Pukekohe High School’s Jazz band won the Best of Festival Trophy for the most outstanding jazz band at the 41st National Youth Jazz Competition held late in March.
The school’s been competing in the competition every year since 2006, however this was the first year for teacher Simon Schofield.
In the lead up to the event the students practiced twice a week, in school and out of school. Simon said “the kids worked so hard for it, so it’s a nice reward for them. “We’re just providing opportunities for them, and they’re such dedicated students!”
Students said that the competition was exciting and a satisfying experience. One student said “I was really nervous before but once you’re on stage it’s alright!” while another said, “it’s good to keep the streak going—we won last year too! When you see yourself improve it makes you want to keep learning.”
The students like it because they make good connections with people and “it’s a great vibe.” The band had nine new members this year including one girl, who performed for the first time at the competition, described it as a great experience.
There were 32 bands at the three day event and Simon said, “It’s good to listen to other bands and see what they are up to. The standard this year was really high.”
As well as being part of the Jazz band, many students also belong to other bands and will soon be competing in events like the SmokeFree Rockquest.
Head judge Dr Rodger Fox, said “it’s very encouraging to see the competition continuing to grow; it shows it is valued by the schools.” Director Liam Ryan said this year’s National Youth Jazz Competition showcased the best of youth jazz in the country.
“The students blew us away again this year with their musicality and their enthusiasm.”