I’m Bella Anderson, a flute player from Whangarei. This year is my first with the NZYSW and I am really enjoying the experience so far!
I first heard of the NZYSW at the 2017 NZCBA Festival, which was hosted by Whangarei Youth Music, an organisation that I have been a part of for most of my flute-playing life. As the person in charge of keeping the solos and ensembles running smoothly, I had the opportunity to meet many members of the NZYSW over the course of the Festival, as well as getting to play alongside them in the performance of Sacred Breath – Turbulent Ocean at the Festival prizegiving.
If you’ve read the recent article on the Opononi Music Camp experience, rehearsal structure for the NZYSW was nothing like that. We started at perfectly reasonable hours in the morning and took more but shorter breaks. On Tuesday, our first day, our rehearsals were focused on becoming familiar with our repertoire for the week and how all of the different parts fit together.
During the rehearsals on Wednesday, Simon started to pull apart the pieces and we worked with much more attention to detail. After a long day of practising we all went out to the Metro to play a round of mini-golf, which was a great opportunity to further get to know members of the band as we all struggled to navigate the course.
Thursday was the day of our first concert. Some of us were starting to feel the impact of playing Mafia and Werewolf until the early hours of the morning! We didn’t rehearse for as long as Simon wanted to make sure that we all had enough focus for the evening. The concert was such an incredible experience and mostly went really well. It was so lovely to see all of the people in the audience who had come from far and wide to support us!
On Friday morning we had one rehearsal before we packed up the theatre and our rooms at the hall. Our performance as part of Summer in the Square was a fantastic way to round off the week, and I was sad to have to say goodbye until our Winter Event in July.
There were many things I enjoyed about the NZYSW Summer Event. This year I am heading down to Wellington to start my first year of a BMus, majoring in Classical Performance, at the NZ School of Music. Getting to stay in a University Hall for the first time was an interesting experience, and I also got to have my first taste of hall food, which I am going to have to get accustomed to! The thing that I appreciated the most, however, was getting to know other people who are passionate about the same thing that I am. Sarah, one of the fantastic trombone players that I had never met before, is also starting the same degree as me in Wellington! I also met others such as Leon and Morgan who are just about to start studying music in Auckland, and hearing about the ways that music is taught at the different universities was incredibly interesting.
I also got to spend time with musicians I met at the Opononi Music Camp! It’s always nice to reconnect with people such as Rangi Hall, who I am just about to join as alumni of Whangarei Youth Music.
Coming from a smaller town, being in the NZYSW was an opportunity to see a wider world of music at a higher level, and the experience was everything I wanted it to be and more. I have always seen music as a way of connecting with people – if all music ever was to me was hours spent practising alone in my bedroom, I would never have fallen in love with it in the way I have. My early experiences as a member of the various groups at WYM have been instrumental in shaping who I am as a musician, and I am excited to be able to bring all of the things that I have learned and gained from WYM, and now the NZYSW, into my future career in music, wherever it will take me.
I encourage everyone to audition for next year! As Kathleen Mulligan said to me the day before auditions closed last year, you won’t regret it.