The 2010 Youth Band Camp was definitely a highlight of the year thus far for me. After being approached late last year to undertake the Musical Director role I wondered exactly what I had gotten myself into.
Being involved in the administrative side of the National Youth Brass Band for the past three years, I am well aware of how huge a task it is to organise something of this nature.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to the Porirua Youth Trust, in particular Joanne Newth and Dennis Dawson for a superb effort in organising the Youth Band Camp.
The change of venue was great, although the fact that there were three wedding receptions at the same venue over the same weekend meant that we were asked to keep the noise down every so often. Also there were less ‘non-band’ activities for the kids during free time, personally I thought this was great as it meant more time for them to practice.
The Camp Managers, Rebecca Lines and Louie Hurnen did an excellent job of making sure people were in bed at a reasonable hour and that the noise levels were low, with the help of the other parents and helpers that were there. My thanks to them all for ensuring I got a good night’s sleep.
Another big thank you to the section tutors, the difference in playing after the sectionals was noticeably for the better. And again to the ‘mature’ players that helped out throughout the weekend, it certainly encourages the younger ones to concentrate on their playing when there are experienced players sitting next to them.
The music this year was admittedly slightly harder than it has been in the past, perhaps a little too hard. My goal with this was that I wanted to stretch the band a little further out of their comfort zone and for them to experience playing some more challenging music.
The idea of having the end of camp performance coinciding with ‘Brass in the Parks’ was excellent. Not only did it mean that there was a larger general audience to play to, but it also meant that some of their home bands had the opportunity to hear them as well, historically this hasn’t been the case in the past.
My only concern with this though is that it does cut down on the preparation and rehearsal time as a whole when starting on the Friday evening and finishing early on the Sunday morning in order to get to Brass in the Parks.
My suggestion for this is to either:
a) start the camp earlier, perhaps on a Thursday night – The issues with this become getting time off school or work in order to attend.
b) have the Brass in the Parks on the Monday of Wellington Anniversary weekend. – The issues with this become the lack of ‘lead up’ time in order to prepare the course and to get names of attendees from bands within the district.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and hope that all those involved did also. I would like to extend my thanks again to everybody involved in the organising of the camp, the parents and helpers, the section tutors and of course the players for attending.