantastic.

A few have asked me what sort of music we do, so here was this year's concert programme:

Theme from Lost in Space - John Williams Procession of the Nobles - Rimsky-Korsakov Sleeping Beauty Waltz - Tchaikovsky Birdland - Joe Zawinul Blaze Away - Abe Holzmann There's No Business Like Show Business - Irving Berlin Tribute to Louis Armstrong A Touch of Tuba (tuba solo) - Art Dedrick The London Suite - Eric Coates Nearer by God To Thee - adpt. Custer Mamma Mia - ABBA In The Hall of the Mountain King - Grieg Firebird Suite - Stravinsky Phantom of the Opera - Lloyd-Webber Georgia on My Mind - arr. Higgins Sinatra in Concert - arr. Nowak The Stripper - Davod Rose Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

So really, a complete range. The aim of the week is to leave playing better than you did at the beginning of the week, and as well as that I always make sure they play several pieces that they wouldn't have a chance to otherwise. Of course, 32 hours of rehearsals in a week mean you have to have your share of fun and "classics" also. We also looked at other pieces during the week including:

Chit Chat Polka - Strauss South Pacific - arr. Bennett James Bond 007 arr. Mey John Williams Trilogy - arr. Moss

Thanks heaps once again for all the hard work everyone put in, it was certainly a very successful year and a very high standard reached. Soon I shall put some photos up on flickr - I didn't quite have a chance to before this email. Anyway bye for now, Ryan