Excellent performances bring home the rewards

The KBB Music Festival is the largest event on the school music calendar for the Westlake instrumentalists and all our musicians have been working hard to present their best work for the competition.

First established in 1983, the KBB Festival runs from Monday to Saturday in the Holy Trinity Cathedral and adjoining St Mary’s Chapel in Parnell. There are four categories of ensemble: orchestras, concert bands, jazz bands and chamber orchestras, with approximately 4,500 students participating over the week.

Each ensemble is required to present a programme of contrasting pieces (30 minutes maximum) and the standard of works performed can be very high and complex.

Trevor Thwaites (chairperson)  comments that “the skills required to perform in ensembles of this nature require personal dedication and time as well as a developing musical understanding and social responsibility through listening to and working with other musicians and musical directors”.

Westlake Girls High School musicians from our development and premier ensembles presented excellent performances that they and their conductors can be very proud of. Festival awards are given as Participation, Commended, Bronze, Silver & Gold plus four special overall awards in each category. The results were:

Westlake Concert Band (conductor Warwick Robinson, WGHS & WBHS): Gold Award + Best Performance of a pre-1950s Work.

Westlake Symphony Orchestra (conductor David Squire, WGHS & WBHS): Gold Award + Best Performance of a Romantic Era Work.

Westlake Big Band (conductor Hayley Barker, WGHS & WBHS): Silver Award.

Westlake Chamber Orchestra (conductor Miranda Adams, WGHS & WBHS): Silver Award.

Taharoto Orchestra (conductor Fleur Knowles, WGHS): Bronze Award.

Westlake Girls Symphonic Band (conductor Jono Howan, WGHS): Commended Award.

Rachel An (viola), Alice Hirst (harp) and Jenny Howe (trumpet) were successful in their applications for the KBB Honours Orchestra and Jazz Band. These ensembles were made up from the top instrumentalists across the Auckland schools, who participated in an afternoon workshop with conductors and Festival adjudicators Beth Cohen and Roger Fox, later performing an impressive concert to their parents just a few hours later.

We are all very grateful that the KBB Music Festival could go ahead this year and give our instrumentalists a chance to demonstrate their hard work and skill.

Auditions are coming up in Term 4 for ensembles for 2022. If you are interested in joining a group or to start learning a new instrument, please come and chat to a music staff member.


Rachel An, below left, with her award.  And in the right-hand photo Claire Xu (left) and Elaine Zhou.