Music Arts blog

2017 - Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition Winner

08 Jun 2017

The 2017 winner of Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition, in association with Musicworks, was announced on Sunday 21st May at an exciting concert by the ten finalists. The finalists were selected from entries by Canterbury Year 11,12 &13 High School and Ara Music Arts students.

Best overall song was awarded to Tarn Puentener-King from Christchurch Boys High for his electro-pop song ‘Reality’.

Best Secondary School song was awarded to Sam Burt from Burnside High for his acoustic ballad ‘Over and Over’. Two runner up awards were presented to Music Arts student Jesse Ranson for ‘Favourite Season’ and Rongomai Callaghan for ‘Fly So High’.

This year’s judges Lauren Mitchell and Matt Barus said the quality of songwriting was exceptionally high, with many music styles represented. The caliber of songwriting in Christchurch has always been high with many of NZ’s finest, Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Julia Deans, hailing from these parts.  

The finalists’ concert is a great opportunity for the writers to gain performance experience, connect with an audience and get some valuable feedback from the judges. This year saw even more use of computer technology, incorporating Digital Work Stations (DAW’s) and backing tracks. However, still well represented are the classic combination of voice and guitar or piano.

With the global success of Lorde and other new rising NZ artists, young writers are seeing that it is possible to make it in today’s music industry. The Ara Music Arts programme caters specifically for students wishing to focus on studying Songwriting and Production.

Look out for the 2018 Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition in May next year!

Songwriting Competition

04 May 2017
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The 2017 Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition is an annual event with this year’s entries closing on 7 May. Sponsored by Ara and Musicworks, the competition is open to all songwriters in Canterbury year 11, 12 & 13 Secondary school students and Ara Music Arts students. It is free to enter and there are cash prizes and Musicworks vouchers to be won.

The competition culminates with an awards concert at 2pm 21 May in the Music Arts DCCR Auditorium

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. Ara is proud to announce that this year's judges will be Lauren Mitchell and Matt Barus. Together they form the Christchurch experimental indie folk duo Terrible Sons and independently have had successful artist careers. Lauren aka LA Mitchell, is a successful pop recording artist, singer songwriter and ex member of Dave Dobbyn's band. Matt was the lead singer and songwriter of successful pop band The Dukes. Matt recently had one of his songs recorded by international artist Blondie. Both Lauren and Matt live in Christchurch.

The competition encourages young people to write songs and demonstrates that it’s possible to focus a musical career around song writing. Last year’s event attracted a good mix of styles and sounds, with 11 finalists performing solo and in bands at the prize giving show.

Alan Robinson Guitar Award

28 Feb 2017
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The annual Alan Robinson Memorial Award for most promising first-year guitarist was jointly awarded to David Stupples and Justis Atkins-Te Kowhai, who both achieved a very similar grade at the end of their first year of study at Ara Music Arts (2016). Alan Robinson was a promising guitar student who passed away during his studies at Ara Music Arts (formerly CPIT Jazz School). This guitar award is given in his memory.

This is the seventeenth year the award has been presented, and has the names of many great guitar graduates on it, including David Haslett (currently touring NZ), Andrew Knopp (recently returned from Canada with his wife/band mate), Sam Blakelock (based in New York) and Richard Ashby (based in Sydney).

Programme Leader Gwyn Reynolds of the recipients;

“It’s great to see the award going to two students who are both into different genres of music [Jazz for David and Contemporary for Justis] but who are both expressing their passion for music through the same medium, the electric guitar. Both these guys are already great players and I can’t wait to hear them in a few years’ time.”

 

Photo – (from Left) Des Robinson, David Stupples, Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader – Ara Music Arts), Richard Marrett (Manager, Performing Arts)

JazzQuest Judges - 2016

17 Jun 2016
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The 2016 judges of JazzQuest are Richard Pickard and Matt Steele. The competition is almost full with a number of schools increasing their amount of jazz bands participating. It's an indication that Christchurch secondary school jazz music is in great shape and being advanced by strong leadership from HoD's, teachers and band leaders. 

JazzQuest is extremely pleased to continue the tradition of getting the country's top jazz players and educators to judge the competition. Recent judges include Nick Granville, Dixon Nacey, Daniel Hayes and Lauren Ellis.

Matt Steele

Matt Steele is a young Wellington based jazz pianist and keyboard player. A dynamic performer and teacher, in his music Matt demonstrates a "'wider awareness, an openness, and a hunger for what is just out of reach" (John Fenton, Jazz Journalists Association, 2014). He is the 2012 winner of the Lewis Eady Charitable Trust Emerging Artists Series and has played with many musicians and bands throughout New Zealand and Australia including - Lisa Tomlins, Lex French, Roger Manins, Chelsea Prastiti, Julien Dyne, Myele Manzanza, The Aviators, Auckland Jazz Orchestra and Pyramids. Major festival performances include R&V, Parihaka and the Tauranga National Jazz Festival. (Photo credit John Fenton)

Richie Pichard

With over twenty years of professional experience, Richie has played extensively throughout New Zealand and globally in a range of formats. 

A vastly experienced performer, he has worked in a wide variety of musical contexts from pop, folk, soul and rock music through to jazz, musical theatre, cabaret and orchestral contexts.

As both an electric and double bass player he has performed with international artists including Josh Groban, Elaine Paige and Mary Coughlan and with some of New Zealand's top musicians, bands, and songwriters including Breaks Co-op, Julia Deans, Dave Dobbyn, Anika Moa and Annie Crummer.

Alongside his professional music career, he has also established himself as a progressive and dynamic music educator, teaching at some of New Zealand's leading schools and institutions including the University of Canterbury, CPIT (now Ara) and the University of Auckland. 

He's currently a senior tutor on the Auckland Philharmonia's 'Sistema Aotearoa' programme, based in South Auckland.

In Tune Songwriting Competition Awards

18 May 2016
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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!