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Top Brass Delight Wairarapa Schools

October 14, 2019 October 2019 No Comments

Martinborough School Pupils raising their hands to ask questions.

A requirement of the funding Martinborough Music Festival received from the SWDC Creative Community Fund was to implement an education programme for the students of the District. This year, Martinborough School, Kuranui College and Wairarapa College were treated to the musical skills of Matthew Allison (trombone), Mark Carter (trumpet) and Ed Allen (French horn) Matthew and Mark are members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Together, with Ed, they formed the Martinborough Festival Brass Trio specifically to give information on three of the instruments in the brass section of a symphony orchestra and to provide entertainment and enjoyment along the way.

First up was Martinborough School. I had arrived early and began to set out some seating.  Thinking there would not be many (numbers were few last year) I was helped by some students who began to set out everything that could be sat on including mats. I commented I thought we had set out too many seats –“NO” they chorused excitedly, “the whole school is coming. They are going to play The Avengers”!   I thanked them for their help to which they replied “You’re welcome” – how nice is that?

It was amazing how many knew the melodies played which included Rossini’s William Tell overture – a student at Kuranui named the piece and the opera while many others recognised it from The Lone Ranger or similar. Some of the Martinborough pupils recognised The Last Post. While several Kuranui students knew that the trumpet was used by the military for ceremonial occasions, it was new information to learn that it dated from biblical times and was a means of signalling battle. The versatility of this instrument in particular was appreciated – its ceremonial role, ability to be played very softly (using Brahms Lullaby to demonstrate) through to being able to emulate a motorbike engine getting up to speed – this drew loud applause.

Perhaps one of the most surprising pieces of information came from the answer to a question put to the Kuranui students – “What is the most widely listened to orchestral music”? Was it orchestras on podcasts? Live concerts? DVDs or CDs? There were several answers offered, none of which were correct. In fact, orchestral music most widely listened to by children today is that which provides the backing to video games. Upon giving the answer, the Trio began to play the theme from Super Mario Brothers, a series of platform games created by Nintendo. It was instantly recognisable and greeted with a cheer by both Martinborough and Kuranui students.

Maybe, these days, our students are being educated musically by the soundtracks for video games – an interesting thought.  Whatever, the students of Martinborough School, Kuranui College and Wairarapa College will have had their appreciation of music enriched by the Martinborough Festival Brass Trio.                     Winifred Bull

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