Music Arts blog

The Cavell Leitch New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival

23 May 2016
Screen-Shot-2016-05-23-at-11.36.45-am.png

Here at Ara Music Arts we are extremely proud to be involved with the NZ International Blues & Jazz Festival 2016 (25-29 May). Not only are we hosting our special Anniversary Gala Concert and a 4-night 6pm series of concerts, but plenty of our tutors and graduates are performing in various acts & bands.

Here's a run-down . . . .

Ara Music Arts 6pm Series (multiple nights) featuring tutors Darren Pickering (piano), Reuben Derrick (sax), Michael Story (bass), ex-tutor Ted Meager (drums). And graduates Alice Tanner (vocals), Chris Wethey (bass), Heather Webb (guitar), Cameron Burnett (drums), Tyson Smith (guitar), Tim Sellars (drums), Glen Wagstaff (guitar), Tamara Smith (flute).

Stevie Wonder Tribute featuring tutors Kate Taylor (vocals), Gwyn Reynolds (sax). Cameron Pearce (trumpet), Darren Pickering (keys), Michael Story (bass), Andy Genge (guitar), Luke Smillie (drums). And graduate Chris Burke (sax)

Tami Neilson featuring tutor Joe McCallum (drums) - Friday 27 May, 7.30pm, Transitional Cathedral, $49.

La Petite Manouche featuring graduates Robbie Averill (guitar), Burke Goff (guitar) - Wednesday 25 May, 7pm, George Hotel, $160 (with meal).

Yellow Moon featuring tutor Harry Harrison (guitar) & graduate Justine Snelgrove (sax,flute) - Thursday 26 May, 7pm, George Hotel, $160 (with meal).

Radius featuring tutor Harry Harrison (guitar,banjo) & graduate Justine Snelgrove (sax,flute) - Friday 27 May, 7pm, George Hotel, $160 (with meal).

Hetty Kate & James Sherlock featuring tutor Michael Story (bass) - Friday 27 May, 7.30pm, The Gym, $40.

Gerard Masters featuring graduates Brett Hirst (bass), Dan Kennedy (drums), Gerard Masters (piano) - Thursday 26 May, 1pm, The Gym, $12.

Jennine Bailey graduate (vocals) - Friday 27 May, 1pm, The Gym, $12.

Late Night Jazz Slam (multiple nights) featuring tutors Darren Pickering (piano), Michael Story (bass), Luke Smillie (drums). And graduates Emma Hattaway (bass), Heather Webb (guitar), Mitch Thomas (drums), Oakley Grenell (guitar), Johnny Lawrence (bass), Tamara Smith (flute), Tyson Smith (guitar), Chris Burke (sax), Robbie Averill (guitar), Burke Goff (guitar), Tim Driver (keys), Manny Addis (guitar), Nick Bosman (bass).

In Tune Songwriting Competition Awards

18 May 2016
IMG_1670.jpg

The 2016 In Tune Songwriting  Competition  came to a spectacular finale on the weekend with eleven finalists all performing their songs in the award’s concert. Sponsored by APRA and Musicworks, the competition was open to all songwriters in Canterbury year 11, 12 & 13 Secondary school students and Ara Music Arts students.

Historically, Christchurch has produced an amazing past line of songwriting talent, with artists like Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Julia Deans all hailing from here. And so it was that this year’s song entries were strong, creating a difficult challenge for judges Delaney Davidson and Al Park.

Soloists, duos and bands all shared their songs with a large supportive audience, all vying for the competition awards.

This year’s winner was Sarena Hurley from Music Arts and the runner’s up were

Ashy Batchelor (St Margaret’s College) Micah Heath (Burnside High) and Frances Daly (Music Arts)

JazzQuest - 2016

10 May 2016
Jazzquest 2016

This is the 11th year of JazzQuest, the Ara Music Arts competition aimed at showcasing all the talented students and vibrant jazz programmes within the secondary and intermediate schools. 2016 introduces a new category into the mix.

The Ensemble category (8-12 people) will cater to those schools with smaller music departments who are unable to fill all the positions in a big band and have up until now been competing with full big bands. This aligns the competition more closely with other regional competitions like Blenheim's Southern Jam.

The competition keeps going from strength to strength. In 2015, the competition spilled over to starting on the Friday afternoon to cater to increased demand. There were also added prizes via sponsors Orange Studios and Musicworks, and hype surrounding the competition was intensified via social media. The judges' flights have booked and the lollies purchased for the goodie bags. See you in August!

Sam Blakelock - graduate profile

09 May 2016
sam.jpg

Q: Who are you? Where are you? What year did you graduate?

I'm Sam Blakelock, I graduated in 2011 with a double major in Jazz Guitar and Jazz Arranging. I have been living in NYC for 3 years, studying my Master of Music at Queens College and now playing around on off-broadway, hotels, and with whoever else calls me. 

Q: What is your instrument and when and why did you start playing?

I started out wanting to be Jack Johnson. I loved writing songs, strumming chords and recording music. I was fortunate to have Harry Harrison (Ara Music Arts teacher) teach me at my high school. Harry helped me discover jazz and encouraged me to attend jazz school.

Q: How did Jazz school influence you and your playing? Tutors? Gigs? Workshops? 

My favourite part of jazz school was listening to students older than me perform. They pushed me to improve (fast) and inspired me. There we so many killing musicians one to four years above me, and I would walk past those two pictures on the stairs everyday of the "Jazz School All Stars" and think, "Damn, I got a lot of practicing to do."

Connecting with other musicians and performing around town was a big plus. The teachers were awesome of course, and it’s always a thrill attending workshops from visiting artists. I remember being so inspired (and equally intimidated) when David Berkman gave his workshops. I was lucky to spend 18 months over here in NYC learning from David who has had an enormous impact on my music.

Q: What is your greatest musical achievement to date? What are your current/future projects?

I tweeted Snarky Puppy and convinced Jazz School to fly Michael League over to Christchurch for workshops. Mike's a super lovely guy and It was in incredible honour to perform him in Christchurch. I'm very thankful to have been able to stay in touch with him in NYC. I have performed with Perez Hitlon for six months in an off-broadway show Full House the Musical Parody, MD'd cruise ship bands, played live on Brooklyn BRICtv, and performed at Brooklyn Bowl.

Q: What is your fondest memory of Jazz school (Ara Music Arts)? 

I can't decide between

A) Heating up my pasta in the microwave everyday for 4 years.

B) Sleeping behind a piano over night

C) Late night jams in the auditorium

I'm going to go with:

D) Meeting so many amazing musicians and making life long friends.