Let's be honest, we always proceed cautiously when someone asks you for a favour... but when they're asking you to go to Hawaii it's a completely different story! I'm in, 100%. To make it even better, it was with the wonderful students and staff of the Rangitoto College Music Department, conducting their concert band for a friend who sadly could no longer go. Also on the tour was the orchestra, chamber orchestra and big band.
We were there as part of the Pacific Basin Music Festival, with groups from USA, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand - about 700 people in total. Events were at the Sheraton Waikiki, Pacific Beach Hotel and Hawaii Theatre, as well as performances at the incredible Ala Moana Shopping Centre, as well as the Hard Rock Cafe for the big band.
A highlight was working with the band from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts for our exchange session - a truly amazing band. They absolutely loved the 'kiwiness' in David Woodcock's Forest Sketches, and we had a healthy argument as to whether they are crotchets or quarter notes...! I won.
I haven't done a huge amount of conducting in recent times as I've had other priorities, but wow what a joy to be back and working with such great people. I was super proud of their focus and sound in the adjudicated performance - it was late and at the end of a very long day - and most definitely it was the best I've heard the group play. They, along with Rangitoto's two other competing groups, received silver awards for their efforts.
Congratulations to Rangitoto College for a most wonderful tour. If anyone else needs a last minute conductor for their Hawaii tour, call me and I'll say yes.